‘Heat and Dust-between India and Zion’

The Israeli Embassy in India has organized a unique online exhibition—“Heat and Dust-between India and Zion”—that shows the influence of this country and its culture on Israeli art. On display are rare photos taken by noted late Israeli photographer Tim Nachum Gidal who had come to India to “shoot” Mahatma Gandhi on a special assignment. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with India International Centre and can be viewed till 25 July. It is an attempt to examine how artists in a wide range of media use their work to represent hidden and revealed aspects of India and its culture. Most of the artists are Israeli, while some are descendants of the Jewish communities in India who live in Israel or the United States. Some of the artists are Israelis who have travelled in India. Another group of artists are Indians who live or have lived for long periods in Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have visited India. Indian cultural expressions such as yoga, meditation, music and dance have a growing influence on Israeli culture and society. This exhibition is an artistic perspective how Indian “motifs” and “influences” are expressed in Israeli art. For the first time, works of Tim Nachum Gidal (1909-1996) have been presented in India through this exhibition. One of Israel’s most important photographers, he was a member of a group of prominent photographers worldwide who developed the art of photojournalism and became famous in the field. He published books and research papers, and was granted several awards. In 1940, he came to India on a photo assignment and clicked pictures of Mahatma Gandhi. Those pictures are part of this exhibition. Rony Yedidia Clein, Chargé d’affaires at the Israeli Embassy told The Sunday Guardian that “India is a font of ideas and inspirations for artists and photographers everywhere.  This interesting online exhibition reflects the unique connection between India and Israel in the form of various artworks and photographs.” L.S. Tochhawng, Chief, Programme Division and Secretary IIC Film Club, India International Centre, said, “This exhibition which presents a wide range of artists engaged in different art practices is an exciting one as each of the artists have had an India/Israel connection unique to them.”

Controversy Over ‘Gobind Ramayan’

Did Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, write a Ramayan? Top Sikh religious bodies deny this and are demanding a ban on a book on this subject. A controversy has erupted as a well-known Sikh lawyer and Congress Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh, K.T.S. Tulsi, some days ago presented the first copy of ‘The Ramayana of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji’, written by his late mother Baljit Kaur Tulsi, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister took to Twitter and posted photographs of his meeting with family members of Tulsi. Parliamentarian Tulsi’s daughter Japna Tulsi and granddaughter Mukti Tulsi were present on the occasion. In another tweet, Modi shared the audio of the Gurbani Shabad sung by the Congress MP. The PM said he was “touched” by Tulsi’s gesture. The book has been published by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. The Shri Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, has demanded a ban on the book.The SGPC chief secretary H.S. Dhammi told The Sunday Guardian that Guru Gobind Singh had not written any Ramayana and associating him with it had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs.

During his address at the “Bhoomi Poojan” event of the Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya on 5 August last year, Modi had mentioned Guru Gobind’s ‘Gobind Ramayan’. This was later criticised by many saying that the Sikh guru never wrote anything as such. There were protests at some places against the PM’s utterance. The PM paid homage to Guru Gobind Singh on his 354th birth anniversary.

‘Comrade’ Jackie Chan Xi’s New Admirer

Beijing seems to be wooing Hong Kong’s elite to demolish “pro-democracy stir” in the former British colony which has attracted the world’s attention, especially of the USA and the European Union. China has accused the west for “encouraging the agitation.” Hong Kong-based Hollywood martial arts icon star Jackie Chan (67) is not only a part of the elite, he is world famous. Chan has now become an ardent admirer of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Kung Fu action hero says that he is proud to be a Chinese and feels very happy to see that the five-starred Red Flag is respected everywhere around the world. With his growing love for China’s might and wealth, “Comrade” Chan expressed his desire “to join the Communist Party of China (CPC)” at a recent symposium in Beijing in which Chinese film personalities shared their thoughts on the keynote speech delivered by Xi Jinping at the centenary celebrations of the party on 1 July.