’Art & Soul




Lessons of life
At the dawn of a new year, a look at some idealists who believe in building a brave new world. They are driven by the desire to provide education to underprivileged children and have brought about innovations in teaching
Kavita Kanan Chandra

Just enrolment in schools does not mean access to quality education for children. In our country's rural hinterland and urban slums there are many government and private schools that teach children. But only a few schools provide quality education. When a fourth grade student could not write a complete sentence in a rural government school, girls in urban slums work as housemaids rather than get educated or a village lacking electricity lets education go for a toss; there is need to worry. Sending these kids to school is not a solution in itself but ensuring proper education is.

’Art & Soul
Saptarishi: The Seven Sages
The imagined, idealised renderings of the seven great rishis give an insight into how these great men were visualised by painters
Whenever, I imagine, one speaks of a rishi — unless one is taking into account today’s motley range of persons who arrogate to themselves this status, and advertise their ‘spiritual’ wares about — the term ‘saptarishi’ also comes almost involuntarily to the mind. The reference, of course, is to the seven great sages, who are a part of our tradition and our imagination: seers who lived a long, long time ago, men ‘who could reach beyond this mundane world by means of spiritual knowledge’. We may not be able to recount their names but most know that in the Vedas, they are spoken of, their word regarded with the greatest reverence. Rishis figure also in the epics and the Puranas, of course: from those texts one, at least, knows the names of Valmiki and Vasishtha, Vishwamitra and Markandeya, Gautama and Kapila; one has possibly even heard of a blind rishi by the wonderful name of Dirghatamasa: ‘he whose darkness was long’.

Broad Brush

Written in stars
A look at what 2014 has in store for you with a special focus on career, money, love, romance and relationships

Learning to write the right way
Movies like Taare Zameen Par highlighted dyslexia, but there is little awareness about dysgraphia, which is a "disability of written expression" in the child. How does one cope?
Aditi Garg
Six-year-old Parth throws a temper tantrum every evening. Not because he is not allowed to watch TV or play with his friends but because his mother, Shikha Handa is begging and cajoling him to finish his homework in his notebook. Every day, he simply refuses to do it or does it in such a bad handwriting that all his mother can do is despair. She is under immense pressure too, with the teachers sending notes in the diary about bad handwriting and incomplete work. But so far, there hasn't been a solution.

Beyond the White House
For the discerning traveller, Washington DC has many more attractions to offer than its more famous ones
Niku Sidhu
The White House is, undoubtedly, the most famous home of Washington but the Old Stone House in DC comes a close second as the oldest surviving building. Built by carpenter Christopher Layman in 1765 using local bluestone, it is located on a street of swanky boutiques and upmarket restaurants in Georgetown. The house is surrounded by unverifiable tales as George Washington’s headquarters. There are as many books dedicated to proving this tale, as there are an equal number to falsify the claim. After much discussion, it was decided that the President did visit Georgetown with city planner Pierre L’Enfant in 1791 but no connection was established with the Old Stone House.


Voices from the margins
The celluloid representation of the LGBT identity has most often raised voices demanding social acceptance, recognition and respect
Shoma A. Chatterji
Lesbian and gay relationships were considered a taboo in Indian cinema. This corresponded with the social rejection of such identities in real life. Times, however, have changed and slowly, as this discriminated community that is ostracised only for being ‘differently’ inclined in sexual terms, are coming out of their closets to raise their voices and demanding social acceptance, recognition and respect.

Jiri’s treat for the eyes
In the films of award-winning Czech filmmaker Jiri Menzel, visual frames speak more than dialogues. Acclaimed director Shivendra Singh Dungarpur is making a documentary on him
Nonika Singh
In times when most directors keenly and avidly eye film festivals, acclaimed Czech director Jiri Menzel has no hesitation in stating that he makes films for his neighbours. In short, his first and foremost audiences are his own countrymen. He smiles, "It’s only when films don’t run in cinema halls, they take it to festivals." That his films have gone on to win international acclaim, however, is a different matter. He won an Oscar at a rather young age of 28 for his film Closely Watched Trains. When given the prestigious lifetime achievement award at the recent International Film Festival of India, Goa, he sums up his journey that began with silent films in one word, "surprise."


FOOD TALK: Boneless mutton tikka
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMERS BEWARE: Organised buyers’ groups will get a better deal
by Pushpa Girimaji

GOOD MOTORING: New Year resolutions to make driving a joy
by H. Kishie Singh

by Sunil Sharma

by Karuna Goswamy

weekly horoscope


Fractured lives in terror’s shadow
Reviewed by Khushwant S. Gill
Kashmir's Narratives of Conflict Identity Lost in Space & Time
by Manisha Gangahar
Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
Pages 173. Rs 450.

Different dimensions of poverty
Reviewed by M.M. Goel
Poverty in India
Edited by Dr Indu Varshney & Dr Nitu Saini,
Kunal Books. Pages 220 Rs 750.

Words beyond borders
Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur
New Urdu Writings: From India & Pakistan
Edited by Rakshanda Jalil
Tranquebar. Pages 317. Rs 395.

Maze of clues
Reviewed by Nonika Singh
Compass Box killer
Piyush Jha
Rupa Pages 254 Rs 195

Weaving the strands of a historical saga
Reviewed by Kanchan Mehta
The Golden Honeycomb
by Kamala Markandaya
Penguin Books. Pages 580. Rs 599