Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Chandayana by Dr Naman P. Ahuja

Dr Naman Ahuja, from the Jawaharal Nehru University, in New Delhi,  loves to tell a good story and the "Chandayana" is a good story. During his lecture at Dar Al Athar al Islamiyah he tried to push for a scholarly presentation of styles of painting miniatures on paper (the Mandu style, the Jain style, the unique style, the Chaurapanchasika style...). He tried to explain how a folk tale was hijacked by the sufis to turn into a religious message of seeking and looking for divine intervention. He tried to explain the shift from an oral tale to a written script, and to underline the importance of epic indian codes of symbolism.

But when he stood there and said: "She swoons, their eyes met!" with a pause. It became vibrant, alive. As if he was Mullah Daoud in the 14th century, keeping his public alert, gasping for more. And the story of Chanda goes on with love, beauty, honor, loyalty, tourment, separation, exile, husbands, wife, mothers in law, battle, armies, fakirs, yogis, deities, and supreme love yet unbearable to many.

Dr Ahuja gave a pulsating lecture and it remained informative and enriching on all levels.

For more on the story of Chanda DAI blog link

photo :The Heroine Chanda fanning her beloved, Laurak, under a tree, from a manuscript of the Chandayana (The Story of Chanda), 1540
Pigments on paper
(SanFransisco Asian Museum)

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