Showing posts from July, 2012

Sion Fort

History, for some reason, has always been associated with north India. In fact, a constant grouse voiced by those who come to visit Mumbai as tourists from that part of the country is that "there isn't much to see here." True, we are nowhere close to competing with the legends of the North Indian plains and their long list of rulers and heritage sites or with the artistic temples of the South. But spread across the city are lesser known and some completely unheard of forts which are sure to keep the history buff in you satiated. 

The Sion Fort is one such fort which is located within the immediate suburbs of Mumbai. The original name of Sion in Marathi is "Shinva" (शिनवा), which is also known as "Sheev" (शीव ), which means a boundary or an entrance to a city or a village. Sion is one of the seven islands of Bombay and formed the boundary between Bombay and Salsette Islands. Due to its strategic location at the absolute end of the Bombay islands, the ar…

Movie Review: Water

The 2005 Canadian film "Water" directed by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta is set in the temple town of Varanasi known as Benares in 1938. Child marriages were a common occurrence then. The film depicts the hardships faced by Hindu widows of that time. Much of the story is told through the innocent eyes of eight year old Chuyia (Sarala). 

The Indian text "Manusmriti" defines the life of a woman as someone who is perceived as a natural extension of her husband. It says if her husband dies, a woman has three choices: a) she is considered as half dead and therefore has the right to jump into the funeral pyre, b) she can marry his brother or c) live in complete isolation. If she decides to live her life in isolation, the ascetic part, she enters an ashram for the widows, tonsures her head and adopts white clothes as the colour of mourning.

The eight year old Chuyia is recently widowed and her parents bring her to this ashram where widows across all age groups stay to…

Movie Review: Do Aankhen Barah Haath

The 1957 Hindi film "Do Aankhen Barah Haath" is constructed on the basis of the saying by Mahatma Gandhi: "An eye for an eye will make the world" and is based on Gandhian philosophy. The film is a fine example of middle cinema. It begins with 12 blood-stained hands being pasted on the prison walls. The film follows the tale of 12 prisoners and one jail superintendent Adinath (V. Shantaram). The jail superintendent Adinath is in the process of reforming the 12 criminals. These criminals are charged with brutal crimes and this film focusses on the human aspect of the criminals who feel they are nothing less than born jailors.

The twelve jailors are taken to a dilapidated country farm where they are assigned the task of converting barren land into a piece of cultivable land in order to rehabilitate themselves through hardwork and kindly guidance. He is faced with lot of opposition from senior employees but it is his faith in the human spirit that encourages him to reha…