Showing posts from January, 2011

The Vale of Arjootz

A Hindu colony in ancient Armenia
Many years ago, an article in the TDN (Turkish Daily News – our English newspaper in Istanbul) mentioned a village in Turkey where some Indians had once lived. I faintly recollect that it had something to do with people from Malabar and possibly Khilafat, but I have since then failed to find any detail or a link to that article to corroborate. However some months ago, when fellow blogger and friend Nick Balmer tipped me to this story, I was not sure what to expect. But when I finished reading a few articles and Dr.Mesrob Jacob Seth’s article as well as his book Hindoos in Armenina, I was, so to say, stumped.
Since historic times, there have been all kinds of people visiting and living in what they called mystic and rich India, for in the old times, information and trade flow was quite free and we did not ask for visas and passports as others demand from Indians these days. But well, that was another time, I guess, and Armenians used to come to India a…

What is your (New) Rashi?

The debate about Ophiuchus
I seem to have developed a healthy fondness for Punjabi heroines, first it was Juhi Chawla, then it was Priety Zinta and now Priyanka Chawla Chopra. Ah! well, this has nothing to do with Priyanka’s role in the movie ‘what is your rashee’ or the other heroines, but I do promise you that this will not be a heavy article.
I must admit that this bit was picked up upon inspiration by an article in our local “News and Observer’ paper and after seeing a lot of furor over the matter. As I read on, I saw that the western world has been taking this virally the last 3-4 days after the story hit the papers and news wires. Incidentally this same furor has happened a few times before the last major one being in 1995.Well, to dive directly into the gist of the matter, one paper started off by announcing that based on an astronomer’s comment, you really had to redefine and even consider a change to your zodiac sign, all due to a wobble in the earth’s spinning.
What actually h…

The Mappila Lamayana

An introduction to the ‘The Mappila Ramayana of Malabar’
Many years back, when my second son was still a child, I used to translate and playfully sing ‘Mary had a little lamb’ in Malayalam for him often as he was always amused by it. One day, some months later, we met his class teacher, a petite Aussie lassie who remarked that she quite enjoyed the Mary version in our native palindromic tongue. I was a bit taken aback, trying to figure out what she was talking about, when realization dawned.
Well, that is how it is, you hear something, you like it, you then assimilate it and then pass it on to somebody else in the natural course…and this was pretty much what Piranthan Hassankutty (The Mad Hussein) did a hundred years ago in North Malabar. This wandering mendicant would go from place to place, with a stick supporting him, and a cloth bag on his back to sing an ‘off the norm’ ballad. Audiences were similarly amused by the playfully sarcastic or gentle ironic take on a famous epic, but su…