Workshop on Yoga Philosophy

I have written on this blog, in the past, on various workshops on Indian philosophy subjects and related topics based on Sanskrit source books which contain Indic knowledge, conducted by Prof V N Jha. You may refer them here. Prof V N Jha, after his retirement from Center for Advanced Sanskrit Studies(CASS), has been on a mission of making India and world aware of Indic knowledge tradition. I had attended his session on Indian Logic at a beautiful location at Chinamya International Foundation(CIF), Veliyanad in Kerala back in 2009 and found it so useful in the content and style in which it is delivered.

In the past he has conducted following workshops for general public:

Sankhya, level#1, at Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Brihanmath, Bengaluru in June 2017, Purva Mimamsa, level#3, at Arunodaya Institute of Culture at Shrirampur in Feb 2017. Purva Mimamsa, level#2, Chimanya Vibhuti, Kolvan, Pune, in 2016, Purva Mimamsa, level#1 at Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute, in Lonavala, June 2016, Bhakti Rasayana of Madhusudan Saraswati, at Mira Ghar, Lonvala, Feb 2016, Shandilya Bhakti Sutra, at Mira Ghar, Lonvala, Oct 2015, Narada Bhakti Sutra, at Pune, July 2015, Sanskrit level#1 through level#4 at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala, Indian Logic level#1 through level#3 at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala, Foundations of Indian Logic at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala in June 2009

I am glad to let you know that he is conducting a week long workshop on Yoga Philosophy this year. It will be a first part of series of three workshops. As you all know when people know that you are from India, next thing they talk of is yoga. Yoga has has become so popular ever since India started celebrating International Yoga Day. But, it may be noted that yoga had established itself long long ago with efforts of many such as Swami Vivekananda, B K S Iyengar,  Paramhansa Yogananda etc. This workshop is not about practice of yoga postures, in the form of physical exercises which is what one thinks of when one talks of yoga. The workshop is about spiritual aspects, philosophical aspects as they are outlined in the original texts and commentaries. The workshop also examines its relation with other streams of Indian philosophies such as Sankhya. In this first level, the first pada(titled Samadhi) of four padas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra will be read along with commentary on it by Sage Vyasa. The yoga philosophy was first described in the Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms offered more than 2000 years ago by the Indian sage Patanjali. Other 3 padas will be covered in subsequent workshops as part of the series. Second level will focus on understanding the eight instruments (sadhana) elaborated by Pantanjali to materialize the desired psychological transformation in life as elaborated in second pada. And third level will cover, goal of life according to Yoga, and will go through the pada 3 and 4.

Prof Jha says in a write up created for this workshop, “Philosophy of Yoga(Yoga Darshan) is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy. It is a discipline to undertake inquiry into one’s inner world. It aims at disciplining man in order to bring about inner transformation. Man is in a conditioned state and hence suffering. Yoga philosophy prepares a man both physically and psychologically to take up the journey towards his or her de-conditioned state from his or her conditioned state. Hence, Yoga philosophy is a deep psychology. It shows the path to be at Peace which is the real State of a person. It disciplines mind to be introvert. It teaches to discover one’s own Form. That is why all other systems of Indian philosophy ultimately take the help of Yoga Philosophy to realize the ultimate goal of life even though the nature of that goal may differ from system to system. Practice of Yoga generates extra-ordinary capacity in man, claims Patanjali. Many types of miracles can be performed. But Patanjali as a philosopher cautions the practitioners by telling that it is very likely that the practitioners may get attracted towards the performance of those miracles which will prove to be detractors towards the real goals of life. Thus, one should try to avoid going for performing miracles. Ultimately, the practitioners should try to discover their real Form and finally be in that. That alone will bring them the sense of fulfillment. That is the ultimate goal of human life according to Patanjali”

Level-1 is organized during Dec 17-23 this year and venue at Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research at Pondicherry. In this level the first chapter called Samadhi-pada) of the Yogasutras of Patanjali will be read. While explaining the sutras the commentary of Vyasa will be consulted. This level will be the foundation for the next two levels. The focus will be to introduce basic terms and concepts of the Yoga system. Prominently the philosophical aspect the Yoga will be discussed. Attempts will be made to understand the meaning and implication of the each sutra of the in the light of the commentary of Vysa. It will cover aspects of metaphysics, epistemology and the goal of life as per the philosophy of Yoga. The aim of this level is to provide an overall picture of Patanjali’s Yoga as a system of Indian philosophy to bring about transformation in life. The workshop’s brochure can be referred (Yoga-darshana final) for more details.

This will be also first workshop conducted under the auspices of Rishi-Rina(ऋषि-ऋण), a trust which was formed by Prof V N Jha and Mrs Ujwala Jha, recently.  The trust has the same goal, that of spreading Indic knowledge by arranging various workshops and activities. Expect to see many many more programs under Rishi-Rina(ऋषि-ऋण) going forward. The creation of website of the trust is also underway.

As mentioned earlier, first level is being held in Pondicherry. This is beautiful place I visited long time back, at Pondicherry University. I had taken nice East Coast Road from Chennai to reach there. It was Pongal time, and festivity was in the air. Pondicherry was once a French colony, hence influence of French architecture and culture can be still seen. One can  also visit famous Auroville, which is nearby as well during the trip.


King Thibaw

I had visited Ratnagiri some time back during one of the Konkan trips. I had read and heard about a palace of the exiled king Thibaw(थिबा) of Burma who was under the custody of British rulers, in the palace in Ratnagiri. But unfortunately, I was not able to visit the palace and the museum as it was closed for some reason. The other day, I bumped on the small Marathi book, actually, a novella(128 pages, published in 2011) chalking out history of this king especially during his exile period. The author is Madhu Mangesh Karnik(मधू मंगेश कर्णिक), who hails from Konkan region itself and has written many Marathi books including classic Mahimchi Khadi(माहीमची खाडी).

The preface talks on how he went about writing this book and some sources he used. The author has been visiting the palace since his childhood and at a later stage in 1973 it occurred him that he should write a historical novel on the life of this king and started preparing for it. He got hold of old research paper written by W H Desai of Rangoon University titled Disposed King Thibaw of Burma in India. One important item which author also figured out is that, as the kings was being brought to Ratnagiri, he was made to halt at placed called Waghotan near port of Vijaydurg for a month or so. The reason was that the palace at Ratnagiri was not ready yet. That palace at Waghotan is till intact, it seems.

British wanted to control the opium production in Burma as the its trade was funding its empire. This was the main reason for their policy of accessioning the kingdoms to get full control. The king was in exile away from the kingdom till his death for almost 31 years. He, of course, happened to be the last king of Burma. After his exile the British annexed the kingdom to its empire. This biography starts with British taking seizure of king, soon after he became the king. It also talks of dramatic events that took place around the time when he was about to assume as a king. The whole story of ruthless rivalry and greed for the power, reminded me of recent movie Bahubali. In fact, I would not be surprised if someone makes a film on life of the king and exile.


King Thibaw

The king and his family stayed in Ratnagiri palace till his death in 1916. All the family members which were still alive, returned to Burma, except Tu-tu who was king’s grand-daughter. She married to local man and she became popular among the citizens of Ratnagiri because of her social work. Anyways, why bother about such a king who neither was a noble king or brave enough to fight? The reason is obviously the drama associated with his life and also to understand British strategy of ruling either by hook or crook. It is also interesting to note that the king was pious student of Buddhist religion and Pali language, and was not entirely keen on becoming the king in the first place.

Anyways, the book is historical novella as I said, instead of documentation of the history itself and is focused on specific period in Ratnagiri. One thing did not become clear as to why British chose to have the king stay in Ratnagiri itself. Anyways, before reaching Ratnagiri, the king had halt at then Madras, and village of Waghotan near Vijaydurg as mentioned above. This novella successfully captures the lavish living style of the king and his kins, his helplessness, relation of British officer who were deployed for him, behavior of local people of various strata in the society that time

As I have mentioned few times on this blog that I have studied Indology. In that we had a course on Greater India which is about tracing history of mainland India’s influence on neighboring areas. Bramhadesh(or Burma or Myanmar) as the named suggests had Hindu influence which later became Buddhist state. It is interesting to note how this king was imprisoned in India while Indian leader like Lokmanya Tilak was  jailed in Mandalay, a city of Burma, by same the British Empire, and last of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II was imprisoned in Rangoon again in Burma!

I looked for other books on this topic out of curiosity. I bumped on one by Sudha Shah, which is titled King in Exile, published in 2012. This is quite bigger book and seems well-researched, compared to one by Mr Karnik which I am talking of here(I have already ordered that book).  There seems to be a Marathi version also available. As per the blog on Amitav Ghosh’ site, Sudha Shah got inspired to write this history, from his book The Glass Palace. This is interesting. As Amitav Ghosh’ books/novels are the ones which cover the very Greater India aspect, specifically eastern part,  which I have mentioned earlier. The Ibis trilogy novels of his traces opium trade and its impact. I have been always interested in getting my hands on his book because of this connection and have been planning to order them for a while now. May be this biography of  King Thibaw is a trigger I was waiting for! Anyways, for those interested in this history visually, I am sharing the YouTube video link of a documentary I got hold of.

Ninasam Culture Course-Part#2

गेल्या ऑक्टोबर(म्हणजे २०१६) मध्ये कर्नाटकातील सागर जिल्ह्यातील हेग्गोडू येथे निनासम नावाच्या प्रसिद्ध संस्थेत मी संस्कृती शिबिरात भाग घ्यायला गेलो होतो. त्याबद्दल मी पूर्वी एक भाग ह्या ब्लॉगवर लिहिला आहे. आज दुसरा भाग सादर करत आहे. निनासम संस्कृती शिबीराचा(Ninasam Culture Course) भाग म्हणून दररोज(म्हणजे पाचही दिवशी) संध्याकाळी एक नाटक असे. एके दिवशी नाटकाबरोबर भक्ति संगीताचा कार्यक्रम देखील होता. हे सर्व कार्यक्रम शिवराम कारंथ नाट्यगृहात होत असत. शिवाय ते आम्हा शिबिरार्थींना, तसेच इतर नागरिकांना देखील खुले होते. ह्याशिवाय, मुख्य शिबिराचा भाग म्हणून दोन नाटकांचे प्रयोग देखील होते. हे प्रयोग मुख्य सभागृहात(जे खरे पहिले तर Intimate Theater आहे) झाले. ही सर्व नाटकं कन्नड भाषेत होती. ह्या ब्लॉग मध्ये त्या नाटकांबद्दल लिहायचे आहे

ऑक्टोबर ८ च्या संध्याकाळी कालंदुगेय कथे(ಕಾಲಂದುಗೆಯ ಕಥೆ, अर्थ पैंजणीची कथा) या नावाचे शिलाप्पदिकारम (Silappadikaramतमिळ भाषेतील प्राचीन महाकाव्यावर आधारित निनासमच्या नाट्य-मंडळीचे (Ninasam Tirugata) नाटक होते. एका स्त्रीच्या पायातील पैंजण हा नाटकाचा विषय, म्हणजेच नायक(कोवल) आणि नायिका(कण्णगी) यांच्यामधील प्रेमात या पैंजणाची भूमिका म्हणजे हे नाटक. प्रसिद्ध कन्नड कवी आणि नाटककार एच. एस. शिवप्रकाश यांनी हे नाटक रचले आहे. वेगवेगळया गाण्यांनी, कर्नाटकातील हरिदास यांची पदे यांनी युक्त असे हे तीन एक तासांचे संगीत नाटक आहे. 

ऑक्टोबर ९ च्या संध्याकाळी अत्त दरी इत्त पुली(ಅತ್ತ ದರಿ ಇತ್ತ ಪುಲಿ, इकडे आड तिकडे विहीर या अर्थाने) हे हेसनाम तोम्बा यांनी दिग्दर्शित केलेले नाटक होते. हेसनाम तोम्बा(Heisnam Tomba) हे प्रसिद्ध मणिपूर नाट्यकर्मी हेसनाम कन्हयालाल(Heisnam Kanhailal) यांचे चिरंजीव. योगायोग असा की हेसनाम कान्हयालाल यांचे एक-दोन दिवसांपूर्वीच(ऑक्टोबर ६) निधन झाले होते. हे नाटक म्हणजे मणिपूर(किंवा एकूणच ईशान्य भारतात) मध्ये भारतीय सेनेद्वारे केल्या गेलेल्या तथाकथित अत्याचारावर भाष्य करते. भारतीय सैन्याला त्या भागात विशेषाधिकार(AFSPA) दिले गेले आहेत, त्याचा गैरवापर होत आहे आहे अश्या बातम्या येत असतात. पण सामान्य जनतेला काय भोगावे लागते आहे, हे नाटकातून अतिशय प्रभावीपणे दाखवले आहे.


ऑक्टोबर १० च्या संध्याकाळी मालती माधव हे अतिशय हलके फुलके संगीत नाटक होते. भवभूतीच्या याच नावाच्या संस्कृत नाटकाचे कन्नड रुपांतर म्हणजे हे नाटक. याचे वैशिष्ट्य म्हणजे असे की हेग्गोडू गावातील अनेकजण यात भूमिका करत होते. नाटक संपल्यानंतर त्यांच्याशी बोलताना त्यांच्या चेहऱ्यावरील आनंद, या आणि आसपासच्या गावातील निनासमच्या नाट्यचळवळ बद्दल बरेच काही सांगून गेले.

ऑक्टोबर ११ च्या संध्याकाळी सुरुवातीला बिन्दुमालिनी या दक्षिण भारतातील गायिकेची भक्ति संगीत मैफिल झाली. त्यांचे कबीर, आणि सुफी संगीत आणि इतर भक्ति संगीतात त्यांनी श्रोत्यांना न्हावून टाकले. त्या नंतर अक्षयाम्बर ह्या नाटकाचा प्रयोग, बंगळूरूच्या ड्रामानॉन(Dramanon) या संस्थेद्वारे सादर केला गेला. हा मला अतिशय भावाला. कर्नाटकातील यक्षगान कला-परंपरा, त्यातील कलाकारांची मनस्थिती, आणि आजचा युवक यातील संघर्ष यात सादर केला गेला.

ऑक्टोबर १२ च्या संध्याकाळी शेक्सपियर मनेगे बंदा(ಶೇಕ್ಸಪಿಯರ ಮನೆಗೆ ಬಂದಾ, अर्थ शेक्सपियर येती घरा) ह्या नाटकाचा प्रयोग होता. हे नाटक म्हणजे शेक्सपियर वरील नाटककाराचे असलेले प्रेम/आदर दर्शवायचा एक प्रयत्न. एका दृष्टीने पहिले तर ती एक प्रकारची जिवंत डॉक्युमेंटरीच म्हणावी लागेल. त्याच्या वेगवेगळया नाटकांची चर्चा, त्यातील प्रसंग आणि पात्रे याचे सादरीकरण, असे एकमेकात गुंफून एक संगीतमय कार्यक्रम होता तो. शेक्सपियरचा एकूण प्रभाव आणि त्याच्यावरील प्रेमच म्हणजे हे नाटक. गेल्यावर्षी त्याची ४००वी जयंती साजरी करण्यात आली. त्यावर मी एक ब्लॉग लिहिला होता.

सुरुवातीला म्हटल्याप्रमाणे, या दररोज संध्याकाळच्या नाटकांच्या मेजवानीव्यतिरिक्त मुख्य कार्यक्रमांतर्गत देखील दोन आगळे वेगळे नाट्य-प्रयोग पाहायला मिळाले. त्यातील एक होता मुंबईच्या सुनील शानबाग यांच्या तमाशा थिएटर प्रस्तुत Blank Page हे नाटक. हे नाटक म्हणजे विविध भाषांतील कवितांचे नाट्यीकरण होते. मराठी, काश्मिरी, हिंदी कविता त्यात होत्या. नामदेव ढसाळ यांची एक कविता देखील होती. आणि दुसरे नाटक होते ओदिरी(ಓದಿರಿ) हे बहुचर्चित, आणि वादग्रस्त नाटक जे मुस्लीम धर्मातील काही सुधारणा याविषयी भाष्य करते. आणि वाद जो निर्माण झाला आहे तो मुहम्मद पैगंबर याचे या नाटकात केले गेलेले प्रतीमाकरण यामुळे.

एकुणात निनासम हे नाट्यक्षेत्रात काम करत असल्यामुळे, असा नाटकांचा उत्सव हे प्रमुख वैशिष्ट्य आहे. त्यामुळे मनसोक्त नाटकं पाहण्याचा, त्यांचा आस्वाद घेण्याचा येथे योग आला आणि धमाल आली.

द्रुग्गिणतैक्य: Concordance between Observed and Computed

I was at beautiful campus of Indian Institute of Science(IISc) in Benglauru beginning of February for conference on which reviewed Indic tradition in the areas of science and technology. I have traveled to Bengaluru so many times, but this was my first time at this historic and landmark institution and its sprawling green campus. The title of this blog says it all, in terms of the theme of the conference. Any talk of science and technology in ancient India has earned bad name. And there are reasons for it which related to unrealistic claims.

This conference was different in its approach. It focused on Computational Positivism philosophy which is, in short, establishing concordance between what is observed and what is computed. It explored this theme and approach which seems to be prevalent in Indic tradition, across many fields of science, including astronomy etc. This approach is different than what is found in Greek tradition which is more towards axiomatic approach. Computational positivism employs aspects of computational thinking. And this is where it gets interesting, for me, who has been in field of computers. Computational thinking often involves abstraction, automation, algorithmic approach. This aspect has been argued by Prof Roddam Narasimha who was to be at the conference to talk about it.

After Y Narahari’s inaugural address, Prof Roddam Narasimha spoke about the very theme of the conference. Prof N N Jha, spoke about Navya Nyaya(Indian Logic). Indian mathematics and astronomy was reviewed by Prod M D Srinivas. Prof Sunadara Rajan baffled audiences by going over Amarkosha’s documentation of plant semantics. Prof Iyengar explored probability aspects are employed in Indian classical music. I could not attend last two sessions on the first day. One them was by Navajyoti Singh who explored Jain mathematics and other was Shabdabodha aspects in computational linguistics by Amba Kulkarni.

The second day had few more interesting topics in fields of astronomy, Ayurveda, concepts of consciousness and self, aspects of computational thinking in India mathematics. The most interesting from my perspective was review of various propositions of claims of science and technology in ancient India and highlighting how can it be approached, by Prof Mayank Vahia. He also briefly covered evolution of science. The conference concluded with panel discussion on the current relevance of Indic perspectives in the field of science and technology, which I could not attend. The conference had also tutorials on different topics. The first part of the tutorial was a day before the actual conference began and second part was after the conference concluded. I wish I could have attended but I was not, especially one on Tantrasangraha/Yuktibhashya which are important treatise on Indian astronomy works, belonging to Kerala school mathematics.

The conference talks are recorded and can be found here for those who want to listen and learn.

Last couple of words on the venue itself. This venue of this conference was Faculty Hall in Main Building of IISc. The full size statue of Sir Jamsetji Tata is located right in front of this huge stone building. He funded the construction of building of IISc, upon request from Swami Viveknanda, as the history tells. The walks during lunch break inside the campus impresses anyone and was amazing experience. I would like ti visit this place again, whenever I get opportunity next.

Level 3 Purvamimamsa and Level 1 Sankhya Workshop

Philosophical systems which developed in India over more than 1000 years are significant part of rich intellectual tradition of India. While entire science and technology which has developed is result of human mind, human intellect and imagination, the art and science of asking questions, analyzing, which is what philosophy is about, is getting lost. It is remaining only as subject in humanities stream at the universities. This is true not only for philosophical systems of India, but even true in the western world. The often asked question on Quora is why do we need philosophy. This is also answered very often. A quick search on this topic on Internet yields the results showing significance. One of my favorite is this The New York Times article.

Prof V N Jha, former director at University Of Pune, Center of Advanced Studies in Sanskrit(CASS) and world expert in Sanskrit and one of the Indian philosophical systems called Nyaya(also called Indian Logic). I have been fortunate to be associated with Prof V N Jha since last few years. He has been on a mission of conducting workshops on various Indian philosophical systems referring original Sanskrit works, and also talking of their applications. He has conducted several workshops on this topic in including Foundations of Indian Logic(Tarkasangraha), three levels of Indian Logic(Nyaya and Vaiseshika) and two levels of Indian Hermeneutics(Purva Mimamsa)

He is conducting level 3 of Indian Hermeneutics(Purva Mimamsa) workshop near Pune next month. It is 10 day residential workshop at campus of Arunodaya Institute of Culture at Shrirampur near Pune. The inauguration of is on 12th Feb 2017 evening and the classes will conclude on 22-2-2017 evening . The participants can leave on 22-2-2017 evening/night after the valedictory. The text that will be taken up is Tarkpada of Shabarbhashya. The faculty is, apart from Prof V N Jha himself, Prof Ujjwala Jha. They are themselves providing a copy of the text to all the participants at the venue. This is the basic text on which the entire philosophy of Purvamimamsa was constructed. Every day, there will be a session by Prof Ujjwala Jha on content of Purvamimamsa and followed by reading and deciphering of the Sanskrit text Tarkapada. For registration, please reach contact Please refer this article for information on earlier levels of this workshop.

In the month of June, Prof V N Jha will begin workshops of another system of Indian Philosophy called Sankhya(or Samkhya) which is enumeration philosophy. He will be reading the Sanskrit text Sankhyakarika by Ishwarkrishna.  Sankhya is the earliest system of Indian philosophy and has influenced many other systems. He says that Yoga and Vedanta systems have drawn from it heavily to build their respective Metaphysics, and Vedanta’s metaphysics also is taken from Sankhya so far as its epistemology exposition is considered.


नीनासम संस्कृती शिबीर-भाग#१

माझ्या ह्या आधीच्या ब्लॉगवर मी नीनासम आणि तेथील संस्कृती शिबीर याबद्दल लिहिले होते. आता ह्या ब्लॉगवर त्या शिबिराच्या मुख्य कार्यक्रमाच्या माझ्या अनुभवावर लिहायचे आहे. हे शिबीर बहुत्व ह्या संकल्पनेच्या वेगवेगळया पैलूंच्या भोवती रचला गेला होता. ह्या शिबिराचा आणखीन एक महत्वाचा आणि रोचक भाग असा की दररोज संध्याकाळी, आम्हाला एक कन्नड नाटक पाहायला मिळायचे. त्याबद्दल मी आणखीन एक ब्लॉग लिहिणार आहे.

पुण्याहून आदल्या दिवशी पुणे-सागर अशी कर्नाटक राज्य सरकारची बस पकडून, मी ऑक्टोबर ८ च्या सकाळी सकाळी सागर जवळील हेग्गोडू ह्या गावीस्थित नीनासम(Sri Neelkantheshwar Natyaseva Sangh) मध्ये धडकलो. इतर बरेच शिबिरार्थी आजूबाजूला दिसत होते. नीनासमचा परिसर, तेथील बैठी शैली असलेल्या इमारती पाहून मन हरखून गेले. माझ्या बसमध्ये रात्री केव्हातरी तरुण मुलांचा हुबळीला एक गट चढला होता, त्यांच्या बोलण्यावरून ते देखील नीनासमला जात होते असे समजले. नंतर ते समजले की तो गट हुबळीच्या संस्कृती कॉलेजचे विद्यार्थी होते, त्यांच्या बरोबर त्यांचे प्राचार्य नटराज होणावल्ली हे देखील होते. यथावकाश नोंदणीचे सोपस्कार झाले. अंघोळी वगैरे आटपून, खास कर्नाटकी शैलीतील नाश्ता म्हणजे इडली, चटणी, सांबार जो स्थानिक पालेभाजी अरवे सोप्पू घालून केलेला होता. तेथील कॉफी, तसेच मसाला घातलेले दुघ, ज्याला ते कषाय म्हणतात, तेही घेतले आणि, ९.३०वाजताच्या समारंभाची वाट पाहत होतो, तेवढ्यात प्रमुख पाहुणे म्हणून आलेले प्रसिद्ध सिने-पटकथाकार जावेद अख्तर दिसले. इतरांबरोबर मी ही त्यांच्याबरोबर फोटो वगैरे काढून घेतले. त्यानंतर सभागृहात कार्यक्रमासाठी गेलो. ते सभागृह म्हणजे मोठे कौलारू घरच आहे, मध्ये मोठीशी मोकळी जागा, तेथे दोन बाजूला रंगमंच अवकाश, असल्यासारखा भाग होता.त्या कार्यक्रमाचे प्रमुख वक्ते होते जावेद अख्तर. त्यांना बोलते केले ते त्यांचे स्नेही अशोक तिवारी यांनी. त्यांनी एकूणच भारतातील बहुत्व संकल्पनेवर आधारित आपले अनुभव, विचार नमूद केले, ठिकठिकाणी त्यांनी त्यांचे स्वतःचे शेर, शायरी उद्धृत केली. त्यानंतर भोजनानंतरचा कार्यक्रम होता तो कन्नड कविता वाचनाचा. पाच वेगवेगळया जणांनी नव्या-जुन्या प्रसिद्ध कविता वाचून दाखवल्या. त्यादिवशीचा शेवटचा कार्यक्रम आधुनिक पूर्व कन्नड साहित्यातील बहुत्व या विषयावर आधारित होता.

ऑक्टोबर ९ रोजी पहिला कार्यक्रम हा गोव्यातून आलेले क्लॉड अल्वारिस(Claud Alvares) ह्या हरहुन्नरी पर्यावरणवादी व्यक्तिमत्वाच्या भाषणाचा. त्यांचा विषय होता भारतीय शास्त्रे, तंत्रज्ञान यांना पुढे आणण्याचा, तसेच पाश्चिमात्य विचारांचे ओझे कमी कसे करता येईल हा. त्यांनी ह्या क्षेत्रात काय काम करत आहेत हे अतिशय रंजक तऱ्हेने सांगितले. भोजन अवकाशानंतरचा कार्यक्रम कन्नड कथा-साहित्यातील बहुत्व दर्शवणाऱ्या निवडक कथांचे अभिवचन होते. कन्नड मधील प्रसिद्ध कथा-कादंबरीकार कुवेंपू, वैदेही, श्रीनिवास वैद्य इत्यादींच्या कथा रजनी गरुड, नीनासमचेच गणेश(ज्यांनी अतुल पेठे यांचे मराठी नाटक सत्यशोधक कन्नड मध्ये आण्यात भूमिका बजावली होती) आणि इतर जणांनी अतिशय उत्कटतेने वाचल्या. त्यादिवशीच तिसरा आणि शेवटला कार्यक्रम हा बहुत्व आणि सामाजिक प्रश्न यासंबंधी होता.

ऑक्टोबर १०चा दिवस सुरु झाला तो परत अल्वारिस यांच्याच कार्यक्रमाने. त्यात त्यांनी सध्याची शिक्षण व्यवस्था, त्यांचे गोव्यातील अनुभव, जुन्या काळातील धर्मपाल नावाचे तत्वज्ञ, गांधीवादी विचारवंत आणि त्यांचे काम या बद्दल ते विस्तृत बोलले. शेवटी भारतीय संगीत आणि बहुत्व यावर एक परिसंवाद झाला. पसिद्ध संगीत समीक्षक, द हिंदू या वर्तमानपत्राचे सहसंपादक  दीपा गणेश यांनी दोन गायिका शैलजा आणि वैशाली श्रीनिवास यांच्याशी त्यांच्या सप्रयोग भाषानंतर संवाद साधला. कर्नाटक आणि हिदुस्थानी संगीत प्रकारात होत असलेली देवाणघेवाण, आदिवासी, देवदासी समाजाने जतन केलेले कर्नाटक संगीतातील गोष्टी इत्यादींनी श्रोतृवर्गाला समृद्ध केले.

ऑक्टोबर ११ रोजी प्रसिद्ध भाषा-शास्त्रज्ञ गणेश देवी यांनी लोकशाही आणि बहुत्व या विषयावर मुद्देसूद आणि विस्तृत विवेचन केले. बहुत्व आणि विविधता यात मुलभूत फरक काय हेही त्यांनी सांगितले. त्यानंतर धर्म आणि बहुत्व या विषयावर मुल्सिम आणि ख्रिस्ती धर्माचे प्रतिनिधी चर्चा करण्यासाठी त्यांनी बोलावले होते. फादर जोस हे कॅथोलिक पाद्री बंगळूरूवरून आले होते, तसेच कुराणाचे कन्नड मध्ये भाषांतर करणारे अब्दुसलाम पुथिगे हे देखील आले होते. मीरा बैन्दूर ह्या ह्या चर्चेच्या समन्वयक होत्या. मला स्वतःला मीरा बैन्दूर यांच्याशी थोडी चर्चा करायला मिळाली. त्यांचा विषय मुळात मानसशास्त्र, पण त्यांनी संस्कृत, तसेच पर्यावरणीय तत्वज्ञान विषयात संशोधन केले आहे. भारतीय तत्वज्ञान विषयात त्यांना गती आहे.

ऑक्टोबर १२ हा शिबिराचा शेवटचा दिवस. त्याची सुरुवात प्रसिद्ध कन्नड कवी तीरुमलेश यांच्या काव्याची चर्चा करणारा,  त्यांच्या काव्याच्या प्रेरणा, तसेच त्यांचे स्वतःचे आत्मकथन अशा स्वरूपाचा होता. नंतरचा विषय वेगळाच होता, आणि तो भारतीय आयुर्वेद आणि त्याची पाळेमुळे ह्या विषयावर होता. दर्शन शंकर नावाचे प्रसिद्ध संशोधक, ज्यांची संस्था ह्या विषयावर काम करते आहे, त्यावर होता. भोजनानंतर कन्नड काव्य कन्नडी(म्हणजे आरसा) हा काही प्रसिद्ध कवितांचे दृश्यरूप दाखवणारा कार्यक्रम होता. त्यात ८ प्रसिद्ध कन्नड कवितांवरील ८ लघुपट दाखवले गेले. कवितेचे अमूर्त रूप काहीसे मूर्त करण्याचा प्रयत्न दर्शवणारे ते लघुपट होते.  सर्वात शेवटी सुंदर सरुक्काई यांचे निरोपाचे भाषण झाल्यावर शिबीर संपले.

नीनासम संस्कृती शिबीर जे दरवर्षी ऑक्टोबर मध्ये होते, तो एकूण भारतीय, तसेच कर्नाटकातील संस्कृतीच्या विविध पैलूविषयी अपूर्व अनुभव देतो. दररोज सकाळी आम्ही काही जण, कार्यक्रमांच्या आधी आसपासच्या परिसरात गप्पा मारत फिरायला जात असू. नीनासम हे नाव ज्या ग्रामदेवतेच्या नावावरून आले आहे त्याचे मंदिर पाहायची उत्सुकता होती. तेही एके सकाळी पहिले. छोटेसेच पण अतिशय सुंदर असे ते मंदिर आहे. तर असे अतिशय रम्य वातावरण, कर्नाटकातून, तसेच बाहेरून आलेले शिबिरार्थी, विषयाशी निगडीत २०-२५ प्रसिद्ध व्यक्ती, कार्यक्रमात होणाऱ्या चर्चा, विराम-वेळेत होणाऱ्या ओळखी, चर्चा, सलग पाच दिवस दिसणारे हे सर्व लोक, एक वेगळीच अनुभूती देणारे, तसेच समृद्ध करणारे मला तरी वाटले. कन्नड साहित्य, संस्कृती, काव्य, कथा, नाटक, कर्नाटकातील हेग्गोडू ह्या मलनाड प्रदेश ज्याला म्हणतात तो निसर्गरम्य प्रदेश ह्या वातावरणात, काय बोलू, काय ऐकू आणि काय पाहू अशी अवस्था तेथे माझी झाली.

Borge Wada

Wada(वाडा) is a Marathi term for special residential place or complex, which is many times similar to fortress or castle. Pune was once said to be city full of these structures all over. Most of them were built during last 300 years. The most famous being Shanivar Wada. In fact, these structures can be found all over Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka also. One can loosely say that there are two waves when these were built. One wave during which these were built, was during Maratha empire, especially, during Peshwa period. One would many of these fortress like dwellings built by senior generals of Maratha empires, including the Peshwa himself. They were typically named after the name of that general. Examples can be Mujumdar Wada, Raste Wada, Karhadkar Wada, Purandare Wada, Dhepe Wada, Borge Wada, Holkar Wada etc. I have found a good link where one architect as detailed out Karahadkar Wada with plans etc. My grand-parents residential place in Karnataka used to be a wada like structure with huge compound wall made of mud and stones, with couple of bastions(हुडे) like structures. I have talked about the memories of that place(Nimbal)  on my blog. Wai, another historic town near Pune also has some good wadas.

The second wave for wada construction happened in early part of last century. Since early part of 20th century when Pune started its journey from historic town towards commercial, industrial city, migrants from all over started coming in. Many of these existing wada were used as residential places for these new people and their families. And many new ones were constructed for the purpose of letting them out to these new migrants. Many families lived here in these dwellings for years together, and it gave birth to unique culture called Wada Culture in Pune, which can be said to be similar to chawl culture of Mumbai. I had recently visited Ahmedabad, and visited their famous Pols(पोळ) which are similar to these wadas in Pune. While the later ones which were constructed 60-70 years ago, are still part of heritage, many of them being destructed and converted into apartment complexes. But the wadas which are really older than 100 years or even older, which have historic significance, are being conserved, restored by the authorities, wherever possible. An example of that is Vishrambaug Wada in Pune(I had visited when PMC official Shyam Dhavale was in charge of this conservation activities for this wada few years back).

During the course of trekking, I have visited many of these historic wadas such as Sardar Dabhade’s wada at Indori, Sardar Holkar’s wada near Vaphgao, both near Pune. Other Sunday, I was visited someone in the newly developed area called Punawale near Pune. It has been a fringe villages till few years ago. I was taken by surprise to see castle like structure as I was passing through old area of Punawale village, towards apartment complex built in the open farm lang much further. I also noticed briefly a name plate saying Borge Wada(बोरगे वाडा). I did not have much time during that time to visit the place, which I would say was in shambles, with broken walls, traces of structure, main gate, couple of bastions were noticeable though. I came back and started looking for references. On the Google Map it shows up as Borge Wada prominently which I never noticed so far.

The famous Marathi book by history scholar Dr Sadashiv Shivade on wada also does not mention this. I found one blog in Marathi talking about it. It has some photographs also, which I could not take any during my trip, as I said earlier. I am referring some relevant information from that blog here, after translation: Borges happen to be from Khatav in Satara district, who got Punavale town for their local rule. The wada was constructed in later years of Peshwa rule, towards the end of 17th century. Moghul and Sardar Borge fought a battle near Punawale, where Borge’s army was severed. The wada has a well, four bastions(I noticed only one that day though), compound wall, mainly constructed in stones and brick, and also mud.

I certainly noticed that remains of wada, empty spaces are filled with shops and modern construction, which is ruining the beauty and old grandeur it may have. How I wish these historical monuments were preserved for later generations?