The trying times and the despair of a lockdown couldn’t daunt the spirit of Literature. To ensure that our patrons are not deprived of their regular dose of literary interaction, the Foundation put together their boutique literary session online. An Author’s Afternoonwent virtual on 26th March with a closed group of audience on Facebook.
We debuted with the sensational Mythologist and Narrative Practitioner, Seema Anand. Seema is an acknowledged authority on the Kama Sutra and lectures on Eastern Erotology, Tantric philosophy, the Mahavidyas and Bhagvad Gita as well. She is also associated with the UNESCO project for Endangered Oral Traditions. A certified Alternative Medicine doctor, she is also the Founder-Director of ‘Look Beyond India’ a Wellness Centre in Delhi.
Seema took us on an enthralling and enlightening journey through one of the oldest Indian culture – The Kama Shastra. Her session shattered the taboos and myths associated with man’s most natural pure physical expression of pleasure. She unfolded the importance of Kama Shastra in Ancient history where different rulers had documented their individual versions. Kama Sutra is not just one book but a compilation of many documents. It was believed that if the society was stable the kingdom too would flourish. The bane of stable adult human mind was considered to be a satiated physical relation; hence the Kama Sutra was more of a manual to a happy stable life. Seema also shared some interesting facts from Buddhist Kama on how some body postures were adapted by the military in their physical combats and to form war formations.
Seema also enlightens the audience on how women were held as equal in Kama Shastra. Their desire, rights and needs were given equal consideration and respect. Intercourse in ancient India, Seema explained, had a beautiful and strong essence of respect and understanding attached to it. It did not carry with it the present day brashness or aggressiveness. It was truly a form of art created by our body, an instinct where each element in our body had a role to play. She went on to explain the external elements that were used to insinuate or prelude the act of coupling. Seema awed the audience by her indepth knowledge on the significance of the shola sringaar, jewellery, perfume and even different manner of chewing the paanthat had different insinuations. What she brought forth was the sheer elegance and grace and subtle drama that surrounded this innate natural human act of coming together.
Kama Sutra it was believed to have been written by a woman after Kama’s death. Rati was asked to carry forward the Kama’s work to maintain the balance of human life cycle. Ancient Indian Kama Sutra is considered to be the most elegant and graceful in the world and Seema’s indepth knowledge on the Kama Sutra of other country’s too left us in awe.
Kama Sutra is considered to be very controversial more so because of the role women play in it she explained. Her research shatters the myths and stereotype of a woman’s sexual needs and how they were considered to be equal participant in the act of coming together. They were not taken as properties or their consent and wish was given great respect and consideration. The act itself entailed more of the mind and stimulation. The pursuance of pleasure is mirrored not as something to sneer at or hide behind the closed doors. It was an act that entailed love, respect and synergy. Kama, she further added was the underlying principle for everything in life. Even Moksha was to be attained having undergone Kama Shastra appropriately. It is not a book of sin and sex. It is merely a documentation of what can lead to pleasurable acts of giving in to one another in both mind and body. Kama Sutra in reality does not explain the real act of coupling and is written in metaphors which allow your mind to travel to it’s imagery, Seema said.
The act of coupling too was given a new definition where it was reflected as a story where you had two writers scripting it considering the insinuations and advances of the partner. The sinfulness and the shame we associate with the Kama Sutra gave way to awe and imagination. Seema shared the hardship she and her family had faced during her research but she remained undeterred and even more convinced. She had lost friends and faced social stigma just because her topic was taboo. But she is glad that people have gradually started responding positively and understood the beauty of her research. Her knowledge of ancient mythology both Indian and western leave the audience mesmerized and looking forward to a session in person with her soon. Meanwhile she leaves the audience with a mind full of elegant erotica laced in poetry of desire.
Singh’s book ‘Batla House’ is centred around the controversial and famous encounter that took place in Delhi at the Batla House. The book starts from the first bomb blast that took place on 13 th September 2008. The bomb blasts were simultaneous in many places at the same time and were done by a terrorist group called the Indian Mujahidin. The terrorist group had done serial bomb blasts in over 14 places in Delhi and the police had been trying to find them since a long time. When they got the news of the group hiding in Batla House they went there to investigate where the shootings happened. Media spun the news saying that it was a fake encounter and that it was just done under the pressure. The media and the people put out rumours saying that the police officer that died was killed by his own team, however, when the forensic report came it was clear that the police officer had been killed by the terrorist group, the dead terrorists also had residue of gun powder on them that indicated that the shots had been fired by them. The police officer that had died was one of the most decorated police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma, it was his discovery that had led the team to Batla House. He had in his lifetime neutralised around 35 terrorists, received numerous medals and was also awarded the Ashok Chakra for bravery in the battle field after he had died. He was knowledge of both the technical and the human skills.
He said that the media is like the 4 th pillar of democracy and has the responsibility to make sure that they do not put out fake news out in the public domain. When the police investigate and presents the facts, it does in front of the court where the defence also has the right to fight and present the facts to the court, a judiciary body that is independent of the other pillars of the democracy. Whereas the media just presents the facts that they think is correct and frames a side, the other side has no right to defend themselves. The party that is declared guilty by the media become guilty in the eyes of the people and has no chance of redemption. The media must understand that they have a greater responsibility to refrain from showing the news that can leak sensitive information about the case and hamper the investigation. Media is like the 4 th pillar of democracy and has the power to sway the people in whatever side that they want to. The investigation teams must also be trained in what information should be shared and what should not be, as that can make or break the case.
Singh then said that sometimes the clues can be found easily whereas many times when dealing with terrorists finding clues that connect and make sense are difficult. The investigation agencies have to look for clues both on the scene and off the scene. The area has to be extensively swept for any evidence and the dump data, like the phones connected to the nearby tower, same phone present at different locations of crime. The data has to be looked through carefully as the evidence is hidden in them to crack the case.
When talked about the investigation that followed the encounter Singh mentioned that the team that has done the encounter is never a part of the investigation team, however since there is not one agency for looking into the encounters, the media and the people still claim that the teams are the same and hide facts that do not show the police in good light.
The two roles that Singh played were both of important as one dealt with the physical and internal security of the country whereas the other with the economy and social security of the country. Both these roles are fulfilling in their own way and give an immense sense of satisfaction knowing that one is doing something that will help the country be a better place in all aspects.
The conversation ended with Esha thanking Singh and Bhatia on an insightful conversation on the encounter that happened in Batla House and how the media had twisted the facts that were presented.