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ART AND CULTURE - June 2019

Jun 2019

Jun 17, 2019

Water System Key to Prosperity in Ancient Vadnagar

  •  A water harvesting mechanism could have been the key to sustenance and prosperity of Gujarat's Vadnagar when cities were abandoned because of harsh climate across the country between the 4-5th century AD and 10th century AD, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)'s excavations have found in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home town.
  • ASI has since 2014-15 excavated around 54 water bodies representing the mechanism within a 10km radius in Vadnagar.
  • The system could have helped the town's inhabitants survive during the time when paleoclimate studies have shown weather was not conducive with marginal rainfall and mass drought across the country.
  • Vadnagar is one of the few towns from that era to have survived, findings from the site have shown.
  • ASI's excavation branch-V deputy superintending archaeologist, Abhijit Ambekar, who has been carrying out excavations in Vadnagar, said the water system was different from the one found at Harappan-era sites.
  • Despite the general drought conditions around the country, the harvest conditions in Vadnagar made it a major trade centre.
  • In addition to the water system, coins of 28 varieties dating back to six different periods found in Vadnagar corroborate the findings about the town's prosperity.
  • Save for one coin without any carvings, Ambekar said the coins belong to the site's Rampart (from 2nd Century BC to 1st Century AD), Kshatrapa (1st to 4th Century AD), Post-Kshtrapa (5th to 10th Century AD), Sultanate-Mughal (14th to 17th Century AD) and Gaekwad periods (from 18th to 19th Century AD).

Jun 15, 2019

After 100 years, Badrinath divided on who wrote aarti

  •  The identity of the man who wrote the century-old aarti  'Pawan Mand Sugandh Sheetal'  has become a matter of great debate in the temple town after the BJP-led Uttarakhand government said in May 2019 that a local writer, Dhan Singh Barthwal, had penned the verse.
  • This goes against popular belief that Fakhruddin Siddiqui, a postmaster at Nandprayag in Chamoli, composed it sometime in the 1860s. Siddiqui, who later people called 'Badruddin', was a devotee of Lord Badri.
  • The state government concluded that Barthwal was the writer after his great-grandson, Mahendra Singh Barthwal, approached the administration with a manuscript with the Badrinath aarti on it.
  • A carbon dating test was conducted following which chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat declared that the manuscript was from 1881, around the time the aarti became popular.
  • The government also said since Badruddin's family was unable to furnish proof, claims made by Barthwal's kin were true.
  • However, a book published in 1889 — which contains the aarti and lists Badruddin's uncle as its custodian — is there in a private museum in Almora.
  • Priests from Badri-Kedar Temples Committee (BKTC), which manages the shrine, also said general consensus over the years has been that Badruddin is the author.
  • Badruddin's descendants are disheartened that they have been "robbed of the family legacy".

Jun 12, 2019

Theatre Workshop Begins

  •  The annual edition of the month-long theatre workshop, which brings in the best from National School of Drama(NSD) to interact and hone the theatrical skills of aspiring artistes from the city, began at Virsa Vihar, Amritsar.
  • The workshop would be in collaboration with the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi.
  • According to Kewal Dhaliwal, chairperson of Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi, the workshop has become one of the most awaited and prominent theatre activities in the city.
  • The entries were received from as far as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, while artistes from all parts of Punjab and Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir too come to participate.
  • A similar workshop has been organised for children with age group of five to fifteen years. The children theatre workshop for 15 days will culminate in a play production.

Jun 09, 2019

Chaukhandi Stupa to be of National Importance

  •  An ancient Buddhist site in Uttar Pradesh's Sarnath known as Chaukhandi Stupa has been declared to be of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • The government had sought public feedback in March for a period of two months.
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