#BikramGhosh, #CrossPollination, #Cultures
Engaged in Bollywood projects and carrying forward his fusion experiments, percussion maestro Bickram Ghosh is busy creating what he does best: music. He shares glimpses of his musical journey and presents works in a conversation with Subhojit Roy.
Tell us about the Bollywood projects you are working in…
I am scoring music for Torbaaz starring the iconic Sanjay Dutt and Nargis Fakhri directed by Girish Malik. My collaboration with Sonu Nigam for the film “Jal” won an Oscar nomination in 2015 for the best original score which was also directed by Girish Malik. My other Bollywood film under production is “Band of Maharajas” once again a Girish Malik directed film and I am acting too as Feroze Jamshed, an Afghan percussionist.
Tell us about Bickram Ghosh Fusion Studio going global in Amsterdam
Collaboration and cross-pollination of cultures is a major force. Fusion music allows people the space to expand and thrive. My fusion studio is a collaboration workshop creating a track followed by recording and live performance. Our Amsterdam exercise was a huge success with a grand finale concert at the prestigious concert Gebow which was a sold-out! With this kind of earnest endeavour, Indian music also expands its horizons.
Paper Boats is your latest collaboration with Kala Ramnath, the virtuoso violin player, tell us about the album…
Paper Boats remind us of childhood when we inhabited an idyllic world with no sense of barriers, a playful world where imagination merged seamlessly with reality. The album is a collaboration with a fabulous violinist Kala Ramnath showcasing, on the one hand, the purity of unadulterated childhood. Paper boats symbolise this playful world propelled by the imagination. On the other hand the album also addresses the terrible segregation between individuals that adulthood brings to the fore . Across the world today we are engulfed by the terrors of a world where human beings inflict inhuman atrocities on each other. We have moved away from our core position of compassion and this has created a seemingly irreparable rift among people. Paper Boats is an appeal to bring back our core innocence which stems from the sense of oneness of spirit. If we can touch that core, there will be hope. The project brings together artists from across the globe (USA, UK, Italy, France, Morocco, Afghanistan, Egypt, Madagascar, Armenia, Bangladesh and India ) unified through a seamless melodic vision of the two lead artists. The barriers of musical forms are broken down to create a musical vision that allows Indian classical, jazz, western classical, Afro- Cuban and other forms to blend with uniformity. The artists hope that their musical unity can be replicated in life to create a harmonious world where all individuals co-exist in peace and creativity.
Does new-age experimental music have a future?
My personal graph with this firm has been great over the last two decades, albums like Rhythmscape, electro-Classical, white note, transformation, beyond Rhythmscape are still the best sellers. I continue to create more recordings and the latest being the collaboration with Kala Ramnath in Paper boats. Rhythmscape, my band, continues to tour globally and I see a great better future for this crossover music as that’s where the work is headed.
You have a fabulous partnership with the great Sonu Nigam, tell us about the association.
We have created a body of work together including the Oscar-contending score for Jal and the GIMA winning album “The Music Room” being the topmost among them. Presently we are working on two other albums and as friends, we are very close sharing a deep bond and surely he is one of the most warm-hearted human beings I know.
Has there been any pressure of being a son of such illustrious parents having to perform in the same field or was there a choice of any other career? Who has been your inspiration?
It has not been easy and early years were a big struggle trying to create a niche of my own out of my father’s (Pandit Shankar Ghosh the illustrious Tabla maestro) shadow. But then with God’s grace, I was recognised on my own steam eventually. Yes, I was given a choice but I wanted to be a musician. My father and Guru Pandit Shankar Ghosh, he honed my tabla skills and gave me incredibly insightful knowledge into the intricacies of rhythm. I also learnt Carnatic rhythms from Pdt. S.Sekhar, the great Mridangam player.
Your favourite pick of musical cities in the world?
Kolkata, Chennai & Pune for Classical Music, these cities are where even regular households encourage music at home. While internationally New York, London and Paris are my favourites for experimental forms. The minds of the listeners in these cities are expanded to embrace new forms. These cities are cultural melting pots. Indian classical music through the efforts of maestros like Bharat Ratna Ravi Shankar ji, Ustad Ali Akbar Ji, Ustad Zakir Hussain Ji has a huge acceptability abroad.
How does Bickram Ghosh spend his time?
I do a lot of Meditation, regular morning walks, hitting the studio after breakfast. Unless there is a concert in the evening, I am a home bird. I also read a fair bit. Hanging at home or with friends, reading books, watching movies.
(First Published in India Blooms News Services)
Directed by Prarthana Mohan, ‘Miseducation of Bindu’ is a story of the main character, Bindu Chaudry (Megan Suri), a 14-year-old girl at Broad River High School in Virginia, United States (US). Born in India, she moved to Indianapolis at age of 9 with her mom (Priyanka Bose) to live with her aunt (Alka Nayyar) after her father dies. David Arquette plays her stepfather. Bindu finds herself struggling not only between girlhood and womanhood but also between India’s traditional past and the promise of global future in which she tries to develop her own individuality.
Asha Bajaj, the special Canadian Correspondent of IBNS Canada as well as the editor of Canadian-Media discusses the film “The MisEducation of Bindu” with Prarthana Mohan
We wanted to play on the fact that kids/teenagers are unreliable narrators, and in Bindu’s case, she is getting a crash course in what it is to be a teenager from a bunch of kids who have their own motives and agenda. So while it is an education, it is not always proper. We also wanted a title that got us to the heart of what the film is about and took us a long time before we could settle on what it should be called.
2. What motivated you to co-write and direct the film?
Kay Tuxford, my writing partner, and I sowed the seeds of Bindu back when we were in grad school. She wrote a short film that I directed that is very similar to this film, except that Bindu was a caucasian teenager called Wendy. After school, we decided to write a feature-length version of that short film and couldn’t wait to explore that world some more. It wasn’t until about five years ago that we re-wrote the film with an Indian American teenager. High school is a universal experience, and it didn’t seem right or fair to us that people like us were not represented in those stories. We wanted to see someone go through the awkward growing pains of adolescence who looked and talked like us. It was the perfect place for the story and the character to evolve and was the best decision we made.
3. Can you throw some light on the development of complex characters of the film like Bindu, Peter, Sam, Bindu’s mom, and her stepfather?
The film initially spanned a better part of a semester. When we started to work with the Duplass Brothers, they pitched the idea to condense the story to one fateful day in high school. But we felt the idea to be irrational at the time. Kay and I had spent so much time with these characters, and we felt they would not survive being limited to one day. It was incredibly hard to distil the high points to a place where the characters still felt whole. It made us critically look at every element that was on the page and trim lots of unnecessary features. It also helped drive the story forward and keeping the story quite dynamic. We are grateful that we were pushed in this direction. It certainly helped make it a stronger film.
4. Can you throw some light on your high school education in Chennai? Did you feel any culture shock when you came to California? Is the story of Bindu in any way connected to your own background?
I went to what can only be described as an alternative school. It does not reflect the more typical experiences in the United States (US). Nonetheless, the chaos of adolescence is singular no matter where you grow up. I think culturally there are some big significant differences, and Bindu’s story is portrayed in the middle of that.
The biggest thing that took some time to get adjusted to was the laid back attitudes in academic settings. I remember the first time I saw a classmate rest his leg up on the desk the whole time the professor was lecturing, it was very jarring. That would never happen back in India, but here, it was not a big deal. Little things like that were unusual when I first got here.
There are elements of both Kay’s and my collective experiences that have shaped Bindu. It is not autobiographical, but we share some similarities.
5. What motivated you to study film in California? Did you face any obstacles from your family?
Coming from a film family, my parents, in the beginning, were a little reluctant about me going to film school. But after some initial apprehension, they became supportive. Coming to the US to study film seemed like a pretty obvious choice, but I didn’t necessarily have California in mind. I met the president of Chapman University, California at a dinner in India, and was motivated from his talks about the school and program, and that decided that California was a place for me.
6. What are the obstacles you faced in your study of film in California?
It was both the best and the most challenging time in my life. I think the nature of the industry becomes very apparent once you get there. You realize that there isn’t a clear path forward after school. It’s a mixture of hard work, networking, and some measure of being at the right place at the right time. It took us ten years to get this movie made, which is pretty typical for a lot of filmmakers and we finally nailed one of those three things.
Also, there were many more tools at my disposal in school. Crowdfunding was a game-changer. It gave us the ability to build an audience which in turn translates to getting investors to believe in your project. It would not have been possible to make those first movies without that network of family and friends.
7. The audacious attempt on your part to portray the life of American high school is very revealing. Is there any moral lesson attached to it?
We tried to touch on topics relating to parenting, marriage, friendship, female sexuality, high school politics, the meaning of being American, and conservative vs. modern values and LGBTQIA+ issues. These are all themes that are very relevant at that age. It’s a time when kids are learning and forming opinions about so many “adult” concepts. It was also what we are experiencing in the world around us. It was important to address these topics through the lens of adolescence and high school.
I think there are a couple of different lessons, but the one that resonates with me the notion that your self-worth should not be tied to others’ opinions of you. And that it is important to embrace one’s unique brand of weirdness and that it is totally OK to be different!
8. What motivated you to select the career of a writer and director of the film? Briefly describe your previous films and your future projects. Have you any plans to enter in Toronto International Film Festival competition?
I’ve always wanted to tell stories and directing felt like a natural fit for me. I enjoy writing, especially writing dialogue but am working towards writing more consistently.
The MisEducation of Bindu is my first feature, but I have directed a couple of short films that have played at many festivals. Kay Tuxford has had a lot of success with her screenplays, and her short film ‘Wine Bottles’ has been a great in the festival circuit. I have a couple of features in the works, all with female leads, exploring themes of ageing, love, marriage, immigration, etc. We are not going to be at TIFF, but hope to play at other Canadian festivals.
#NewYork; #MuseumOfModernArt; #MoMA'sReimagination; #RajendraRoy
New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), celebrates creativity, openness, tolerance, and generosity and welcomes diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions. MoMA is committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art and enables the viewers to explore the art, ideas, and issues of modern time.
Rajendra Roy, Chief Film Curator of MoMA with a strong connection to Film Programming in Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was present during the TIFF 2019 festival.
Rajendra Roy (Centre)/Facebook
Asha Bajaj, IBNS Canada's Special Canadian Correspondent, and Editor of Canadian-Media had a chance to discuss with him the chief characteristics and innovative features of MoMA.
It has come to my knowledge that New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) would be reopening on October 21, 2019. I would like to learn from you the history of the museum, its salient features that reflect the modern art of the museum. I would also like to know the different elements of modern art portrayed in the museum.
When and by whom was the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) founded and when and why was it closed? Who was responsible for its development?
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was opened by three patrons Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Mary Quinn Sullivan and Lillie P. Bliss. They were in the process of collecting paintings, watercolours, and drawings by a number of contemporary American artists in 1925, at that time called New Art which is now called Modern Art. It was not really an institution at that time to celebrate that type of art in New York. Their devotion to modern art led to the founding of MoMA in 1929.
MoMA closed on June 15, 2019 to reimagine and reinvent the practices of displaying like disciplines together and replace them with mixed painting, sculpture, film, photography, works on paper, and other mediums on gallery space on the second, fourth, and fifth floors. MoMA also lays emphasis on incorporating artists representative of more diverse geographies and backgrounds.
Rockefeller hired a director Alfred Barr. Barr’s vision for the museum was one that is inclusive of all the modern visual arts — architecture and industrial design, photography, and theater design, as well as the traditional fields of painting and sculpture, drawings and prints and films. The film, at that time was a new art form which was only been invented a few decades ago. It is one of the very few museums in the world which included film as an art form.
When did the introduction of the film as an art form in the museum actually take place? Give a brief description of the development of the film element in MoMA.
The element of the film was introduced in the museum in the year 1935. Soon it was followed by the formalization of MoMA’s Film Library Corporation and the first permanent building as part of the foundation of the Museum called Cinema was built. The Film Library Corporation was established for the purpose of assembling a collection of motion picture films suitable for illustrating the important steps historically and artistically in the development of motion pictures from their inception. This building grew over the years as the film as an art form progressed. The feature of film in the museum became prolific with many galley settings. The moving image has been embraced by the museum in all its forms.
The Circulating Library was established in 1935 to collect films to illustrate the historic and artistic development of motion pictures as well as to establish the medium as a major art form. Initially, the Circulating Library included a collection which was available to colleges, museums, and other educational institutions at reasonable rates. Since then it expanded to include regional and international film festivals, individual collectors, and other film organizations. The Circulating Library also provided access to works by independent filmmakers, works that would otherwise not be readily available.
In recent years the Circulating Library has strengthened certain areas and to make available more titles to a wider film community including important works by and about artists such as Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Yoko Ono, and Robert Smithson.
The Circulating Film Library has grown to over 1,200 titles covering the history of film from the 1890s to present and also incorporates the Circulating Video Library, an important collection of work by leading video artists. MoMA’s earlier holdings of silent films soon began to include contemporary documentaries, animation, and avant-garde and independent cinema. MoMA also took the responsibility to make these available to viewers who otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them.
Please tell us about the salient features of this museum from its founding till the current reimagination of the Museum.
Upon his appointment as the first director, Barr’s innovative plan for the conception and organization of the Museum resulted in a multi-departmental structure based on varied forms of visual expression. The exhibitions he curated in the early years were based on loaned works of art. With the passing of time, Barr envisioned a permanent collection at MoMA, one consisting not only of painting and sculpture but also of photography, film, and architecture. He subsequently established six different curatorial departments: Painting and Sculpture, Drawings, Prints and Illustrated Books, Film, Photography, and Architecture and Design.
The unconventional and innovative exhibitions of MoMA served to broaden the definition of art as well as the mission of a 20th-century museum and converted it into a forum for cultural dialogue.
The department of architecture was established in 1932, followed by the film which was established in 1935. Photography was established in 1940. Barr also introduced aesthetic and philosophy elements of Bauhaus (Germany) to the American public. Bauhaus was a school of design, architecture, and applied arts that existed in Germany from 1919 to 1933. The Bauhaus trained students equally in art and in technically expert craftsmanship.
In 1939 MoMA opened in a permanent, a new building located at 11 West 53 Street in New York with an entirely new type of museum architecture. Today, these departments include architecture and design, drawings and prints, film, media and performance, painting and sculpture, and photography.
One of the most prominent features of the museum at the time of its foundation that each art form had its own separate department. There were six departments, such as sculpture, design, paintings, films, photographs, and drawings and prints and films. Now we have media and performance. Each department could be celebrated individually. This isolated all the departments. For example, the department of painting displayed only paintings primarily by themselves maybe with sculpture but not combined with photographs. As time passed the segregation of the celebration of the different departments became narrower. The development took place by replacing the representation of each art form individually by a chronological method which included all of its art forms. For MoMA, it is a radical shift and took several years of planning to have a new installation of the interrelation of all the departments.
What inspired you to be a curator of this museum? Please highlight a few features of your work before you started as a curator?
I was very privileged when MoMA offered me the position of Chief Film Curator 13 years ago. I had been involved for many years with film festivals and had been coming each year to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival. MoMA loved my ideas about Modern Art and what my generation could bring to MoMA and how our generation could engage in shifting the dialogue of art from different cultures like Indian diaspora, Africa, Asia etc. For me, it was a dream come true.
From 1995 to 2002, I worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in a variety of positions in the Film and Media Arts Program, collaborating with curators to coordinate film, video, and new media exhibitions in New York, Bilbao, and Berlin. From 1996 to 2000, I was Executive Director of the MIX Festival, one of the world’s largest experimental film and video festivals.
From 2002-2007 I served as Director of Programming and Artistic Director for the Hamptons International Film Festival. I became the sole American member of the Competition Selection Committee of the Berlin International Film Festival from 2004 to 2008. I still serve as an advisor to that festival.
In 2007, I joined The Museum of Modern Art as Chief Curator of Film, a role in which I lead the Museum’s year-round initiatives to exhibit and preserve works from its collection of about 27,000 titles.
Coming to some personal questions, briefly highlight your background, your education and qualifications? Does your education in any way reflect your present position?
My father, a sociology professor, immigrated to the United States in the mid-60s. My mother is from California. I have one sister. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a BA (1994) in political science and French literature and have contributed to Empire, Frieze, indieWIRE, Moving Pictures, Turbulences Video, and other publications.
My parents wanted me to become a lawyer, but I chose to learn film programming when I moved to New York to become a musician and an actor. My sister also moved from the traditional path and became a fashion designer. I had no formal education in film programming but I learnt about it by practice. My knowledge about filming was self-invented.
I am more interested in the diversity of background. We have shifted from analogue to digital media production. While waiting for a break, I volunteered for Mix – an annual gay and lesbian experimental film festival held at the Anthology Film Archive in New York's East Village. From 1996 to 2000, I was Executive Director of the MIX Festival, one of the world’s largest experimental film and video festivals. It worked out for me because I met a lot of filmmakers and developed film connections. John Hanhart, a senior film curator at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, became my mentor. Eventually, in 2000, I joined Guggenheim as a film program manager. I headed the programming of the prestigious Hamptons International Film Festival before joining MoMA in 2007. Thus, I learnt film programming by doing rather than by studying.
#BoxingWorld; #TIFF; #KnuckleCity
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, the director of the film, 'Knuckle City' and its screenplay writer, recounts the experiences based on his real-life birthplace of boxing world champions in the township of Mdantsane in South Africa's Eastern Cape province. Qubeka draws attention to the extreme poverty which pushes the male counterparts of the communities to the toxic-masculine rings of boxing. " It is an ode to my formative years and an exploration and fundamental dissection of the toxic masculinity that continues to purvey in this space," said Qubeka.
Image: Courtesy of TIFF
Asha Bajaj, IBNS Canada Special Correspondent as well as Editor of Canadian-Media catches up with Qubeka to discuss the salient features of the film.
Jahmil, you have been internationally and locally acknowledged for your directorial work and have premiered feature films in almost every significant festival across the globe. Can you name a few genres in which had made films? Please provide some examples.
Genres in which I have made films are Documentaries, fables, television dramas, commercials, science fiction and feature films.
Examples are: Talk to Me (05) is a documentary; Of Good Report (2013) is a feature film; Sew the Winter to My Skin, an action film.; A Small Town Called Descent is a 2010 South African crime drama; Stillborn is science fiction Short.
Elaborate on Peabody Awards and BAFTA awards. Can you name some of your works which received Peabody Awards and a BAFTA Awards.
Peabody Award was created to honor excellence in radio broadcasting and was established in 1940 by a committee of the National Association of Broadcasters. It is the oldest major electronic media award in the United States. Final Peabody Award winners are selected unanimously by the program's Board of Jurors.
BAFTA stands for The British Academy of Film and Television Arts. BAFTA Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by BAFTA to honour the best British and international contributions to film.
I was awarded Peabody Award in 2005 in America for ‘Talk to Me’, an AIDS documentary I directed for Sesame Street and In 2013 for my feature film ‘Of Good Report’.
My works which received BAFTA awards were: ‘Of Good Report’; ‘Sew the Winter to My Skin’;
Coming to the film “Knuckle City”, why did you consider the township of Mdantsane in South Africa's Eastern Cape province as the chief place for boxing sports?
South Africa is a sports-loving country and boxing is one of the most-followed sports. And on a rare occasion it is the subject of a film. The township of Mdantsane in South Africa's Eastern Cape province is known informally as South Africa’s boxing hub. It is also the historic birthplace of many stars with boxing world championships over the years.
The fictional film focuses on the culture of boxing in the township, where one of the ways to navigate life is in the boxing ring. Boxing Ring is presented as a community and the struggles we face in that ring are what we face in a community. Fight between families, and domestic violence are themes reflecting the lives of the community. The people of the community would come and watch the shooting of the film and then correct us as they are more familiar with what they do. It is based on reality.
Image credit: TIFF2019
The background of the portrayal of poverty in the film is set against the tough lives of the boxers? Can you explain the connection between poverty and boxing competition?
Boxing is very primal sport. It is also considered dinosaur sport. Its popularity springs from the fact that it brings money and is run by gangsters. Boxing is also a corrupt game and represents the metaphor of the male or man as corrupt as boxing. The boxers literally fight for survival in a poverty-stricken place. Poverty teaches them great endurance in this game. It is also a successful genre to be filmed. People like blood and some are healed by the sight of blood. People like action.
Dudu (Bongile Mantsai) and Duke (Thembekile Komani), two brothers were earlier shown in the film with Duke following a criminal path and Dudu trying virtuously to mend the broken family. Once their father said to the children that family comes first and we should all remain together. What other message do you bring in the story besides the importance of family being together?
I am not one to talk about messages. I do not preach. My role is to entertain the viewers. I do not see the togetherness of the family as the moral of the story. It is the contradiction of this belief which appeals to me more. I give enough space for the viewers to decide about the moral of the story. The main topics that I discuss are masculinity, frustration, dinosaurs perspective of identity.
Duke follows the traits of criminality of his father. The pattern of cause and effect is the main force of the film.
Dudu, on the other hand follows a virtuous path and tries to mend the broken family and has to take the help of his criminal brother to get enrolled in the boxing sport and fight to bring the family out of poverty.
There are several layers of the story. Peeling of each layer brings forth the truth of the film.
#TIFF2019; #Anorexia; #AllegoricalRepresentationOfEatingDisorder
The film ‘It’s Nothing’ describes the internal exploration of eating disorders or Anorexia represented by a hole the protagonist spends her time digging in secret. She goes about her life covered in dirt. People don’t know how to address it or, more often, pretend not to see it at all. Asha Bajaj, IBNS Canada Special Correspondent and, Editor of Canadian Media, brings together Anna Maguire, the director of the film “It’s Nothing”, and Screenwriter Julia Lederer to speak on rarely talked about subject of Anorexia.
Courtesy of Anna Maguire's Facebook
Anna, in the film “It’s Nothing” you have discussed the internal exploration of eating disorders. What motivated you to discuss this topic? Is there any personal connection?
I met Julia in 2014 through a friend. Julia had originally written a play for young adults; about a young woman digging a hole under the influence of a friend, which stood in as a metaphor for anorexia, which Julia had herself experienced and wanted me to film it.
Yes, I have personal connection to this eating disorder. It is something I had experienced and really struggled to explain and understand. It is partially driven by emotions and it is something irrational and I felt the best way to express it is through a metaphor. Then when Julia approached me with this book I felt that we should bring awareness of this disorder in some rational and motivated us to film about the eating disorder through a metaphor.
What motivated you to represent eating disorder or Anorexia by a hole the protagonist spends her time digging in secret?
When this eating disorder starts, it takes time to develop. It starts as a hole in your body and your find comfort in it and feel safe but as you go deeper and deeper you feel isolated. This hole symbolizes a representation of the protagonist’s eating disorder. The protagonist who is shown to dig a hole in secret is again an illusion representing that the protagonist’s addiction to eating disorder is increasing. The protagonist does not have control over this. Something about the hole is scary as well. It is like a trap into which you fall and you go deeper and deeper without realizing. You feel comforted and safe for not having to face the negativity of the world and its unacceptance. But the hole is also scary since it isolates you from the whole world, cuts you off from help from the outside help. It is something which I had experienced.
The protagonist is forced by one of her friends to dig deeper and deeper until it leads to her downfall represented by the rejection of her application for further studies. Why is the protagonist shown to be pressurised by her friend? What does this act signify?
Well, it is not a friend. It is metaphorical representation of an eating disorder; kind of illusion terrifying and as well as comforting. It is comforting because the protagonist had been driven by her mental disorder of eating and feels safe in her company. It is a way of coping with the difficulties as well as coping with the world who has rejected her. The act when the protagonist is pushed into a deep dig represents her own mental disorder and her impulsive eating disorder over which she loses control. Unable to recover from her addiction she tries to find safety and comfort in a hole. It is a form of escaping from the disapproval of the world. Mere advice to recover from addiction sometimes does not work.
Image: Credit of TIFF
In this film, you have tried to explain the complicated logic of an eating disorder and its connection to mental health. What made you portray an eating disorder in this specific way? What message is conveyed by this?
It is something what I felt, what I myself had experienced. It is something very honest but difficult to explain. It is also an emotional thing because people suffering for this eating disorder find it difficult to express it to the world for fear of being rejected. They are also unaware that have a mental disorder. I have used the image of a hole as a metaphoric explanation of the eating disorder. It also rationalizes the protagonist’s illusion of a friend, which, in fact is the mental disorder, in which one finds safety. The message conveyed by this is that when you start the recovery process, you fear to lose the visual representation of a friend and start feeling unsafe. People suffering from anorexia are afraid to speak about their illness. Many times they are not aware of their mental illness. These people should be encouraged to speak about their illness, be honest about it and let the person know that there is nothing wrong about it. The recovery is a very slow process and requires lot of understanding from the world.
The protagonist pushed by her so-called friend to the bottom of the dig and says that she was trying to help her. What was the motive of her illusory friend in pushing her down? What does it symbolize?
There is a voice in the protagonist’s head which starts ruling her other reasonings. It is a paradox, it is my own experience. It is not in her control. She feels if she is outside the hole, she would not fit anywhere. But in the hole, she feels safe. The flip side of that is that we had lots of friends who said that they are afraid of admitting that they have eating disorders.
Once the protagonist is deep into the hole and is truly by herself, there is a moment when she realizes that she has to make a choice and to decide what she has to do. It represents the thought of recovery. The protagonist feels that she needs to come out of the hole. It is the very first stage of the beginning of recovery. This process of recovery is very slow. It is the moment of awakening and you realize that she cannot find safety in the hole. It also means that it is very safe to discuss and acknowledge the symptoms and try to come out of it.
In the film, the protagonist is shown to climb and reach the top. But in reality, the process of climbing and falling down occurs several times until she reaches the top. The process of climbing had taken longer than shown in the film of 2-hour duration. The attempt at climbing is the first step, not the end. The film is about hope, not about the structure.
Moothon (The Elder One), a bilingual crime thriller in Malayalam and Hindi, was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Asha Bajaj, IBNS Canada correspondent and, Editor, Canadian-Media speaks to director Geetu Mohandas about the film starring Malayalam actor Nivin Pauly and capturing the search for a lost elder brother (played by Nivin) that takes a teenaged Mulla from the idyllic islands of Lakshadweep to the ugly underbelly of Mumbai.
Image Credit/Facebook of Geetu Mohandas
The quest of the younger brother is also metaphorical in the film which the director says portrays a "sense of identity and the crises within”. Excerpts:
Geethu, what inspired the script of this multi-layered film?
I don’t exactly remember how the idea germinated. But I remember that I wanted to experiment something along the lines of search. And that was when the idea struck about a little kid in search of the older brother. I decided to place the child in Lakshadweep island, a remote and secluded island and cut off from the rest of civilization. I thought it interesting to start the story there and see how the child from this island lands up in the downtrodden place of Kamathipura without knowing the language of that place. And as the story developed, new elements, like settings of the place, Lakshadweep and Kamathipura, and from that space emerged lots of characters of the film. The whole writing process was organic. And in 2016 I was given global filmmaking award for Moothon and I was part of the Sundance Lab because they mentored me and allowed me to write not as a director, not as a producer, but in whatever way my imagination takes me. So the whole story came unfolding in a very organic way.
Tell me briefly about the different layers of the movie as well as about different types of searches in this film like Mulla's search for Akbar.
The under current of the narrative is socio-political. It especially becomes evident when you place the characters in real space amongst real people in places like Lakshadweep and Kamathipura. Invariably the politics of these places become the constant undercurrent of the narrative. That is what happened in Moothon as well. It is addressing the different layers upon the placement of the minorities with their dreams, their big goals, denial of dignity to the downtrodden, and also their sexuality.
So apart from the obvious search, which is the kid searching for the older brother, it is also layered in terms of a search for one’s own self, sort of like a metaphor, of one’s own identity and the crisis that one goes through with these searches. There are a lot of layers of metaphors of search as well.
Geethu, tell us about your past experiences about acting in films and your decision to become a director? Why and when did this shift take place? Have you any regrets?
The transition was quite simple. I was a child actor and invariably became an actor when I was an adult. I think the last movie which I did was Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Four Women. I loved working with him as an actor. Then I thought of discontinuing acting. I think everyone usually enters the field of film to become an actor and then becomes something else. For me, the reverse thing happened. I wanted to write my own story and become a filmmaker. And when I became an actor it gave me an opportunity to enter the industry. When the right moment came I felt I should leave acting and start writing my own story. Then I did a short film 'Liar's Dice' and then 'Moothon'. Ever since then I have been a writer. Absolutely no regrets, love it. I will never go back to acting again
Image Credit: Facebook of Geetu Mohandas
Geethu, tell me, in brief, the challenges you faced in the selection of the varied and complex cast of the movie.
Casting for the film was a very interesting process. Nivin is someone who is a very unassuming actor, and I wanted someone who would play the role to the team. I always had confidence in him as an actor and I have watched all his films in which he worked in his same comfort zone with his friends in commercials blockbusters. I felt there was more to him as an actor. When I offered him the role, and he agreed and came on board, it was an exciting process because he completely subjected himself to me and the film. He wanted to completely unlearn whatever he had learnt and to explore new territories. We did some acting workshop with him. After that when he wore the costume in real spaces among real people, I knew that 50% of the job was done. The only thing left was that he had to behave. It was interesting to see all the characters become alive.
I met Shashank (Shashank Arora) in Sundance when I went to see one of his films and knew instinctively he was the right person to play Salim. All the characters who came on board were very instinctive choices.
Image Credit: Facebook of Geetu Mohandas
Where was the film shot? Please highlight the challenges you and the characters faced while shooting the film in the widely contrasted calm village life of the island Lakshadweep and the chaotic life of Kamathipura in Mumbai?
The film was shot both in Lakshadweep and Kamathipura. In Lakshadweep, the only problematic situation we faced was the weather conditions to go into these islands and we had to wait for sometimes before we could go there to resume our shooting. Other than that, the place was beautiful and picturesque, there was a sense of responsibility among people and we had to bring these characteristics into the visual narration as well.
Kamathipura was a place which I loved when I watched Mira Nair’s film Salaam Bombay. I had not seen the place and was excited to see it myself. But we were worried about shooting the film in Kamathipura because we were afraid that people in this place would be hostile. We were pleasantly surprised to see the warm welcome and hospitality that they gave us. We shot in real spaces among real people and we shot with a very small camera and the actors were accompanied by a small crew of 5 – 7 at the most up to 10 so that people around us were not aware that we were shooting a film. We would shoot and come back without disturbing their personal spaces and their livelihood. But afterwards, when they learnt that we were shooting a film, they were very warm and friendly.
My reason for choosing Lakshadweep and Kamathipura was because of the total contrast in their visual representation and in the soundscape. Lakshadweep represented a sense of calmness and serenity whereas Kamathipura was chaotic and was full of hustle and bustle. I wanted that kind of differentiation in the film as well.
#TIFF, #TorontoInternationalFilmFestival, #TheFather
Bulgaria based filmmaker Petar Valchanov and his partner Kristina Grozeva write, produce and direct films ranging from documentaries, and shorts to feature films. IBNS Canada Special Correspondent, and Canadian-Media's Editor Asha Bajaj catches up with Petar Valchanov, director of "The Father", one of the critically acclaimed films premiered at the TIFF 2019.
Image Credit: TIFF
Kristina Grozeva and you are a writer-producer-director couple based in Sofia, Bulgaria and have been working together. Where and when did you meet Kristina and what motivated you to form a partnership to work together? What was the name given to this partnership?
We have known each other and worked together for more than 16 years. We met in the film school in Sofia. Our first meeting outside the film school was at a festival in Egypt. Our passion for film developed while we were in school. During that time, we helped and cooperated with each other. It was not of course, official cooperation. Our desire for cinema was in the developmental stage. Then after graduation, we tried one commercial and then one short film. We had lots of fun and gained good experience. We felt we were good partners, and this inspired and motivated us to form a partnership to work together. The official partnership started with one short film Jump. We created a production company called Abraxas Film.
Name a few films, documentaries and shorts and features which were produced by you both? Give some details of their themes, and the background reflected by these films? Where were they shot?
In 2012, we co-directed the short film ‘Jump’. We also produced several short films and features, including the documentary Parable of Life (2010) and feature films such as 'The Lesson' (2014), 'Glory' (2016) and 'The Father' (2019). The documentary ‘Parable of Life’ is about a painter, who is my father. "The Lesson" depicts the drama about economic stress and the desperation of Bulgarian society. ‘Glory’ is a parable exploring the themes of corruption, class differences in contemporary Bulgarian society. They were shot in Bulgaria in real locations.
Describe the struggle you faced before you got recognition. Who was your idol?
The struggles we faced mostly pertained to getting finances in Bulgaria. For one of our feature films, we got only 15,000 dollars as funds, which was a small amount. After that, we started getting financial help from the United States. Our idols were our teachers, programmers and directors of films of different genres
Coming to the film 'The Father' which is written, directed and produced by Kristina Grozeva and yourself, what motivated you to write the script?
Our real-life experiences concerning relationships and communications between different generations were the main motives for us to produce this film. ‘The Father’ is the most personal and intimate story. The opening scene of the film, in which after Pavel's mother's funeral, one neighbour comes and tells his family that she had a phone call from Pavel’s mother, relates to my real experience. In real life. After the funeral of my mother, one neighbour, who was an intimate friend of my mother's, came to us to tell us that she had a phone call from her mother. I was startled at that time. I began to think that maybe my mother is trying to send us a message, maybe she had something she wanted to tell us. Then after further investigation, we found out that it was due to a faulty phone connection. This event motivated us to write the script for the film ‘The Father.’
(The storyline of the film as mentioned on the IMDb website centres around Vasil, who has just lost his wife Valentina. When a woman at her funeral proclaims that the dead woman called her cell phone, Vasil seeks out the help of a well-known psychic in order to contact his wife. His son Pavel tries to bring him to his senses, but Vasil stubbornly insists on doing things his own way. "The Father" is an intimate family drama about the difficulties of connecting with those close to us. )
Which elements, do you think, were responsible for the film's critical acclaim? Besides supernaturalism, what are the other elements of the story? How did you rationalize the supernatural element in the film: such as hearing noises at night; the breaking of mother’s favourite vase and Father’s reasoning that his wife is trying to tell something.
Besides supernaturalism, other elements that were responsible for the film being acclaimed as North American Premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section, are humour, comedy, grief, guilt and coping with life. We introduced comedy in the film to send a message across the viewers as well as to the world at large that to visualize sorrow through comedy and laughter is crucial in diminishing the effects of sorrow.
Lastly, it was the guilt of the character Vasil, which was responsible for evoking events such as Father hearing noises at night, breaking of mother’s favorite vase, Father's insistence that his wife is trying to tell something, and Valentina’s friend struggling to convince Vasil that Pavel's mother had been calling her again and again. The end, when Vasil confesses that he had killed Valentina, rationalises the supernatural element of the story because it was the guilt of Vasil, who is portrayed as mentally challenged, which had given rise to hearing noises at night and that Valentina was trying to say something to him.
#TheSkyIsPink, #ShonaliBose, #PriyankaChopraJonas, #FarhanAkhtar
Shonali Bose, director and producer of the Priyanka Chopra Jonas-Farhan Akhtar starrer "The Sky is Pink" opens her heart to Asha Bajaj, IBNS Canada Special Correspondent, and Canadian-Media's Editor, in an interview during TIFF 2019, where she talks about her personal loss and the loss faced by the parents of a child who dies from an immune deficiency disease.
Shonali, can you tell me what motivated you to produce this film? Is there a real-life link to the story in the failure of the advancement of medical research and technology to find a cure for diseases such as Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) Aisha suffered from in the movie?
No, it is not a medical journey and it is nothing to do with the medical failure to cure the disease. That is not in what I was interested in. I was basically approached by Aditi and Niren Chaudhary to tell the story of their daughter. I told them that I would tell only their story, I was inspired both by their love story and for being such good parents to their daughter Aisha. They knew their daughter suffered from SCID and that she would not live long. Yet they were able to create such magical moments for her. They understood all the medical terms and did whatever they could to make her life happy. I found them very inspiring as parents. That is the story I wanted to the tell. Through that, if anybody gets the message of medical failure to cure a disease, that is fine. But I did not put that message. I do not put messages like that in my films. There was, of course, no cure for SCID in India at that time. But since then Niren's boss had started a bone marrow transplantation bank.
Image credit: Shonali Bose Facebook
In the movie, Aditi says that the birth of every child serves a purpose. What do you think Aditi meant by saying that every child has a purpose in life?
Aisha was a very evolved soul. She did not have to be on earth longer than 18 years and therefore died. It was because she did not have to be on earth longer than that. Such was the case of my son Nishan who lost his life at the age of 16. His soul was more evolved than Aisha. Because people with more evolved souls leave earth earlier. Ishan knew that his purpose in life was over and he died.
As far as Aisha's purpose in life, I do not think there is a belief that a child should be born with a purpose in life. That is not what Aditi meant. She was trying to say that she did not want to abort the child.
From left to right: Niren, Shonali, Priyanka & Ishan
What do you think Aisha's purpose in life was? Can you elaborate on that?
I think that Aisha's soul had chosen her parents and chose to die at the age of 18. She had served the purpose in life and she had learnt all that she wanted to learn. She did not intend to live longer than that. Same with my son Ishan. He chose me as his mother and knew he would die at the age of 16. I feel gifted that he taught me about loss and pain and coping with death. He chose to have me as his parent and then died. That is really amazing and beautiful.
Same with Aisha. She brought a lot of life and light and courage in her parents' lives. She taught them to be brave and perseverance in life as they had to deal with stress and difficulties in finding cures for Aisha's disease and to make her short life happy. These were the difficult lessons of being aware that Aisha would die soon. Aisha's purpose in life was to teach her parents the meaning of loss, pain and death and the strength to bear these.
There was a scene in the film in which medical blood reports said Ishan was not the legitimate child of Niren. Both Aditi and Niren are shattered. They felt that their lives were falling apart. Although there was a clarification later which proved the reports to be wrong, such reports could shatter the lives of many couples and challenge medical technology. Please comment on this.
This is based on fact. They did receive such a report. Everything is true. I did not make up anything. AIIMS hospital in Delhi had produced a false blood report and when they were in London there was a fight between them with Aditi saying that we deal with this crisis or think of treating Aisha. The fight was not very serious and did not last long. But it was full of humour. The Sunrise Radio Station in London which helped the parents to raise money for the treatment of Aisha was also real. Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) in London which saved Aisha's life was also real. Everything is based on fact.
L to R: Ishan, Priyanka, Aisha & Niren. Image credit: Facebook of Shonali Bose
The film's message of freedom in choices in life is revealed by Aditi's message to her son Ishan when punished by his teacher. Another message of hope and happiness revealed in Aisha's tribute to her parents asking them to let go of the past and enjoy life with hope for the future. Besides these, do you feel any other significance in the meaning of "The Sky is Pink'?
You are right about the two messages that you feel you get from 'The Sky is Pink.' Pink sky also signifies expanse of horizons, endless opportunities, optimism and positivity. To me, there is a third layer to it. It also signifies the presence of my son Ishan in the pink sky.
[Shonali Bose becomes emotional]
Every morning I look at the sky and say, Ishan, where are you? Talk to me. Every morning I talk to him. Today is the ninth death anniversary of my son Ishan and coincidentally 'The Sky is Pink' would be premiered in Toronto today. This morning when I looked at the sky to talk to him the sky was pink in Toronto.
[Bose shows the image of the pink sky on her mobile phone which she took that morning.]
The pink sky was given to me by my son.
#Jewish; #HinduSabhaMandir; #Brampton, #Ontario; #BarryBrown; #PulitzerPrize; #Humanity:TheWorldBeforeReligion,War&Inequality; #Hebrew #Aristotle; #Havilah; #India'sepicBattleofKurukshetra; #Mahabharata; #HareKrishnatemple, #Vancouver, #B.C.; #Toronto; #Mesopotamia, #Europe; #NortheastAfrica; #IndusRiverValley; #AncientIsraelites; #Levites; #DrLaljiSingh; #Swastika; #Hindus; #Nazis, #Germany; #Ukraine; #EasternEurope; #YaenVered; #IsraeliAntiquitiesAuthority; # JohnJMastandrea, #DrAbdulHaiPatel; #MetropolitanUnitedChurch, #Toronto; #DineshBhatia; # DrMayankVahia, #Astrophysicist; #TataInstituteforFundamentalResearch, #Mumbai, #India
Toronto, Mar 21 (IBNS): Canadian-Media's Asha Bajaj interacts with Barry Brown, author of "Humanity: The World Before Religion, War & Inequality"
Barry Brown (centre)
1. Your book, Humanity: The World Before Religion, War & Inequality has gained a lot of praise from historians in India and North America. But before we go into that, please tell us a bit about your background and early childhood.
I grew up in Toronto and was raised Jewish although most of my family was not very religious. My earliest ambition was to be a theoretical physicist but my math skills were weak, so while I kept reading books and articles about Science, my focus began to shift into history and literature. By the time I was in High School, I had decided to become a writer and so I immersed myself in meeting people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, reading about different cultures, histories and the personal struggles of people who faced discrimination and other hardships in their life. At home and School, I was often punished and beaten for nothing more than thinking independently, so I had an immediate empathy with others who faced similar uphill battles. By the end of my time in High School I had started my fledgling career as a writer. I had my first paid poetry reading at a Toronto library and my first play was slated for production. However, the Director who chose my play suddenly moved out of Toronto, so it was never staged.
In my late teens I decided to drop out of High School and leave my family home. I bought a train ticket for Vancouver and rode the rails to the West Coast. When I arrived in Vancouver, I already had a wide range of experiences and personalized education. I'd become a vegetarian, begun to practice yoga, spent time studying the I Ching, the Baha'i philosophy, Japanese poetry and many other subjects. My life in Vancouver seemed not much different from Toronto. I wanted to expand my way of thinking so when I was given the chance to live in an abandoned logger's cabin on top of Mt. Tuam on Saltspring Island (B.C.), I took it. I communed with others and experienced a very rugged life. I cut wood for my cast iron stove and heater, gathered water from a mountain stream and generally lived a life close to that of the early settlers. This experience also had its limits and one day while on a ferry boat traveling back to Vancouver, I met a young man with the Hare Krishna books and began to read it. He told me the group offered free vegetarian meals, so I stopped in at the Vancouver Temple. Not long after I joined the group, I shaved my head and began living the life of a Brahmachari monk. It was the start of a three year experience that helped me gain insights that would later form the foundation of my book, Humanity:The World Before Religion,War&Inequality.
2. Tell us about your Book?
Humanity is the first book to examine history as the two-part story of one human family. The first part investigates how humans created a common civilization of travel, trade and language in the 99.9% of history before the first war. The second part looks at the causes of the war and follows its consequences to the modern world.
The path to the book began when I came across an obscure quote from the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, "The Jewish people are descended from the Brahmin priests and philosophers of Ancient India."
Jewish history begins about 6,000 years ago with the story of the Garden of Eden and the "fall of mankind." The Jewish Bible says Eden was located at the eastern end of a larger land called "Havilah." According to the 20-volume, 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, more than 2,000 years of Jewish and Christian traditions agree that Havilah was India.
From my studies as a Hare Krishna Brahmin, I knew that the Mahabharata and the history of Ancient India ended about 6,000 years ago with the tale of the Kurukshetra War. I began to wonder if the end of one history and the start of the other were related. The more I pursued this line of investigation, the more connections I found that made it clear that Aristotle was correct. The ancient Hebrew people of the Jewish Bible were related to the families that fought in the war and migrated to Mesopotamia from the Indus River Valley Civilization at the time of its collapse from climate change c 2000 BC. That climate change and migration event was the source of the Bible's tale of Noah. At first, my investigation was focused only on the religious aspects of this connected history. But as I got deeper into it, it became a broader story about humanity itself and how civilization evolved and changed over time. The story of humanity is, of course, vast and almost never-ending, so my book looks at the beginnings of things - why Homo Sapiens survived and Neanderthals died out, how symbolic communication (paintings and writing) began and spread, the first School of 10,000 BC, the creation of currency, burial grounds, social governments, social, gender and religious divisions and so on.
3. You write that the war at the end of the Mahabharata is the same story that
begins the Jewish Bible. How did you discover that the two histories are
After noting the time frame similarities between the two events, I began to wonder if the idea of the "fall of mankind" and Kurukshetra was connected as a momentous event in human history. Was Kurukshetra the world's first organized, large-scale war? I found an article in Scientific American magazine that claimed there is no archaeological or fossil evidence of human war earlier than about 6,000 years ago. Many tales from ancient societies including Greece and Rome also asserted there was a time in history before war. In my own investigation, I learned that there are no war weapons among the three million years of Stone Age tools, no images of human on human violence in the cave paintings of 40,000-10,000 years ago and no defensive walls around towns or villages until about 6,000 years ago. Those findings and more kept alive the likelihood that India's war story was based on a true event even if some details were exaggerated.
4. Can you elaborate on the genetic connection between India and the Hebrews?
Further investigation of the India-Hebrew connection showed a genetic family relationship. Among Jews there is a tribe of people called Levites who are descended from the family of Moses and Aaron (c 1300 BC) and they are considered to be born priests in the same way as born Brahmins. It turns out that there are strong chromosomal family links between some of the Levites and various Brahmin families including the Yadavas and the Brahmins of West Bengal.
5. Many people think the tale of the Kurukshetra War is a fable like the Bible's story of Eden. How certain are you that both these stories are based on real events?
There is currently no way of knowing for absolute certainty that these tales were inspired by real events. However, the balance of probabilities weighs heavily in their favor when they are examined as fragmented memories of the world's first war and the end of "generation Eden."
I have explained how they relate to this event on their own, but the second set of compelling evidence is found in the Indus River Valley civilization that follows the war period. The Indus River Valley confounds historians because it has no palaces, no religious temples, no organized writing system and no warriors or history of war when the civilizations of its mighty neighbours - the empire of Sargon the Great in Mesopotamia and the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt - are full of temples, class divisions, elite priests, war machinery and so forth. Why is the Indus so spectacularly different when it is obviously quite advanced in terms of city planning, Math and measurements, civic organization, extensive travel and trade etc.? They obviously had a strong philosophy that guided them during their roughly 1,000-year lifetime (c 3000-2000 BC), but what was it? The utter absence of religious temples and warriors made me look at other civilizations that followed this path and they all developed after a devastation of their previous society. After the horrors of WWI, many nations began destroying war weapons in the hope that would end the possibility of war. During the French and English Revolutions, Catholic Churches were closed and destroyed because they had abused their official powers and exploited large numbers of people. So it seemed likely the Indus rejected all the symbols of the earlier Vedic period for the same reason - the social decay and destruction of the Great War caused by the caste system.
I further reasoned this founding philosophy was likely inspired by Krishna's advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita when he tells his friend to "abandon" all his attachments to the existing social divisions. There is even a relic from the Indus called the Warrior Seal which I believe is essentially a mural depicting the Kurukshetra War story and may have been used to explain that history to newcomers to the Indus.
6. If the Jewish Bible starts in India what other parts of Jewish history come from India?
Stripped of its religious themes, the Noah story (c 2000 BC) is a tale about climate change and three waves of migration into Europe, Mesopotamia and Northeast Africa from Noah's unnamed homeland. My research shows Noah came from the Indus River Valley around 2000 BC. At that time extreme climate change events - floods, cold weather, droughts etc. - are recorded in China, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia which caused early civilizations in all those areas to collapse. The Indus was the worst hit. Many years of floods were followed by decades of drought and finally its residents abandoned it. Some returned to other parts of India but there is also evidence showing large waves of migration from that region into Europe, Mesopotamia and Northwest Africa at this time.
The word "Hebrew" means "homeless wanderers from the East" and was the name the local people of Mesopotamia gave to the Indo-Semitic migrants from the Indus who arrived there when their homeland was destroyed.
7. I was surprised to learn the Jewish Star of David and other parts of Jewish
culture begin in India. Please explain this.
There is nothing in the Jewish Bible that explains the origin of the Star of David. Moreover, this image has not always been the most prominent symbol of the Jewish people. In my book there is an illustration from the early 1800s. It shows the French Emperor Napoleon liberating the Jews from oppressive laws that banned them from many areas of French life. In this drawing, the Jewish men are depicted with long hair and beards and the Jewish woman is presented with the stone tablets of Moses' 10 commandments and a menorah (an 8-branches candelabra used for the Hanukkah ceremony). There is no Star of David anywhere in the picture.
I knew the image of interlocking triangles had a long history as an Indian symbol for the energy of the heart (heart chakra). So I did some research. In the Bible, the character of David becomes a beloved ruler in the kingdom of Ancient Israel. His son, Solomon, builds a spectacular temple dedicated to his father. According to the Bible, Solomon decorates this temple with vast amounts of gold he gets from a faraway place called Ophir. The German historian Max Muller had identified Ophir as a town on the west coast of India. At this time (c 1000 BC), the Yadavas are the ruling family of this Indian town. My speculation is that Yadava traders and artisans brought the gold to Solomon and fashioned a glorious heart chakra in a central place. To gain fame, the star shape must have been distinctive and unusual and so it became known as the "Star of David's Temple."
8. Most historians are baffled by the Indus Valley Civilization. They left no written records and there is very little known about what happened during its 1,000 year history. You say it was the world's first planned democracy and that it was inspired by the teachings of Krishna. Why?
The key to understanding the Indus is what is not there - all aspects of society associated with social divisions and a war culture. The absence of horses is another clue. They were abandoned because its leadership saw them as symbols of warriors and elitist wealth. The lack of palaces and equal sized housing found in all its towns and villages indicates a culture without social divisions found in other civilizations. There is also a pottery fragment that may indicate they used a style of democratic voting 2500-1500 years before its evolution in Ancient Greece (c 500 BC). This fragment shows a stick figure holding a bow and arrow in hands of his outstretched arms that face in opposite directions. Nearby is a hashtag which is a 40,000 year-old symbol for human lands. In ancient Democracies, votes were sometimes decided by placing dark and light stones into a jar. The stick figure image may have come from the period of the Indus collapse when people were forced to decide whether to "pray and stay" on the land or "pray and leave" it and so cast stone ballots into a pottery jar.
9. The Bible is a sacred book to both the Jewish and Christian communities. How have they responded to your research? This is all fascinating. Tell me, what inspired you to begin this research?
People of all faiths and even atheists have responded to my book with great enthusiasm and interest. My first comment came from Dr. Abdul Hai Patel of Ontario Multifaith Council who wrote, "Congratulations on this masterpiece of research."
Yaen Vered, Canadian Representative of the Israeli Antiquities Authority said, "I don't know if you are right or not but you will change history if you are."
Rev. John J. Mastandrea of the Metropolitan United Church (Toronto) told me, "Barry, you've discovered the Rosetta Stone for understanding early Bible history."
Because they don't understand why people follow religions, atheists typically have more interest in religion than other people and because my book explains religious evolution in a historic context they are fascinated.
10. What lessons do you think all this history has for the modern world?
Much of modern commentary in history, science, politics and entertainment repeats the notion that humans have always been at war, that we are naturally disposed to fear strangers and differences and that we have constantly battled over land and resources. This is utterly false and not supported by any evidence. War and social fears are taught and must be constantly reinforced or they will disappear. Of the 9 million species of life on Earth, only three engage in war - some ants, some chimpanzees and some Humans. And of those three, Humans are the least war-like.
Human language is a great example. There are four base language groups that account for more than 95% of all spoken languages. The only way a common language can take root and spread is if the cultural soil is one of honesty and friendship. If someone's words are not considered honest and reliable, they will not be shared and language will evolve in isolated groups separated by suspicion. But there is evidence of regular long-distance trade in Southern Africa from almost 500,000 years ago, long before modern humans. This suggests human ancestors already had a common culture of travel, friendly trade and shared language.
11. What is your contribution to community?
Someone once said, "If you get people asking the wrong questions, it doesn't matter what answers you give them." I love asking questions and I hope that if my book gets people asking their own new questions, then I've done my job.
(Questions compiled by Renu Mehta of ImageBuilderz)
#MaryAnn(Domitrovic)Yule, #HPCanada; #Canada; #diversitystrategy
Toronto, Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): Mary Ann Yule, President & CEO of HP Canada, had given some important messages to the global community specially to the new immigrants and the second generations of Canadians during a recent launch event of a TV series in Mississauga, Ontario. In a chat with Canada’s Asha Bajaj, Mary Ann Yule said her message to the global community was to teach new immigrants and children from different diverse communities to adapt to Canada’s one of the most diverse cultures.
The one hour episode of the most distinguished and talented leaders who were present, will be broadcast at Primetime on Sundays at 6 PM with repeat broadcast on Primetime Saturdays at 6 PM on ATN-SONY beginning November 2018.
Mary Ann Yule
Excerpts of the interview session is a follows:
Q1. What are the leadership traits that you would like to pass along to others?
Courage. Courage is a skill that many successful leaders share and one I would encourage aspiring leaders to hone. Having the courage to not only believe in yourself and your own success, but as you gain influence, courage can help a leader use their platform to make real change around key issues like diversity and inclusion. Find your passion and have the courage to make an impact with it.
Q2. How does Stories of Success relate to the diversity of Canada?
Stories of Success reflects the great diversity of Canadian people and is a platform to showcase underrepresented voices that serve as inspiration for the next generation of leaders. HP Canada is proud to be a presenting sponsor for the show, Stories of Success, which features the personal and professional journeys of those who have made Canada their home but still carry the torch of other cultures from around the world.
Embracing diversity and inclusion is a business imperative for HP. We operate on the principle that diversity creates meaningful innovation and improves our company, our products and services. From HP’s earliest days, the company recognized that the more points of view it can draw on, the better its products and company as a whole will be. A great example of this in action is our Board of Directors. HP has the most diverse Board of Directors of any technology company in the US (50% total minorities, 40% women, 30% underrepresented minorities). In Canada, we are proud to share that more than 60% of the senior leadership team is female.
Q3. What is your message for the younger generation of new immigrants?
My advice is to embrace the unique perspective your heritage affords you and work hard to be successful in whatever you set out to do. When it’s your time to shine don’t forget to pay it forward.
Q4. Besides your parents can you tell us about some other leaders who have inspired you in the past?
In the early days of my career, I took a lot of inspiration from my first mentor, Henry. For women in business, the notion exists that we must be mentored by other women, yet, my experience has proven that anyone can be a role model. Henry shared a wealth of knowledge with me that has helped to shape the leader I am today.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)