Roop and Baz

At first love seemed easy but after hard. [X]

For a couple whose legendary relationship was built on a love of poetry and music, Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati appear an awful lot in hunting scenes in miniature paintings. Their poems are celebrated + there are enough subsequent songs on the romance, unfortunately hard to track down good translations. A few snippets here.

There seems to be a single English translation dating to 1926 of the original Persian language romance of 1599 on Baz Bahadur and Roopmati authored by Ahmad-ul-Umri.

Pic source: X, X and X.

PostScript: Baz Bahadur was defeated by Rani Durgavati, the Gond Queen, around 1556. That decisive defeat left him averse to war. In 1561 however Baz Bahadur was forced to defend Malwa, lost to Akbar and fled.  Roopmati poisoned herself rather than surrender. The Mughals then turned to Gond.  Despite resistance the Gond army eventually lost, largely due to the lack of artillery. Rani Durgavati died in 1564 on the battlefield by her own hands resulting in the Gonds of Garha Mandla becoming a vassal state of the Mughals.

Adham Khan aka Baz Bahadur’s nemesis was more than taken up with the famed musicians and dancers of Baz Bahadur’s court retaining more than a few of them for his own pleasure and sending on only captured elephants to Delhi. Eventually Adham Khan was killed in 1562 by royal order. Those dancing girls? Akbar did get them, you can see them in the Akbarnama. And Baz Bahadur? He too ended up – probably as a musician – in Akbar’s court.

Recreating Vintage/Historical Art

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Like him or hate him, Raja Ravi Varma remains influential more than a 100 years after his death. Recreating his work seems to be a bit of a thing ranging from the recent Rang Rasiya to Makaramanju to Pushpamala’s photo performances.

Ananthabhadram recreates several paintings (Hamsa Damayanthi, Lady in her dressing room and a few other paintings of Malabar women, The Milkmaid, Maharani Chimnabai, Lady Holding a Fruit and Contemplation) in the song Pinakkamano.

Pictured here: Kavya Madhavan in Ananthabhadram and Ravi Varma’s In Contemplation (Reproduction) and Hamsa Damayanthi.

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Recreating Hemen Majumdar‘s Study of Miss Shelly Gupta (1939) for a new documentary on the painter.  See also X.

Though I guess every Hindi movie with clingy wet saris is a homage to Hemen:)

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Recreating Nainsukh’s Mian Mukund Dev in Amit Dutta’s documentary on Nainsukh. The lady in red is identified as the singer Amal.

Via cineaesthetica.

Africans in India

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Given proximity, its not very surprising that there has been an African presence in India from very early on.  Pakistan for e.g. has a large number of people of African origin, as does Gujarat (the Siddis).

As early as in the 13th century, Africans in India had a political presence. Apart from ruling small principalities in Janjira and Sachin, it was in medieval Deccan that they had a powerful role as military commanders and prime ministers , e.g. Malik Ambar in Ahmednagar and Ikhlas Khan in Bijapur (both from Ethiopia).  Ikhlas Khan in particular, linked as he was to the Adil Shahis, was much painted. See also [X] [X] and [X].  Pic 3 is of a lyre player, an instrument not commonly played in India but apparently common in East Africa.

The dress is similar to portraits of the time of male rulers, the jama (long tunic), shawl (worn Deccani manner), a sash/belt and tight trousers/chudidar.

There also appears to be a book on Africans in the Deccan. And also in [X].

Portraits of contemporary Indian Africans, especially the Siddis. Very few have any remaining roots in Africa and attire is very much in keeping with present Indian dress.  A link that discusses amongst other things their musical traditions which have an African influence.

[X], [X], [X], [X]