125 Years of K. M. Munshi


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBUARY 14 , 2013           11.25 P.M.

When in the beginning of January 2013 , President of India Pranab Mukherjee went to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan headquarters in Mumbai and paid tribute to K. M. Munshi , I suddenly realized that my favourite icon , a freedom fighter and an extraordinary litterateur of India has completed 125 years of his existence .

K. M. Munshi

K. M. Munshi

I have read Hindi translations of almost all his novels . I particularly love his historical and mythological novels like ; Jai Somnath and Bhagwan Parashuram . During my adolescent years I was enamoured by his personality . His role and contribution in the re-construction of Somnath Temple is unparalleled . It speaks volumes about his character and determination that he could achieve this feat , though Jawaharlal Nehru was dead against the idea .

Book 2

Book

K. M. Munshi was born on 30 December 1887 in the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, and educated in Vadodara , where he excelled in academics. One of his teachers at Baroda College was Sri Aurobindo Ghosh who had a profound impression on him. Munshi was also greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Bhulabhai Desai, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. After acquiring his degree in Law from the University of Bombay, he enrolled himself as an advocate in 1913 . About this time his first novel was being serialised in a Gujarati weekly.

Under Sri Aurobindo‘s influence, Munshi was attracted to armed rebellion against the British. He even learnt to make bombs, but when he moved to Bombay in 1915, he drifted towards the Home Rule Movement, and was later elected member of the Subjects Committee of the Indian National Congress in 1917. He started the movement for a Parliamentary wing of the Congress, and later became Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Board in 1938. The same year he founded the well-known Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Institute of Agriculture at Anand, Gujarat.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - Mumbai

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan – Mumbai

Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement ever since the advent of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Swaraj Party but returned to the Indian National Congress on Gandhiji‘s behest with the launch of the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. He was arrested several times, including during the Quit India Movement of 1942. A great admirer of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Munshi served in the Central Legislative Assembly in the 1930s.

After the independence of India, Munshi was appointed diplomatic envoy and trade agent (Agent-General) to the princely state of Hyderabad, where he served until its accession to India in 1948. Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar. He and Purushottam Das Tandon were among those who strongly opposed propagation and conversion in the constituent assembly. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple by the Government of India just after independence.

Munshi served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957. In 1959, Munshi separated from the Nehru-dominated Congress Party and started the Akhand Hindustan Movement. He , along with Chakravarti Rajagopalachari , founded the Swatantra Party, which was right-wing in its politics, pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights. The party enjoyed limited success and eventually died out. Later, Munshi joined the Jan Sangh.

Being a prolific writer and a conscientious journalist, Munshi started a Gujarati monthly called Bhargava. He was joint-editor of Young India and in 1954, started the Bhavan’s Journal which is published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to this day. Munshi was President of the Sanskrit Viswa Parishad, the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, and the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from founding Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Munshi was instrumental in the establishment of Bhavan’s College, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Rajhans Balvatika and Panchgani Hindu School (1924). He was elected Fellow of the University of Bombay, where he was responsible for giving adequate representation to regional languages.

Besides being a politician and educator, Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, when he was Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, to increase area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week-long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July all across the country and lakhs of trees are planted.

Works

Munshi was also a litterateur with a wide range of interests. He is well-known for his historical novels in Gujarati, especially his trilogy Patan-ni-Prabhuta (The Greatness of Patan), Gujarat-no-Nath (The Ruler of Gujarat) and Rajadhiraj (The Emperor). His other works include Jay Somnath (on Somnath temple), Krishnavatara (on Lord Krishna), Bhagavan Parasurama (on Parshurama), and Tapasvini (The Lure of Power) a novel with a fictional parallel drawn from the Freedom Movement of India under Mahatma Gandhi. Munshi also wrote several notable works in English.

Munshi has written mostly based on fictional historical themes namely

  1. Earlier Aryan settlements in India (What he calls Gaurang’s – white skinned)
  2. Krishna’s endeavors in Mahabharata kaal
  3. More recently in 10th century India around Gujarat, Malwa and Southern India.

K.M. Munshi’s novel Prithvi Vallabh was made into a movie of the same name twice. The adaptation directed by Manilal Joshi in 1924 was very controversial in its day: Mahatma Gandhi railed against it for excessive sex and violence. The second version was by Sohrab Modi in 1943.

images

List of works

Novels

In Gujarati & Hindi languages :-

  • Mari Kamala (1912)
  • Verni Vasulat (1913) (under the pen name Ghanashyam)
  • Patanni Prabhuta (1916)
  • Gujaratno Nath (1917)
  • Rajadhiraj (1918)
  • Prithvivallabh (1920)
  • Svapnadishta (1924)
  • Lopamudra (1930)
  • Jay Somanth (1940)
  • Bhagavan Parashurama (1946)
  • Tapasvini (1957)
  • Krishnavatara (in seven volumes) (1970)
  • Kono vank
  • Lomaharshini
  • Bhagvan Kautilya
  • Pratirodha (1900)
  • Atta ke svapana (1900)
  • Gaurava kā pratīka (1900)
  • Gujarat ke Gaurava (1900)
  • Sishu aura Sakhi (1961)

Dramas

  • Brahmacharyashram (1931)
  • Dr. Madhurika (1936)
  • Pauranik Natako

Non-fiction

  • Ketlak Lekho (1926)
  • Adadhe Raste (1943)

Notable works in English

Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 1 ]


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VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 23 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

When I landed at Chennai Airport on December 21 , 2012 , it marked my 3rd visit to the Southern metropolis . On December 22 , 2012 , when I drove to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the morning , it marked my 2nd visit to the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu .

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People of my generation always view Tamil Nadu and Tamil people through the prism , which was created in 1967 , when the first Dravidian government was formed in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of C. N. Annadurai .

But if you want to understand Dravid Movement of Tamil Nadu , you have to study the history of Self Respect Movement and Justice Party stablished by E. V. Ramasamy Naicker a.k.a. Periyar . It all started in 1925 , much before 1967 , when Annadurai led D.M.K. [ Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam ] formed the first non – Congress government in Tamil Nadu .

In the history of India , 1925 seems to be a very unique year . In the Tamil Nadu E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” started his Self Respect Movement and in the same year in Nagpur Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar started R.S.S. [ Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ] . Periyar’s movement is considered separatist and anti national by many and Dr. Hedgewar’s movement is perceived ultra nationalist by the majority . But it is uncanny that both the movements were started in 1925 .

English: Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ram...

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 06-Jan-1940 at Jinnah’s residence in Bombay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Dr. Hedgewar

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar , Founder of R.S.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that Periyar was peeved by the superiority of Brahmins and their dominance in all the departments and strata of Tamil culture and life . He started this movement called Sel Respect and started espousing the cause of non – Brahmin castes of Tamil Nadu . He started breaking idols in the temple , advocated atheism , despised JANEU , the sacred thread and finally gave a call for the boycott of Brahmin priests in the marriages . His espousal of Self Respect Marriage had far – reaching repercussions and he became quite unpopular in rest of the country . His anti – Brahmin crusades drew wide – spread indignation and his opposition of Hindu deity worship was considered as anti Hindu and finally anti India .

Both the Tamilian parties ; Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] and All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] owe their existence to E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and his movement . And thus atheism and anti North India and anti Hindi credo became their life lines . And when DMK came to power in 1967 , Anna Durai accepted many things which were espoused by Periyar . Thus in the rest of India people became suspicious and majority started disliking DMK and it anti Hindi , anti God and anti North India policies .

I was definitely misguided by this prism , which I got while studying in Allahabad from 1967 to 1974 . My recent visits have changed my perception of Tamil Nadu , Tamil people and Tamil politics of Dravidian parties .

I will complete this ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” series in my next blog and would like to share it with all the current students of my acting academy Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  after my return from Tamil Nadu .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Mr. Girish Karnad : Denunciation Continues


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 06 , 2012          05.30 P.M.

English: Girish Karnad visited Cornell Univers...

Girish Karnad visited Cornell University in Ithaca New York for screening one of his old movies – Kanakapurandhara on October 29, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today while sitting in the office of  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , my Acting Institute in Mumbai , I checked my twitter handle as usual . Mr. Kiran KS , whose twitter handle I follow , has posted 12 tweets dedicated to the V. S. Naipaul and Girish Karnad controversy . I was amazed because of the information I got .

These tweets are based on the article of Mr. Pratap Simha in today’s Kannada Prabha , a leading Kannada daily . Mr. Kiran KS has translated the information in English for the sake of non – Kannadigas and tweeted them .

View summary

1) A brilliant article in Kannada Prabha by @mepratap . For the sake of non-Kannadigas, will tweet excerpts now. #Karnad and Naipaul topic.

2) #Karnad calls Naipaul a Muslim virodhi, because of A Wounded Civilization book. The book explains the 5 centuries of invader atrocities.

3) So Mr. #Karnad , what’s wrong in Naipaul telling about the “wound” on a Hindu civilization caused by invaders Ghazni, Ghori, Babur etc?

4) Mr. Girish #Karnad , if Babur cared so much about his birth country Uzbekistan, he could have “developed” that instead of India. Right?

5) In “Thoughts on Pakistan” book, Dr. Ambedkar talks about Muslim mentality,like Naipaul. Will #Karnad oppose Bharat Ratna to Ambedkar too?

6) Naipaul calls Taj Mahal a symbol of invasion. Pooh-pooh’s Romila Thapar’s Hindu Muslim “bhai-bhai” symbol talk. #Karnad , is that wrong?

7) Tell us Mr. #Karnad , fanatic Aurangzeb ordering destruction of Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1699.. was it Hindu-Muslim “bhai-bhai” event?

8) Tell us Jnanapeethi #Karnad, fanatic Aurangzeb ordering Jaziya tax on Hindus… was it Hindu-Muslim “bhai-bhai” event? Why blame Naipaul?

9) #Karnad says Naipaul failed to grasp India as books didn’t cover Indian music. So Karnad, why your books didn’t cover Indian Shilpa-Kala?

10) #Karnad, u criticize Naipaul (not born in India) of not grasping Indian samskriti. But ur book Anju Mallige is about sister-brother sex!

11) Mr. #Karnad ,you got to fame directing SL Bhyrappa’s stories. But once he exposed your Tipu “facts”, you termed SLB books as “ordinary”!

12) When VS Naipaul got nobel, #Karnad termed him the “greatest living literateur of Indian origin”. Now suddenly he’s a Muslim-virodhi??

1st edition (publ. André Deutsch)

1st edition (publ. André Deutsch) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Naipaul’s book ” India : A Wounded Civilization “ is now very much in focus . Mr. Kiran KS has given enough logic in favour of the book and Sir Vidia’s viewpoint . I don’t have any more logic . And I think I don’t have anything new to say about Mr. Girish Karnad and Sir Vidia controversy . I have already posted a blog about it :

Shame On You , Mr. Girish Karnad http://wp.me/ptyXI-2rQ

I , amazingly , got many responses for my blog . Some were in support and some were harsh . Few were very balanced . It’s wonderful to get connected to so many people having such diverse views .

[ I have re – tweeted from the twitter handle of Mr. Kiran KS . These tweets are based on the article of Mr. Pratap Simha published in a leading Kanada daily Kannada Prabha . I express my gratitude to all of them . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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