Saturday, August 26, 2017

A. V. Koshy wtites

Swapna Sundari

Idyll I

Flashing eyes

skin like cream

Ankles with

anklets and bells

a dream


a bubble unreal

hair let down

and those thin lips

city of riots (14)

but no riot ever

as big as the one 
set off by your power

no wonder

I can write like this

inspirited by such a
peerless dower

inspired by

the muse's own bower

(14) Hyderabad
  Image result for anklets bells paintings
 Muva - The Anklets -- Priyadarshini Komala


  1. Indian jewelry is a metaphorical language communicated from the wearer to the viewer. Adorning one’s material body embellishes its intangible counterpart, the spirit. In the conventional view a woman’s graceful form epitomizes nature’s ideal mystery, but only things covered with ornaments are beautiful, so every part of the feminine physique, the head, torso, limbs, and the areas between the appended parts, have borne ornaments. The verb “alamkara" (to adorn, to decorate) literally means "to make enough;" except in the case of an ascetic, an unornamented appearance is "not enough." Even poetry must overflow with rhetorical ornaments such metaphors, alliterations, and other musical effects. The ancient sages who translated the abstract nuances of Indian philosophy into images of everyday reality canonized the adornment of the female form into 16 ornaments (solah shringar), corresponding to the 16 phases of the moon, which is also connected to the menstrual cycle. It was common for deities to be described as eternally 16 years old, the most beautiful and vigorous human age. One goddess, who embodied 16 types of desire, was actually named Shodashi (Sanskrit for 16), also known as Lalita ("She Who Plays"[1]) and Rajarajeshvari ("Queen of Queens, Supreme Ruler"). In some Hindu sects she is the foremost of the Dasha-Mahavidyas, the “Great Wisdoms,” and in others, all the Mahavidyas (including Kali “the Devourer of Time,” the ultimate form of Brahman; Bhuvaneshvari, the world mother whose body is the cosmos; and Tara, the goddess who offers the ultimate knowledge which gives salvation) are just different names for her. She plays with her devotees just like a mother plays with her child.

  2. Among the 16 ornaments are the anklets. In Sanskrit, they were anklet “nupura,” etymologically associated with “antah pura,” the female apartment in a palace, a hidden, mysterious place that contained the promise of a myriad pleasures. Poets often pictured the heroine's tinkling anklets beckoning her lover with every step. In Indian tradition the feet were considered the humblest, most impure, and polluting part of the body, and therefore they commanded respect by those who surrender their ego to the venerable. Humbling oneself by touching the feet of one's elders or prostrating oneself before them or worshipping the feet or sandals of a deity or a holy man were expressions of respect. In the “Ramayana,” Rama banished his wife Sita from his kingdom. His brother Lakshmana was unable to recognize the armlets or earrings recovered in the forest as hers but identified the anklets as belonging to her, since his gaze never strayed above her feet. By the same token of expression of submissiveness, a lover is often portrayed in art or described in literature as falling at his beloved's feet or admiring them with gentle caresses, as in these lines from the “Prakrit Pushkarini,” concerning the feet of a nayika, one who is worthy of a lover’s affection:

    The hair of the lover, who has fallen at the
    feet of his beloved, are entangled in her anklets, which
    indicates that he has given up his pride.
    It was in this context that Indian painting, drama, and poetry have referred to men treasuring the touch of the foot of their beloved, and women lavishing great cosmetic attention to their feet and adorning them with as much care as they would take to beautify their face. The tender foot then became the symbol of affection and sensual desire. The anklets almost always had small tinkling bells attached to them, so the charm of the nayika's rhythmic swinging of her body and wavy skirt was enhanced by the jingling sounds of the anklets. In most classical Indian dances, rhythmic footwork was one of the most important elements, in combination with arm, hand, and eye movements, and dance texts provided elaborate details on the positioning of the foot and its contact with the ground, the toe and ball of the foot touching the ground or only the heels or big toe doing so, each movement generating a variety of harmonies from the anklet (the “music of the ankle bells”) and suggesting erotic undertones. The bhana were one-act monologues spoken by a vita (a dissolute hero) to or about a prostitute; the actor would assume different roles by responding to imagined voices or asking questions of unseen characters and repeating their answers to the audience. They contained elements of the lasya, a delicate dance that stimulated erotic sentiments, but not the graceful style called kaishiki vṛtti, which allowed for love and gallantry. The following is from the 5th century drama, “Padataditakam” (Hit by the Foot):

    Hail to that foot of the lusty beloved
    which hits the head of the lover, that foot which
    is adorned with red paste and jingling anklets
    is the banner of love and which is worthy
    of adoration by inclining one's head.

    Hyderabad has a history of Hindu-Muslim violence. In 1999 two Hindus killed a Muslim auto-rickshaw driver over a land dispute. However, because of difficulties in Uttar Pradesh, where Hindu activists alleged that the Babri mosque in Ayodhya was constructed after Muslims demolished a temple at that site, his death was given a religious interpretation, and Muslims killed four Hindus in different parts of the city; members of the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (People’s Party) then attacked an influential Muslim leader; Muslim mobs formed over false rumors of his death, followed by Hindu mobs. The violence lasted for 10 weeks and resulted in 200 to 300 deaths and thousands of injuries. No rioters were arrested.


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