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Showing posts from October, 2016

The Curious Case of Ramchandr Baladzhi

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Prince Ramachandra Balaji in Russia
One of the first organized rumblings against the British EIC’s tyranny in India was the much written about Sepoy mutiny in 1857. The British had previously retaliated against early stirrings by hanging Mangal Pandey, but as the unrest spread to Agra, Allahabad, Ambala and Merrut, some British soldiers were lynched at Delhi while Bahadur Shah, proclaimed as India’s emperor, looked on. After the British arrested Bahadur Shah, things took a turn for the worse and the siege of Kanpur and the flight of the British resulted in the death of a few British with Nana Saheb being held responsible for the events that occurred.
For the uninitiated, Nana Govind Dhondu Pant, a.k.a Nana Sahib was the adopted son of the deposed Maratha Baji Rao II, exiled at Bithoor near Kanpur by the British. Recalling from my article on Manu, Nana Sahib's childhood associates included Tatya Tope, Azimullah Khan and Manu who later became famous as Rani Lakshmibai. 
Nana Sahib w…

Ravi Varma and Ramaswamy Naicker - The rivalry

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The Painter, his teacher, a rival and a muse
Though I know little about painting, I can certainly say that I like studying the women lovingly brought to life on canvas by Ravi Varma and his younger brother. There are some who would wonder why I brought up his brother’s name in the same breath. Well, they did work in tandem with the younger Raja Varma finishing up with many of the portraits of the elder Ravi, during their heydays. He was no mean painter himself, and is a person whose persona I will bring to light on these pages someday. Ravi Varma himself has been written about in so many books, but there is unfortunately quite a bit of conflicting and incorrect information in some of his early biographies, which were perhaps a little too effusive. Nevertheless, he was a genius and also in many ways just an ordinary person, deeply religious, meticulous in his work, quick to take offense and in later days a mite tired after the onset of diabetic symptoms, for which sadly there were no i…