Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mandu: Where Love Lives On Forever

The world’s eighth wonder, spectacular in white marble, is only a tomb.

To see what love is one has to go to Mandu, 110 km from Indore, in Madhya Pradesh. Nature cradles to this day, the story of a love between two people, one a king and the other a poor shepherd woman – Baz Bahadur and Roopmati rani.

It is said that the erstwhile King of Mandu, Baz Bahadur happened upon this extremely beautiful shepherd woman and made it his mission to make her his queen, although he had already a large harem of women to chose from. Roopmati rani, was not keen. She loved her Narmada river at the backs of which she grazed her cattle more that the king. He begged, cried and persuaded her to come to his palace.

His tears bore fruit only after he promised that he would build a bund for her in the palace which he was going to build for her and bring the river Narmada to her palace so she would never miss her most beloved river. This he did.

Rewa Kund is a reservoir built by Baz Bahadur at Mandu, equipped with an aqueduct to supply Roopmati's palace with water. Today, the site is revered as a holy spot. Baz Bahadur's Palace was constructed in the early 16th century, and is notable for its spacious courtyard fringed with halls, and high terraces which give a terrific view of the lovely surroundings. Rani Roopmati's Pavilion was built as an army observation post. It served a more romantic purpose as Roopmati's retreat. From this picturesque pavilion perched on a hilltop, the queen could gaze at her paramour's palace, and also at the Narmada flowing by, below.

According to Wikidpedia ( Rani Roopmati, was a Hindu Rajput singer of Malwa. Sultan Baz Bahadur and Roopmati fell in love with each other and were married according to Muslim and Hindu rites.

Baz Bahadur, ever so fond of music, was the last independent ruler of Mandu. Once out hunting , Baz Bahadur chanced upon a shepherdess frolicking and singing with her friends. Smitten by both her enchanting beauty and her mellifluous voice, he begged Roopmati to accompany him to his capital. Roopmati agreed to go to Mandu on the condition that she would live in a palace within sight of her beloved and venerated river, Narmada. Thus was built the Rewa Kund at Mandu.

Unfortunately, the romance of this Muslim prince and Hindu shepherdess was doomed to failure. The great Mughal Akbar decided to invade Mandu and capture roopmati and baz bahadur. Akbar sent Adham Khan to capture Mandu and Baz bahadur went to challenge him with his small army. No match for the great Mughal army, Mandu was easily defeated fell.

As Adham Khan came to Mandu, he was surprised by the beauty of Rani Roopmati . She pleaded that she be taken t her love, Baz Bahadur. He promised to do that for her, but she was soon to realise at he was lying. He wanted her for himself. She stoically poisoned herself to avoid capture. Thus ended this magical love story steeped in music, poetry and beauty.

The love story of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati had flourished. She wrote poems and lyrics of love for him which were passionate and poignant. Alas, nature played a cruel hand and the love story ended.

Nature lives on that love, in the midst of its bountiful hills and dales, its green fields and ruined structures of a kingdom that was and a love that live on in the very air of Mandu; it is poetry and prose, lyrics and song sung to that eternal passion you call a romance which stands still, in time.

Ask all the lovers who go there now. It is paradise relived.

To reach Mandu:

Take a train to Indore and then cab it there ( Rs 1250)

References from Wikipedia:

In 1599, Ahmad-ul-Umri Turkoman, who was in the service of Sharaf-ud-Din Mirza wrote the story of Rani Rupmati in Persian. He collected 26 poems of her and included them in his work. The original manuscript passed to his grandson Fulad Khan and his friend Mir Jafar Ali made a copy of the manuscript in 1653. Mir Jafar Ali’s copy ultimately passed to Mehbub Ali of Delhi and after his death in 1831 passed to a lady of Delhi. Jemadar Inayat Ali of Bhopal brought this manuscript from her to Agra. This manuscript later reached C.E. Luard and translated into English by L.M. Crump under the title, The Lady of the Lotus: Rupmati, Queen of Mandu: A Strange Tale of Faithfulness in 1926. This manuscript has a collection of twelve dohas, ten kavitas and three sawaiyas of Rupmati.

Mandu: Picture Perfect

Has India Become A Hindu Country?

Title: The yoni and the cock and bull story - Has India become a Hindu country?

The Hindustan Times 17 August, 2009 reports a story written by Padma Shastri on how beggar children in one of the Jyotirlinga pilgrimage places in India - Omkareshwar have been gathered by Ma Anandmayee Ashram there and have been converted from a life of no dignity to a life of vedic education, music, art and songs. These children were begging on the streets only a few decades ago, but from the kind intervention of the Ashram since 1986, they have been admitted in the Ma Anandmayi Tripura Vidyapeeth. Here they are taught to read and write and learn music along with the Vedic slokas. Thus, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes which used to be a way of life for most of these kids before they entered school, has changed dramatically and been replaced by finer values of life.

The children receive free education, food, clothing and books to complete their studies. Many of these children have also found new ways to earn their living by visiting abroad doing music shows.

Parents of these children say that they are happy. " We did not want to send our children to Government schools because of poor standards of education".

However, the children of the nearby tribesmen village told the Monks at the Vidyapeeth - " We earn Rs 4000 every forth day by selling weapons. If you are able to guarantee that our children will earn that much and more by attending your school, then we are willing to send our children."

Swami Gurusharan Anand, the American convert and Principal of the Vidyapeeth remained tongue tied.


My questions are very simple:

(1) Has India become a Hindu Country? By focusing on teaching the Vedas at School level, is it not contributing to children growing up with non-secular thoughts as well as ill begotten thoughts that only Hindu religious texts are right?

(2) Is it worth bringing out children from poverty only to make them "blind believers"?

(3) Must education not perform its main duty of giving quality education without placing layers of religious toppings?

(4) Finally, is it not the duty of any education institute to promote the real spirit of India - diversity of thought, religion, peoples in its true sense? By teaching Vedas and not the Quran or the Bible, the Zenavestha or the religious text of the Sikhs, the teaching of the vedas amounts to telling a bed(Read: bad) time story of the yoni and the cock and bull story.

Reference: The Hindustan Times, Bhopal edition, 17 August, 2009