Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

India Song- by Karen Knorr

I found the first picture on the net accidentally. Curiosity led me to dig up more,  only to find a treasure- India Song– a series of digital photography by Karen Knorr.

Exploring further, the idea behind the series was mind blowing.

Quoting from Karen Knorr’s website:

“Karen Knorr’s photography explores cultural heritage and its ideological underpinings. Questions concerning post colonialism and its relationship to aesthetics have permeated her photographic work since the 1980’s.  Her work, India Song, researches the stories and myths of India photographing animals and placing them in temples and palaces across heritage sites in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.”

As Knorr says, “Cranes, zebras, langurs, tigers, and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion.”

Knorr’s digital assemblages create narratives that captivate, interrogate tensions between old and new; animate and inanimate; stillness and motion; human and animal; and male and female. The stunning photographs of India Song have the power to transfix and transport. They are simply mesmerizing.

Do not miss the caption with each sumptuously detailed pictures, as you travel(scroll) down on this sensual journey…

The Lovesick Prince, Aam Khas, Junha Mahal, Dungarpur PalaceP6 The-Lovesick-Prince-Aam-Khas-Junha-Mahal-Dungarpur-copy-1250x1000


The Opium Smoker, Chitrasala, BundP2 TheOpiumSmoker-1250x1000


Avatars or Devi, Samode Palace, SamodeP3 Avatars-of-Devi-1246x1000


The return of Hunter, Chandra Mahal, Jaipur Palace, JaipurP4 5The-Return-of-the-Hunter-1250x1000


Sikander’s Entrance, Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City Palace, JaipurP5 4_SikandersEntrance-1266x1000


Flight to Freedom, Darbar Hall, Juna Mahal, Junagarhp6 Flight-to-Freedom-1231x1000


The Private Audience, Aam Khas, Juna Mahal, Dungarpurp7 The-Private-Audience-1231x1000

The Lion’s Savior, Zanana, Dungarpur PalaceP9 CorrectedTheLionsSaviour-for-KK_com_-1246x1000

Krishna’s Crown, Jawa Mahal, JaipurP9 KrishnasCrown-copy

Vishnu’s Return to the World, Rani Ki Vav, PatnaP10 Vishnus-Return-to-the-World-1250x1000

The Messenger, Purana Qila, New DelhiP11 The-Messanger-1251x1000

Homage to Ustad MansurP15 Homageto-Ustad-Mansur-1250x1000

Master of Seduction, Amer Fort, AmerP14 Master-of-Seduction-Amber-Fort-Amber-1250x1000

Attaining Moksha, Ajanta Caves, AjantaP12 Attaining-Moksha-1250x1000

Krishna’s RaasLeela, Chitrasala, Bundi P16 Krishnas-Rasa-Leela-Chitrasala-Bundi-copy

Edge of the Forest, Agravena, AgraP17 Edge of Forest Aravena Agra

The Exodus, Paradesi SynagogueP18 The exodis Pardesi Synagogue

The Sound of Rain, Junargarh Fort, BikanerP18 The sound of rain Junagarh fort Bikaner

The Reception of Darshan, Ajanta Cavesp19 The reception of Darshan Ajanta Caves

.The Witness, Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhip20- tHE WITNESS hUMAYUN'S tOMB, nEW dELHI

A Place Like Amravati, Udaipur Lake Palace, Udaipurp21 A place like Amravati

The Conqueror of the World, Poddar Haveli, JunagarhP21 Conquerer of the workld Podar Haveli Nawalgarh

Maha Sattiva’s Sacrifice, Ajanta Caves P13 Mahasattvas-Sacrifice-1250x1000

Light of the World, Zanaroom, Nawalgarh P24

Asylum, Junagarh Fort, Junagarhp26 The Courtyard Conference, Udai Villas, Udaipur p28 The Courtyard Conference, Udai Vilas, Dunagrpur

The Temple Servant, Jaipur City Palace, Jaipur p29 Temple Servant Amber Fort, Jaipur

Maharaja’s Apartment, Udaipur City Palace P30 Maharaja's Apartment, Undaipur City Palace

The Joy of Ahimsa, Takhat Vilas, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpurp31 Ahimsa

The Peacemaker Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City Palace p32 tHE PEACEMAKER, cHANDRA mAHAL jAIPUR cITY pALACE

Parvati’s Consort, Samode Haveli, Jaipur P35 Parvati's Consort, Samode Haveli, Jaipur

Queen’s Room, Zanana Palace, Udaipur p36 tHE qUEENS rOOM, zANANA Palace Udaipur

A Place Like Amravati, Udaipur P37 A place like Amravati, Udaipur city pALACE

The Last Lion, Diwan-I-Khaas, Jaipur City Palace, Jaipur P33 The last Lion, Diwan I KHas City Palace Jaipur

“Knorr’s work explores Rajput and Mughal cultural heritage and its contemporary relationship to questions of feminine subjectivity and animality.” ~ Darlimple

Thank you !


About Karen Knorr: Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the 1960s, completing her education in Paris and London. She has taught, exhibited, and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey.
Source: Karen Knorr’s website:
Source: Karen Knorr's website:







This is a cross posting from Blog Sustainistani:  A peek into Karachi

Story of my love affair with Pakistan & India !

#HigherThanTheStars #DeeperThanTheOceans.
#Handicrafts #Handlooms #Colors #Mirrors #NeedleWork
#BeatItIfYouCan !


My original post:

Credits: Origins for pics:

Pakistan from Generation.

India from Craftsvilla.



IndoPak Peace.jpg

NOTE: This Resolution has 1000 endorsements obtained on a personal basis, listed alphabetically at this link. It is now online as part of the Peace Now and Forever Campaign Between India and Pakistan.

In the 70 years since independence and Partition, the people of India and Pakistan have seen too many conflicts and the loss of many valuable lives. Enough of the distrust and tensions. Those who suffer particularly are ordinary people denied visas and those in the conflict zones, especially women and children as well as fishermen who get routinely rounded up and arrested for violating the maritime boundary.

We condemn all forms of violence regardless of its objectives.

Deeply concerned at the current rise in animosity and antagonism between India and Pakistan, we urge both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations.

We note that whenever it seems that relations might improve, some form of disruption takes place ranging from jingoistic statements to militant attacks. The traditional response to such disruptions only strengthens those who want continued tensions between our two countries.

We, citizens of India and Pakistan, and concerned citizens around the world, move this joint resolution towards a peaceful subcontinent and make the following demands to the governments of India and Pakistan, urging them to:

  1. Develop an institutionalised framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan take place regularly no matter what. Make dialogue uninterrupted and uninterruptible.
  2. Ensure that political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries conduct talks on the sidelines of all international and multilateral forums.
  3. Recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, and work to resolve it through uninterrupted dialogue between all parties concerned.
  4. Implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
  5. Renounce all forms of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism, human rights violations, cross-border terrorism, and subversive activities against each other, including through non-state actors or support of separatist movements in each other’s state.
  6. Support and encourage all forms of people-to-people contact, and remove visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries. This must be further taken forward to allow visa-free travel between India and Pakistan.
  7. Increase trade and economic linkages, sports and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.

Further, we pledge to uphold the principles of impartial reporting and urge media houses on either side to prevent the growing militarisation of debate. We must act responsibly and stop broadcasting hate speech and creating public hysteria aimed at the other country and/or vulnerable communities.

UPDATE: This resolution is endorsed by over 1000 prominent peacemongers in India, Pakistan and around the world – singers, actors, artists, writers, journalists, retired armed forces personnel, parliamentarians, filmmakers, lawyers, historians, physicians, businesspeople, economists, students and rights workers. They include Gulzar, Noam Chomsky, Shubha Mudgal, Aruna Roy, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Asma Jahangir, Mubarak Ali, Romila Thapar, Ayesha Jalal, Admiral L. Ramdas, General Talat Masood, General Mahmud Durrani, Jean Dreze, Nayantara Sahgal, Mahesh Bhat, Nandita Das, Naseeruddin Shah, Salima Hashmi and Amin Hashwani to name a few. See some of the names in the list online, alphabetically ordered. This resolution is also endorsed by the Sarhad song of Aisi Taisi Democracy.

Hundreds of organisations in India, Pakistan and other countries partnering for The Peace Now Campaign are also obtaining endorsements for this resolution through a signature campaign. Scores of programmes in different cities and towns are providing platforms to people of both countries to assert their desire to resolve all issues amicably and reclaim an atmosphere of peace for the sub-continent.

NOTE: Endorsements collected online and on the ground until 15 August 2017 will be delivered to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan by the end of August 2017.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • India, Pakistan
    Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan

Kindly sign the petition here>>>

Read the letter

Beena Sarwar started this petition with a single signature.


Thanks for adding your voice – let’s make this go viral

  1. Thank you for signing this resolution, already endorsed by over 1000 “peacemongers” in India, Pakistan and around the world – singers, actors, artists, writers… 

Ever imagined what happens when your name gets synonymous with a culinary dish that you are expected to make in every potluck?
Yes. In. Every. Single. Potluck. Period.

And anytime you offer for a friends party, “Shall I get something from my side?”
The obvious response is, “Yes dahi-baras if you can.”

The compliments of ‘perfection’ that flow are quite elating, and a fairly good boost to one’s self esteem.
Let me admit, it’s been decades since my last dahi-baras went wrong. I have figured out some short cuts too, and so it isn’t very time consuming & labour intensive either.

However, it has become pretty uninteresting to follow the same steps each time- soak dals overnight, grind them and make a batter, then heat oil and fry round lentil dumplings, soak them in water……etc etc like a robot. I know now how experts just learn to do repetitive tasks at a spinal level, letting brain take the back seat.
Summing up in two words: it’s become a monotonous rut.


Hence time and again pops up the urge to take dahi baras to the next level.

Making dahi-gujiyas is very interesting, yet a painstaking procedure.
Using a lentil paste of a doughy consistencey and spreading it on a plastic sheet and filling with raisins, nuts and herbs. Then carefully frying them. Rest of the process is the same.


However the itch to innovate dahi-baras to a yet newer level remained.

The idea to fuse waffles with dahi-baras came as a flash today, and just to check I am not being bizarre, I tested the idea with my son, who was busy watching a baseball match. Without much reaction, he responded almost automatically, “Yes, why not?”

So came the inception of Dahi bara waffles.

The batter is exactly the same, made from urad and moong lentils. The consistency also remains as thick as for the fried dumplings.

Still skeptical I poured the batter in waffle maker and let it cook till light brown.


The waffle was then soaked in water for 5 minutes and extra water squeezed out.


The waffle-bara was drizzled then with thick yogurt, chat masala, tamarind sauce and mint chutney.


The sponge and consistency was amazing, and the taste was delicious.


The taste was the same as a usual dahi baras, but experience of eating it as a waffle topped with yogurt & chutneys was very different.

I can envision this as a great hit in parties with individually served waffle-baras where people can add yoghurt, spices and sauces as per their taste. It can also be consumed as a crispy waffle with chutney by those who don\t fancy yogurt.

Now thinking where next to take the dahi bara journey to?
Suggestions & ideas are welcome. ❤

Down the Memory Lane

Once upon a time, when we lived in Srinagar, Kashmir, no sooner than I turned five, a formal Bismillah was held. I remember clearly Ammi stitched an orange satin Sharara from scratch and embellished it with gota for me.
An elaborate yet home based dawat(dinner), was held in which a few family friends were invited.
From the next day I was taken every day by Papa to a family friend, Hashmi Uncle’s house with a beginners Qaeda and the dupatta (from the sharara set) folded in a bag together. Hashmi Uncle’s aunt who was called Phuphijan gave sabaq(lessons) to me and Rana.

Rana was from the same household as Phupijan. The idea of going to their house to read Qaeda was more fun than learning. I distinctly remember Phupijan never beat us or shout at us, though she was strict at times. She did not let us girls giggle while reading our lessons.
In about an year, or so I finished the Qaeda, and there was a celebration(graduation) for it. Phupijan invited my parents to their home, prepared some dessert, and presented us girls with batwas (pouches) filled with candied saunf, nuts and misri (sugar crystals). The batwa was stitched by Phupijan herself during the months we were reading Qaeda with her. Incidentally I also remember thinking that she gave the more decorated batwa to me than to Rana. I have yet to see a more intricately stitched batwa which had strings and even a partition within the space.
I graduated to the 30th Sipara as the stepping stone for Quran.
In a few months Hashmi Family left Srinagar. So I was passed on to Mubarak Auntie. After a while they left the place too and we also came to Delhi.

In Delhi too, Ammi arranged an Ustani Saheba who taught Quran to girls in different homes as a means of livelihood. Ammi asked her permission if she would teach my 10 year old twin brothers too. She kindly obliged. In some years, we completed the 30 Siparas.
Again an elaborate Ameen was held at home. Close family and friends were called. Ustani Saheba was also invited and she was given a special jora(dress) and cash.
She brought for me a book of prayers as a present and instructed, “Keep practicing your fluency (qirat).”
Ammi kept in touch with Ustani Saheba as she visited us a few times after that.

A decade later Ustani Sahiba was invited in my wedding too. She came with a Quran contained in a decorated Juzdaan (special bag) which she had hand-stitched and decorated with gotta. She said she began working on it as soon as she heard I was getting married. Again the instructions from the gentle lady were, “Keep reading this to maintain your fluency.”

(I had almost forgotten the whole experience until a day ago it was reminded by a discussion on Qaris teaching Quran these days. Although there is much stress about religious preaching these days, but the personal & cultural touch to it has gone missing).
P.S. Below are the examples of Batwa and Juzdan quite close to that I was given.

Batwa: a pouch to keep candy, nuts etc.Batwa2

Juzdan: A decorated cloth case for keeping QuranJuzdan


Sufism talks of losing the ‘self’ to attain the love of God. Here in an unusual Hindi sufi poetry the poet Achal Ram, a Kabir bhakt,  describes in simple yet delightful verses how by losing one’s self, he sees the reflection of God within himself and then falls in love with that self.
Mukhtiyar Ali, a renowned Kabir singer adds ecstasy to the soulful  words through his rendition. Translation in the subtitles by Kabir Project does remarkable justice to the original verses.

Dekha apne aap ko, mera dil deewana ho gaya,
Na chhero yaron mujhe, main khud mastana ho gaya.
I saw my own self and fell in love with it,
Don’t mess with me friends, I am in ecstasy of self.

Lakhon suraj, chandrama, qurban per hain mere husn per,
Adbudh chhavi ko dekh ke, kehne se main sharma gaya.
Countless suns and moons bow down to my beauty
Seeing my spectacular silhoutte, I am speechless and blush.

Ab khudi se baaher hain, ishq kafni pehen ker,
Sab rang chola rangaa, deedar apna ho gaya.
I am free of self-obsession after being draped in love shroud,
Sporting a dress dyed in all colors, I have come face to face with myself.

Ab deekhta koi nahin, duniya me hi merey siwa,
Doori ka parda hata, saara bharam pighla gaya.
Now I behold no one in the whole world but my own self
The veil of separation is lifted, all delusions have vanished away.

Achal Ram ab khud ba khud, hai mehboob mujh se na-juda
Nij noor mein bharpoor ho, apne mein aap samaa gaya.
Achal Ram now by itself, the beloved and I are inseparable
Suffused with self radiance, I have merged within myself.