Archive for lucknow

Eid Mubarak

Posted in Islam with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by designldg

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“ Abraham said:
“I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me “O my Lord! Grant me a righteous son!” So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son. Then, when the son reached the age of serious work with him, Abraham said: “O my son! I have seen in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice: now see what your view is?” The son said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one of the steadfast!”
So when they had both submitted Allah and Abraham had laid his son prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice, We called out to him “O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the dream!” – you are indeed Do We reward those who do right.”
(Qur’ân – verse 37:99 to verse 37:109)

Islam focuses on Abraham more than either Judaism or Christianity, but with an important difference: where Judaism holds that one becomes a descendant of Abraham through birth, and Christianity that one becomes a descendant through faith, Islam holds that descent is unimportant – Abraham, in other words, is not the father of the believing community, but a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Mohammad.
Islamic traditions consider Abraham the first Pioneer of Islam (which is also called millat Ibrahim, the “religion of Abraham”), and that his purpose and mission throughout his life was to proclaim the Oneness of God.
When Abraham was asked for sacrifice, he took Ishmael to sacrifice. When he was about to use the knife, God placed a sheep under his hand.
Abraham had shown that his love for Allah superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to Allah’s command.
As a reward for this sacrifice, God then granted Abraham the good news of the birth of his second son, Is-haaq (Isaac).
Muslims around the world commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice every year during Eid al-Adha, to follow the path of Abraham that is called Qurbani (sacrifice).

During this festival in Varanasi (Benaras), it is common for Muslims and non-Muslims to visit their Muslim friends and neighbours on Eid to convey their good wishes and share a meal or sweets.
This is a view shot from the upper terrace of the Bara Imambara in Lucknow built by Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of the city, in 1784.
The two minars on the left belong to the Asfi Mosque and on the right stands the Rumi Darwaza known as the Turkish Gate.
This picture of the City of Nawabs, the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, allows me to wish everyone a happy and peaceful Eid Mubarak.
“May Allah ease the suffering of all people around the world…”

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Vanity, Pride and Arrogance

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by designldg

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“The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.”
(Samuel Butler – English novelist, 1835-1902)

This is a close up of a gate of the Kashi Ram Green Eco Garden in Lucknow, the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
This park reveals the misuse of public money.
It was built on 120-acre of land by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Kumari who also erected huge statues of herself in a style reminding totalitarian regimes in order to show respect towards Dalit icons as she considers herself as one.
She also settled a plan for a special police force to protect this expensive huge space as she feared that her political opponents might demolish her work.
People would have preferred houses, schools and hospitals instead of watching from an highway this monumental work which exults the vanity, pride and arrogance of someone who doesn’t care for them.

______________________
Mayawati became the first Dalit-woman chief minister of any Indian state and therefore a symbol for millions of Dalits (or “untouchables”) who were oppressed by the Hindu upper castes for centuries.
However she is involved in many scandals and there are allegations that she has used her status to amass a large amount of personal wealth.
Her assets run into millions of dollars with several properties to her name.
The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had filed a case against her for owning assets disproportionate to her known sources of income however she described the CBI investigation against her as illegal.
While the source of the funds was given as voluntary donations, CBI found at least 50 sweepers, hawkers, and rickshaw-pullers who had been asked to open bank accounts and sign blank cheques from which these funds eventually originated.
Her mega birthday bashes are major media events where she appears laden with diamonds.
______________________

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In The Footsteps Of The Nawabs

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“My son, by all means desist from kicking the venerable and enlightened Vizier: for as a costly jewel retains its value even if hidden in a dung-hill, so old age and discretion are to be respected even in the vile persons of our subjects. 
Desist therefore, and tell us what you desire and propose.” 
(From “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis)

This is the entrance of the Hussainabad Picture Gallery in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.
It was built by the third Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah in the year 1838 as a Royal summer house.
This place houses life-size portraits of all Nawabas of Awadh providing a good insight into the grand costumes and jewelry favored by the Nawabs.

Of all the Muslim states and dependencies of the Moghul empire, Awadh had the newest royal family.
They were descended from a Persian adventurer called Sadat Khan, originally from Khurasan in Persia.
In 1732, he was made governor of the province of Awadh.
His original title was Nazim, which means Governor, but soon he was made Nawab. In 1740, the Nawab was called Wazir or vizier, which means Chief Minister, and thereafter he was known as the Nawab Wazir.
In practice, from Sadat Khan onwards, the titles had been hereditary, though in theory they were in the gift of the Moghul emperor, to whom allegiance was paid.

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A Lightning Instant

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”
(Henri Cartier-Bresson – French photographe, 1908–2004)

Lucknow, the mythical city of Nawabs, allows to travel in time.
I always enjoy to spend time in the Bara Imambara (or Asafi Imambara) complex for a sensory memory journey…

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Surfaces, Lines and Values

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements. “
(Henri Cartier-Bresson – French photographe, 1908–2004)

This is the entrance of the Bara Imambara (also called the Asafi Imambara) complex in Lucknow, the mythical city of Nawabs.
It was shot from a window in the corridor which is on the level of the ceiling of the domed chamber leading to the Bhulbhulaiya, a three-dimensional labyrinth with passages interconnecting with each other through 489 identical doorways…

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Dans la ville d’or et d’argent

Posted in 7 - Events, Publications & Press with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by designldg

“Sakina” is a picture of the bulb roof of the Chhota Imambara, also known as Hussainabad Imambara or the Palace of Lights, located in Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
It was selected to make the cover of “Dans la ville d’or et d’argent”, a novel by Kenizé Mourad.

 

Kenizé Mourad’s new biographical novel “La Ville d’Or et d’Argent”, published in French, Italian and Spanish, has not yet appeared in English.

 

Kenizé Mourad is a French writer and journalist whose reporting on Middle East and Indian issues was published under her real name, Kenizé de Kotwara.
Amazingly, Ms. De Kotwara only became aware of her Turkish-Indian parentage in her late teens.

 

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• Kenizé Mourad’s mother:
Kenize Mourad’s mother was in fact a granddaughter of the Ottoman Sultan Mourad V, the Sultana Selma Rauf Hanin (born in Istanbul in 1914 and died in Paris in 1941).
Selma’s story itself was a case of fact being stranger than fiction. She grew up in Istanbul in the years following the First World War, leading the secluded and frivolous life of a little princess, but always peeking out trying to observe life outside: Istanbul is occupied by the Greeks, the British and the French.
She has a chance to meet and be fascinated by Mustafa Kamal, the man who would modernize Turkey, free Turkey from foreign occupation, and at the same time, free the country from the ruling Ottoman dynasty.
Selma and her mother have to leave the country and live in exile in Beirut, where the lively young girl is able to enjoy the relative freedom of Lebanon at that time.
Since the girl is vivacious, her mother feels that a suitable marriage must be arranged before she compromises herself beyond repair. In fact they have become penniless.
This means diplomatic woman’s work around the available royalty – after a disappointment with the King of Albania, an Indian Rajah is chosen.
So the girl is sent off almost alone to India, where she learns that she is expected to live in purdah.
Selma’s life of adventure, and the events that lead her to be alone and pregnant in Paris just as the Germans invade in 1939, is told in Kenizé Mourad’s novel Regards from the Dead Princess, first published in French in 1987, after years of research in Turkey, Lebanon and India.
This book is a real labour of love, and the authoress, who had no memory of her mother, tiptoes between the love she would have wished to express and some bitterness over her mother’s rather erratic behaviour.
Her pen-name Mourad is a homage to her mother’s ancestor, Sultan Mourad.

 

• Kenizé De Kotwara’s father:
Kenize De Kotwara, the journalist, takes her name from her father, Rajah Syed Sajid Hasain Ali of Kotwara (born in 1910 and died in 1991).
Kenizé only found out her own identity when she was about twenty, so she never as an adult knew her mother, but she did get to know her father. The painful story of this young French girl is told in Mourad’s second family novel, “Le Jardin De Badalpur” (published in French, Spanish, Italian but seemingly not in English).
It follows the girl from her earliest belief that she was an orphan, brought up first in the family of a Swiss diplomat and then by Catholic nuns, a typical Parisian student of the 1960’s.
She then finds herself in an unknown India, not as a tourist but as the daughter of a Rajah who in the meantime had formed another family, unaware until then of the existence of this daughter, having been led to believe that Selma’s daughter had been stillborn.
Although the authoress gives her heroine another name (Zahr), the book is an autobiography, taking us through her childhood and the difficult years until she finally comes to terms with a new self.
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In her new book, Kenize Mourad recounts the story of Begum Hazrat Mahal it is available in French as “La Ville d’Or et d’Argent” (The City of Gold and Silver, i.e.Lucknow), and in Italian as La Principessa Ribelle (The Rebel Princess).
This is a biographical novel whose heroine is the fourth wife of the King of Awadh, who led a rebellion of Northern Indian States against the British Colonial Powers represented both by the East India Company and by the Crown.
The novel is set around around the First War of Indian Independence of 1857, also know as the Sepoy Rebellion.

 

The novel has two themes: the romantic, mainly imaginary tale of the girl Muhammadi, a poetess, who becomes wife of the King of Awadh (Oudh) and takes the name of Hazrat Mahal. Mahal is the title given to the mother of a royal prince.
Her personal story – how she has poor relations in the Zenana (part of the house reserved for the women), how she loses love for her husband and later becomes involved with one of the rajahs leading the revolt, how she manipulates to have her young son and not one of the sons of more senior wives nominated to the crown so that she becomes Regent – is not really special.
Yet is keeps the story from being dry history.

 

The second theme of the novel is the historical part, the military history, the political and economical analysis of the Indian State of Awadh (Oudh), of the unethical dealings of Britain’s East India Company, the faith of certain Indian Rulers in the British Crown, in Queen Victoria, how far removed they were, how physically long it took for messages to go back and forth, rendering the local British officers and functionaries of the East India Company subject only to their own good sense and conscience.

 

This book recounts massacres on both sides, the siege of Lucknow, the destruction of much of India’s heritage and treasure, and since the country had to wait another 90 years for independence, there is no happy ending.

 

Ms. Mourad with her different backgrounds manages to put herself wholly behind the Indian point of view, while not sparing her unease with many aspects of Indian life and society.

 

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Kenizé Mourad’s interview in French:
youtu.be/5HCykOO2p4s
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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved. 
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

 

Without Fear of Ridicule

Posted in Human Rights Violations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2011 by designldg

Without Fear of Ridicule

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All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“BSP and its government in UP is against corruption and criminalisation of the politics since beginning and the part supports Anna Hazare in his campaign”
(Mayawati – Current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, b. 1956)

This picture with statues reminding totalitarian regimes was shot at the Kashi Ram Green Eco Garden in Lucknow, the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
On the left it shows Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Kumari who erected this memorial park on 120-acre of land.
She also erected number of statues of herself in many other cities and then she settled a plan for a special police force to protect them as she feared that her political opponents might demolish her work.
All this was done in order to show respect towards Dalit icons as she considers herself as one.
While watching such an expensive huge space it is easy to think that people would have prefer houses, schools and hospitals instead.

Mayawati became the first Dalit-woman chief minister of any Indian state and therefore a symbol for millions of Dalits (or “untouchables”) who were oppressed by the Hindu upper castes for centuries.
However there are allegations that she has used her status to amass a large amount of personal wealth.
Her assets run into millions of dollars with several properties to her name.
The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had filed a case against her for owning assets disproportionate to her known sources of income however she described the CBI investigation against her as illegal.
While the source of the funds was given as voluntary donations, CBI found at least 50 sweepers, hawkers, and rickshaw-pullers who had been asked to open bank accounts and sign blank cheques from which these funds eventually originated.
Her mega birthday bashes are major media events where she appears laden with diamonds.

Since last Tuesday a revolution started in India when Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare was jailed in Delhi as he wants tougher laws against corruption at a time of many political scandals, including murders and misuse of public money.
Anna Hazare supporters are becoming numerous, he was realesed this morning but the government is facing it’s worst problem.
It seems that Mayawati doesn’t know Fear of ridicule when last morning she decided to support Anna Hazare’s movement.

This is just an exemple in order to explain the situation in India and to show that things won’t change easily but “Rome wasn’t built in a day” so let’s hope for better tomorrows…