Seated from the left: Mohd. Qasim (Aga Jan), Abdul Hussain, Abdul Hussain, Aga Ali Asker and Aga Abdullah. Standing first from left is Aga Abbas Ali. Image courtesy: Mirza Habib Aga Shirazi.

Somewhere around 1824, three brothers debarked at Mangalore, far from their home in Shiraz, the glittering, garden city filled with art, literature and the Persian poetry of Hafiz and Saadi. Along with them sailed a string of 200 Arab horses bought en route at the bustling commercial port town of Bushehr in south-western Iran. They intended to trade […]


THE PAST IN THE PRESENT’. 27th JULY, 2014. A breakfast-lecture series.


High up on a hillock off Uttarahalli Main Road, an old stone shrine huddles in the shadow of the more well known Vasantha Vallabharaya Temple. Once upon a time, its priests would have looked out at a horizon dotted with five sacred lakes or tirthas- Devatirtha, Shankatirtha, Chakratirtha, Plavatirtha and Vasanthatirtha where, according to Suryaprakash, […]


My introduction to the wild life began somewhere during my adolescence when I found a second hand copy of `Nine Man-Eaters and one Rogue (1954) by Kenneth Anderson. Big cats with glowing eyes stalked my dreams as I hunted down the Man-Eater of Jowlagiri and the Spotted Devil of Gumlapur in a local library. Already […]


A wild eyed boy runs shrieking across the smouldering coal pit. His face is a turmeric paste mask on which an intricate tattoo of red and white dots has been painted to circle his eyes. He wears green bangles and flowers in his hair.He runs past, hands outstretched. His glazed eyes are unseeing. I have […]

The casket with photographs.Pic courtesy: P Ramaswamy.

On a wind torn evening, a group of worried men huddled around an imposing column in the middle of a crossroad near Lalbagh. They had been given the task of constructing it only ten days ago. The column was to mark the inauguration of a new suburb in South Bangalore and C. Rajagopalachari, the last […]

Hostel facade

Two boys whack a table tennis ball across a shiny red oxide floor right above the Karur Vysya Bank on Avenue Road. Dharmaprakasha Sri SV Sreenivasa Setty watches them from a portrait on the wall. He wears the Ganda Berunda, a bejewelled two-headed eagle, the symbol of the Mysore Maharajas that is now the official state […]

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The first time I saw a hand woven, pure silk Molakalmuru sari, I could almost see the peacocks dance on the pallu and border. After obsessing over it for a few weeks, I decided to track it down in Bangalore’s busy silk market- Chickpet. Plan B was to hotfoot it to the weaving centres in Molakalmuru […]


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