Monday, August 26, 2013

Biscoe's Cure


When Tyndale  Biscoe started his school, among many problems he had to deal with while trying to correct the character of Kashmiris was a problem of particularly vicious nature. He found most of his students addicted to literature of the dirty kind. He found the problem to be of epidemic proportions. He needed a cure for the disease. The solution he came up had a typical stamp of ingenuity. He talked to Dr. Neve and asked him how much paper can a human body have before it causes any serious damage. After getting the scientific estimate he put his solution into play: Any boy caught with such dirty literature was made to eat it.

Did the Pandit boys, who were probably not even allowed to have Tomato,  wonder if paper is Satvik or Tamasic?

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An Ad from The Indian Express dated December 9, 1942


Grande Odalisque (1814) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
The painter added a couple of extra vertebrae, an anatomical inaccuracy,
to make the painting more alluring, more eastern, he made the back of the woman more serpentine.
'Serpentine Head Gear'
Kashmiri Pandit Woman. 1939. [By Ram Chand Mehta]
A recently heard a Pandit priest claim that all Kashmiri women come from 'Nagas' or the Snake race. 

The snake woman or Lamia by J. Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling.
It accompanies the story of 'The snake-woman and the king Ali Mardan'
in 'Tales of the Punjab : told by the people' (1917) by Flora Annie Webster Steel (1847-1929). Another version of the story can be found in 'Folk-Tales of Kashmir' by Rev. J. Hinton Knowles (Second Edition, 1893. Narrated by Makund Bayu of Srinagar
), in which the snake woman claims to be Chinese and Ali Mardan Khan, actually the Mughal governor of Kashmir, builds Shalimar Garden for her. In Kashmiri the name for the snake is given as Shahmar.

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Kadru, is the mother of Nagas, and wife of Kashyap, the mythical creator of Kashmir. In, Adi Parva, we learn that Kadru cursed her offsprings for not doing her bidding. The curse with played out by King (Arjun's great-grandson) Janamejaya's famous Snake Sacrifice. The serpent race was saved by intervention by Astika, born of wedlock between Rishi Jaratkaru of Yayaver and Manasa, sister of Vasuki Naga.

[Near Jammu, Mansar Lake is the spot associated with Mansa Devi. One of the early description of the Lake can be found in Vigne's travelogue from 1842]

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