Friday, October 9, 2009

Kurseong Morning

At the Kurseong Tourist Lodge

Thursday, October 8, 2009


My favourite Kurseong photograph

Assam October


On Sunday, October 4, 12 people were killed by the anti-talks faction of the National Democractic Front of Bodoland. This group was primarily responsible for the October 30 serial blasts in Assam in 2008 that killed 90. But the intentions of the Centre or the State government in containing the NDFB remain unclear. As government officials/ministers keep rushing from one TV studio to another and talking about Mumbai Blasts or so-called Naxalite violence, these deaths it seems go unnoticed. It's almost as if life in this corner of India is expendable.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Fifty years ago, the 14th Dalai Lama made his escape into India through Tawang. He stayed in this monastery, the 328 year old Galden Namgey Lhatse Monastery, Tibetan Buddhism's biggest monastery after the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Fifty years later much has changed. We now have the 1962 war and a defeat--deep imprint of which still remains in the minds of Indians and residents of Tawang. Fifty years later, we also have the Tawang Lhasa highway. A highway that I thought looked better with all the distance maths on this beautiful yellow board. I visited Tawang to find out if indeed people were waiting for the Dalai Lama's much talked about November visit. Last year he had cancelled his visit reportedly after he was denied permission to travel by the Ministry of External Affairs. This year the story so far seems to be different. Tawang remains the shortest route from Tibet into India. When we went, it was early morning, very few people and the monastery was just waking up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sela Pass

Sela Pass is the second higest motorable road in the world. It's named after Sela, who apparently was the girlfriend of an Indian army soldier Jaswant Singh. In the 1962 war Jaswant was killed at this place. Story goes, Sela used to bring him supplies and help him. She killed herself after Jaswant's death.

Another version( from the web): The hill in the background is called Sela Top in memory of Sela who (during the 1962 War) took Chinese soldiers to its top on the pretext of showing Jaswant Singh ( Indian Army Jawan); and from there she pushed the Chinese soldiers down killing all of them; she also committed suicide before being shot by others. Jaswant was the soldier who stood his fort alone against the Chinese. Finally he was caught but he shot himself before the Chinese soldiers could take him. Jaswant Ghat is the place in his memory.

Arunachal II

Second Arunachal visit. This time, I was travelling to Tawang district and then to Bum La on the Chinese side of the border. This photograph was taken at the Dirang area.


Shobabajar Durga Idol in North Calcutta. My first visit to this place. Managed to start early morning and do a bit of Puja pandal hopping. ( was there in Calcutta for 3 days) . Shobabajar has an interesting history. In 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, the British decided to build Fort William in the heart of Gobindapur. The people who stayed here were compensated and provided with land in Taltala, Kumartuli and Shobabajar. Nabakrishna Deb built his Rajbari at Shobabajar. After the death of Siraj ud-Daulah, Nabakrishna Deb, Mir Jafar, Amir Beg and Ramchand Roy earned eight crore rupees from the secret treasury. These were people who colluded with the British. That's how the people of Shobabajar Rajbari made their fortune. This place witnessed more. After his return from the Parliament of World's religions at Chicago, Swami Vivekananda was given a civic reception at the Shobabajar Rajbari. Also the famous widow remarriage debate between the upper class orthodox Hindus and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar took place in Shobabajar ( wikipedia has a good entry under Shobabazar)