6 NOV 2016 DR.BABURAO PATEL AND EDITORS

6 NOV 2016 DR.BABURAO PATEL AND OTHER STERN EDITORS

Death of the gossip columnist – DNA Article mentioning Tanqeed

Check out this DNA Article by Roshni Nair mentioning Tanqeed and me.
Once upon a time there were gossip columns that were daring, juicy and joyous even, free of PR pressures and vested interests. With corporate compulsions robbing columns of much of their spice, Roshni Nair walks down gossip lane to analyse changing trends and remember ‘stars’ like Devyani Chaubal, Baburao Patel and the unsung columnists who shaped our growing years
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Photo Credit – Pinkvilla, Memsaabstory
It’s the stuff of gossip legend. The irreverent Devyani Chaubal, the queen of natter who spawned many an imitation, incurred the white-hot wrath of Dharmendra for writing about his alleged sexcapades. “He was known to be a bit of a stud; Devyani’s account made him out to be a superstud. She wrote about how he serviced two to three starlets every day in the studios before he returned home to do his ‘home work’ on his wife’s bed…” the equally-irreverent Khushwant Singh wrote in his book, Women and Men in my Life. That Devi claimed to have been chased by the actor at a rally is well-known. Only, opinions differ on whether it was because she went to town about his sex life, or called Hema Malini a ‘stale idli’.
Celebrity-driven and venomous vintage gossip was both juicy and joyous. It reflected the uninhibited personality of the woman who died in 1995, her lonely sunset years a sharp contrast from her incident-filled prime. She is largely remembered for her relationship with Rajesh ‘Kaka’ Khanna. Some say she was a friend, some say she was in love with him. Devi herself claimed in an interview that she’d slept with him.
Her column Frankly Speaking in Star & Style and Eve’s Weekly magazines struck fear in the hearts of film stars. With a stroke of her pen, she demolished carefully-moulded casts of celluloid gods, exposed their frailties, then rubbed it in with some merciless mocking. More often than not, Frankly Speaking allowed its witty maker to get away with murder.
Regardless of what one makes of Devi’s venom (she once said Anil Kapoor looks like “an ordinary pickpocket”) and Kaka obsession, there’s no denying her influence on the Indian gossip column. It was she who popularised Hinglish — a style taken forward by Stardust‘s first editor, Shobhaa De (then Shobha Rajadhyaksha).
“Devi had an outstandingly sharp tongue and mind and a good ear for chatter, much like you need a good eye to be a curator,” says author Namita Gokhale, who published the film magazine Super with her husband, the late Rajiv Gokhale. “Hers was a distinct voice. The writing reminded you of the confidential sharing between two people, making you feel like you were the only one privy to the information. This intimacy is at the heart of the gossip column. And you don’t see it anymore.”
The gossip column should have ideally gone from strength to strength as the years passed, but no. Today’s columns, pale shadows of their glorious antecedents, have diluted, planted or stale contents passing off as ‘gossip’. Their dull personas fill us with nostalgia for the gossip columns of yore and the man who started it all — 35 years before Devi.
Patel rap
It wouldn’t be right to call Baburao Patel, editor-publisher of filmindia, a gossip columnist. He was more a reviewer. But his fabled snark dwarfed even Devi’s and set the tone for the kind of writing one saw in columns over time. filmindia‘s three columns, Bombay CallingYou’ll Hardly Believe That… and Pictures in Making had Patel sign off as ‘Hyacinth’ or ‘Judas’. “The entire mode of gossip is marked by innuendo, and filmindia was a master of innuendo. Most of it was in answers to letters because people wanted to verify rumours they’d heard about stars and studios. Sometimes, it would appear in the Studio Notes section,” informs Neepa Majumdar, author of Wanted Cultured Ladies Only, a book on Indian cinema and actresses of the 1930s-1950s.
Patel’s deadpan, offensive humour, which found an audience in no time, has fans even today. One of them is Greta Kaemmer, a vintage Hindi film buff and blogger at Memsaabstory who scans whatever filmindia copies she gets her hands on. “Stardust magazines from the ’70s were gleefully gossipy, but filmindia is my all-time favourite because of Baburao’s wit. Today’s film columns are poorly written and researched, and mostly unimaginative,” she feels.
nirupa-roy
(An April 1957 celeb descriptor from filmindia‘s Pictures in Making column. Nirupa Roy was one of the many Baburao Patel loved to pick on. Source – Memsaabstory)
It’s an opinion shared by film historian SMM Ausaja, who says Patel’s vitriol was not only extreme, but also taken sportingly by most: “When V. Shantaram’s Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje was released, the (review) headline Patel used was ‘Mental Masturbation of a Senile Soul’. He said Prithviraj Kapoor was an ‘uncouth Pathan who shouldn’t be in the industry’, that Dilip Kumar looked like ‘an escaped prisoner’ and Kishore Kumar reminded him of a monkey. But they took it in their stride.” Of course, there were exceptions. “Patel once said something that angered (actress) Shanta Apte so much that she went to his office and slapped him,” Ausaja says.
Baburao Patel went on to become founder-editor of the political magazine Mother India, establish a homeopathic company called Mother India Pharmaceuticals and member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (now BJP). But it’s filmindiathat he remains synonymous with.
padmini
(Baburao Patel being snarky like only he could. The ‘victim’ here was Padmini. Source- Memsaabstory)
Bachchan’s boycott
Writing about gossip without mention of Nari Hira’s Stardust is like Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. It was not only the cult Neeta’s Natter column, but the magazine as a whole that catapulted gossip to astral levels. The nicknames it gave people – from ‘La Tagore’ for Sharmila Tagore and ‘Mumu’ for Mumtaz to ‘Garam Dharam’ for Dharmendra and ‘Chi Chi’ for Govinda – became Stardust‘s calling card. “Stardust projected familiarity with the stars and caught on like no other film magazine ever had,” says film journalist Dinesh Raheja. Not least for the way in which it bared the stars of the day.
neeta-s-natter-gifts-for-stars
(Neeta’s Natter- ‘Gifts for Stars’. Source- Jai Arjun Singh)
Neeta’s Natter, honed by the raillery of Mohan Bawa but presented by a bejewelled black feline, was mostly about catfights and who was sleeping with who – sometimes in the form of a ‘blind item’ or a piece of gossip where people weren’t directly named, but alluded to. It took little time for Stardust to emerge a winner in the magazine wars of the 1970s. Veteran journalist Rauf Ahmed, who edited Super before moving to FilmfareMovieScreen and Premiere, harks back to the decade: “Stardust would tell you who did what at midnight and who was fighting with whom. Filmfarealmost collapsed as it became viewed as boring or ‘vegetarian’. I think much of the gossip was overblown – maybe not by Stardust, but by its sources, who may have added masala to seem more relevant.”
Super, which surfaced in 1976, had three gossip columns: GrapevineDeep Throat and Bitchin’, fine-tuned by Dubby Bhagat (an alumni of the cult magazine, Junior Statesman). That’s how columns worked: industry insiders gave the dope, and writers or editors put the punch across. Super‘s sources would get Rs 50 for each piece of gossip, shares Namita Gokhale.
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(Zeenat Aman on the cover of Super, October 1977. Source – Pinkvilla)
“Our gossip was sardonic and bitchy, not scandalous,” laughs Ahmed. “The staff at Super was carefree and enthusiastic. We didn’t seek favours – in fact, we’d be the ones taking actors out for coffee, not the other way round. I remember for our first cover story, Namita said ‘Take Dimple (Kapadia) to Rendezvous (at Taj Mahal Palace) and interview her there.’ That standard of interacting with people isn’t there now.”
The rampaging Stardust, meanwhile, was boycotted by Amitabh Bachchan, allegedly over a story on him and Zeenat Aman. Saumit Sinh, founder-editor of the Mumbaiwalla blog, provides the backdrop. “Bachchan met with Dilip Kumar and five-six others who were ‘harassed’ by the magazine. But Stardust got to know about it and published the story about the boycott. Later, during the Emergency, many publications such as Stardust were clamped down on. Thinking Bachchan’s friendship with the Gandhis was to blame, Nari Hira created an association of film magazines, which collectively decided to not write about him,” he says.
Regardless, Stardust continued with the gossip without directly naming Bachchan, instead referring to him as “‘Jaya Bhaduri’s husband’ or ‘Lambu’. The stalemate eventually ended after the release of Bachchan’s 1991 film Ajooba.
It is naive to believe that gossip wasn’t a bitter pill for some even in the bohemian 1970s. But compare the columnist’s autonomy then versus now, and one realises that it’s a sorry state of affairs, what with defamation or libel lawsuits flying in all directions. Legal charges against writers did exist, but they weren’t as plentiful as today. “I remember a gossip item about Raaj Kumar telling a director ‘Jaani, tumhare sar se Bijnor ke tel ki boo aati hai‘ when asked why he didn’t want to act in his film. Nobody could file a court case against something like this. It was such fun to read about,” says Gokhale.
Beyond (linguistic) boundaries
Gossip’s appeal took it beyond the confines of English magazines into regional publications, where it caught on like wildfire. Rangbhoomi, a Hindi magazine dating to the 1930s, may have been the genesis for others of its kind: Cinema Sansar, and the much younger Filmi Duniya and Filmi Kaliya. But the gold star is Mayapuri, the oldest Hindi film weekly that was – and still is – a staple in barber shops across the country. Its popularity has much to do with the late poet-dramatist KP Saxena, who with his Lakhnavi tehzeeb and biting satire infused new life into the Hindi gossip column.
“Saxenasaab was so gifted,” says Mayapuri editor PK Bajaj. “He was a perceptive social commentator, a fixture at Kavi Sammelans and the dialogue writer of LagaanSwades and Jodhaa Akbar. His writing, although never scandalous, had a pan-Indian reach. In fact, he had legions of fans even in Pakistan.”
(The December 29, 1974 edition of Mayapuri magazine, featuring Hema Malini on the cover. Source- Mayapuri)
KP Saxena, however, was of a rare breed. The English film gossip boom in the 1970s led to similar (and numerous) offshoots in vernacular media, and most tried to mimic Devyani Chaubal’s writing style. Author-journalist Dilip Thakur, who writes on Hindi and Marathi cinema, remembers the ‘Devi wave’. “Editors would ask us to write like her. Regional magazines ko itna readership mila ki poocho mat,” he says. “But this wasn’t so in Marathi publications. Gossip was muted until the 1980s – when Varsha Usgaonkar and Ashwini Bhave came into the picture.”
Marathi periodicals may have warmed up to gossip later than their linguistic cousins, but Thakur is quick to add that this doesn’t mean they were blind to it. An example is the hullabaloo raised almost 80 years ago, when Meenakshi Shirodkar – grandmother of Shilpa and Namrata Shirodkar – became the first Indian woman to wear a swimsuit on screen, in the 1938 Marathi film Brahmachari. “Marathi papers went berserk. It was a controversy so big that it sprouted andolans,” he laughs.
Is gossip dead?
Gossip of the scandalous kind became non-existent in the 2000s, giving way to tamer versions, including in Neeta’s Natter. Many hold the corporatisation of both, the Hindi film industry and publications, responsible. And although celebrity managers like Bunny Reuben (Raj Kapoor’s publicist) were around, they’d recede once a rapport with their clients was established. “We had personal access. This allowed you to observe stars closely, notice idiosyncrasies, be privy to interesting conversations, and bring that in your writing. You could also count the number of publications on your hand, so the celebrity-journalist equation was valued. Now they rarely remember names,” says Dinesh Raheja.
Rauf Ahmed also points to the influx of award shows. Publications need stars to attend their shows in order to get eyeballs, meaning they can’t be as catty as they once were. “Now there’s a fear of writing anything that would make a celebrity avoid your show. Earlier, stars were obliged to magazines. It’s the other way round today. We’ve now got a Gabbar Singh culture.”
Compulsions like these are downers for people who grew up in the golden age of gossip. Those were the days periodic subscriptions or visits to the library were occasions entire families looked forward to, just to get their hands on the latest gupshup tinsel town had to offer.
Rafi Mohammed was one of those people. He started his blog Tanqeed seven years ago to post film reviews, but veered towards posting old magazine scans, interviews and articles after spotting an old Gulzar interview on a fan page. That took Rafi back to his teenage years, when he’d buy magazines every Sunday from hawkers or hop over to a relative’s house to read Filmfare. “Actors back then weren’t accessible to the general public, so any news, gossip or interview was eagerly awaited. Today, most gossip is just PR for some upcoming movie. And celebrities no longer have mystery or enigma,” he says, listing Rekha’s Filmfare interview about Amitabh Bachchan and the Sanjay Khan-Zeenat Aman article in CineBlitz as his top picks.
Indeed, planted stories are a norm – which is why much of the gossip now finds its way online (an exception being Rajeev Masand’s column in Open). One such site is Pinkvilla, whose US-based publisher Nandini Shenoy says she started the blog to cater to the gossip-hungry crowd. “People like to read about scandals, affairs and controversies. This only reiterates that there’s interest in gossip. Yet, pressure to pull down stories through PR managers and other influencers is equally high,” she shares in an email interview, adding that the gossip column as it existed is dead.
Naysayers feel gossip columns allow for false claims, propaganda by vested interests and little to no fact-checking or research, but others beg to differ. Their sources, they say, are trustworthy, and claims or news are verified before being published. Archita Kashyap, senior editor at Pinkvilla, elaborates: “Even for blind items, we have solid information. For pieces in which people are named, we make sure there are at least two-three sources. Corroborating is important. If I don’t get a second corroboration, I keep things open-ended. At the end of the day, we’re all voyeurs. And what’s the point of being a journalist if you have to go through ‘right channels’ to get news? Then you’re not a journalist.”
The twilight zone
Gossip about actors, actresses and filmmakers is still easy to access compared to chatter about corporates and politicians. Just ask Delhi-based ‘Jack’, who manages the no holds barred Fashionscandal. A former journalist, Jack established his own site for gossip after the pressures of print journalism got his goat. His uninhibited way of covering the shadowy lives of the rich and famous culminated into 47 legal cases, of which four are ongoing. “I’m very proud of my reputation as a besharam, because I have reliable sources and people hate me for it. But gossiping about corporates and politicians is dangerous. I’ve been beaten, blackmailed and summoned by cops for writing about them,” says the man who’s written about Mallika Sherawat’s purported sugar daddy gifting her the Los Angeles villa she stays in for a good part of the year.
But it’s not just netas and businesspeople who seem safeguarded against gossip of the investigative kind. Saumit Sinh, who says he was arm-twisted by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for writing about a supposed illegal lapse by the bourse, thinks social reportage is dead too. The belief isn’t far-fetched, for we’re no longer privy to ‘Page 3’ coverage and tell-alls about the affluent, the wannabes and everyone in between. High society isn’t covered like it once was. “All so-called entertainment pages would once cover society, but now, it’s like the only celebrities are Shahrukh and Salman,” says Sinh, who also laments the dearth of genuine, credible insiders.
Columnists today write several times a week, and much of it is boring, feels Outlook contributor and former UN diplomat Bhaichand Patel. Political columnists were always few and far between, with Khushwant Singh, Vinod Mehta and Behram ‘Busybee’ Contractor holding fort. But their writing was far superior to what you see today. And papers like Current — in which Devyani Chaubal broke the story about Dilip Kumar’s nikaah with Asma while he was married to Saira Banu – and Russi Karanjia’s political weekly Blitz aren’t around anymore. “People don’t write about politicians’ or corporates’ private lives. That’s an unwritten rule, unless they get into trouble. Then it’s a free-for-all,” says Patel, adding that advertising obligations double as muzzles. “Baburao Patel wrote scandalous things about actors and filmmakers of that era, to the extent that some stopped advertising in filmindia. But he didn’t care.”
A senior journalist, on condition of anonymity, bemoans that even vaunted columnists avoid writing about something as plain as tycoons or ministers having romantic liaisons. “A former PM had a journalist-girlfriend. He was unmarried, so it’s not like he was doing anything wrong. Yet, no one dared mention it. Another former PM has a biological daughter few outside political and journalistic circles know about. It’s not reporters, but newspaper proprietors who don’t want these things going public,” he says.
There is an invisible Lakshman rekha political journalists don’t cross. Which is why some anonymously share what they know on other platforms. “The Daily Telegraph or London Times‘ reporters often contribute incognito to Private Eye magazine if certain compulsions prevent them from writing about something in their own papers. We don’t have anything like that in India,” says Bhaichand Patel.
Gossip – or fact – may be circulating about the not-so-savoury private lives of politicians, but it rarely finds its way into the public domain. That’s the stuff confined to press clubs, drawing rooms and the various Lutyens handles on Twitter.
Devi and Baburao Patel may not have approved.
#articles#dharmendra#exclusive#gossip#hema-malini#rafi-mohammed#rajesh-khanna#rekha#sanjay-khan,#stardust#zeenat-aman

Juicy Gossip Stories from the Past

mamta• Hema was with Dharmendra and Jeetendra with Shobha. But when Hema and Jeetu started working together they fell madly in love. Secretly they decided on marriage. During an outdoor shoot they would have almost completed their pheras if Shobha and Dharmendra hadn’t got a clue to the situation and rushed to the spot and brought back their respective partners.
• Sridevi had fallen in love with Mithun Chakraborty on the sets of Rakesh Roshan’s Jaag Utha Insan. But Mithun was already married to Yogeeta Bali and they had a son. Sridevi had also pleaded with Yogeeta to leave Mithun, but of course she didn’t let go. Sridevi and Mithun had got married secretly and later Mithun admitted to the press. But only when a fan magazine published their marriage certificate! Yogeeta Bali took an overdose of sedatives, after which Mithun went back to his wife.
• When Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu looked like they had the perfect marriage, out came his marriage with Asma. When Saira threw a fit and asked for a quick divorce, Dilip Kumar retracted to Saira and divorced Asma. Asma remained the loser all the way, as she had left her husband and children to be with her beloved. She tried suicide and later went back to her former husband.
• Karisma and Ajay were madly in love with each other. That was before Ajay fell madly in love with Kajol. Karisma had called Ajay one day while he was on an outdoor shoot and heard a female voice in his room. She threw a fit and left in a huff. Quickly, Kajol moved in leaving her long-standing boyfriend Kartik.
• Rekha got into a heady alliance with Sunjay Dutt (then referred to as her toyboy) after she was disallowed to meet Amitabh Bachchan. Even when he was in hospital after the accident on the sets of Coolie she went in for a relationship with a vengeance and did whatever she did rather publicly. It lasted a month.
• Kamalahasan and Sarika were in love, but not public about it for some time. But Sarika got pregnant out of wedlock. Of course, Vani Ganapathy, his wedded wife, raised an uproar and went public. But Sarika went ahead and gave birth to her love child. Later they got married and have recently split.
• Rajesh Khanna, the 30+ Superstar was into a relationship with Anju Mahendru when he announced his runaway marriage to a girl half his age, the 16-year-old Dimple Kapadia. Dimple at that time was romantically involved with Rishi Kapoor. The marriage was a disaster and the Superstar moved on to Tina Munim. Dimple left with her two daughters and made a dramatic comeback with Sagar opposite Rishi again. Later she was also involved deeply with Sunny Deol. As for Rajesh and Tina, their love could be measured by the fact that they would even share their toothbrush and were the first ones to start ‘living together’. Later, Tina married Anil Ambani.
J’accuse!
Boney-Sridevi
• The latest was, of course, Preeti Jain who accused Madhur Bhandarkar for ‘raping’ her for five yeard. She alleged that he had promised to cast her in his film. Though it created quite a sensation and nightmarish time for Madhur it fizzled out.
• A huge ruckus was created by Vivek Oberoi when he called a press conferance to tell the world that Salman, blinded by his ‘love’ for Aishwarya had called him up 41 times in the middle of the night. Vivek went on camera sensationally charging Salman with harassment and even Aishwarya went on record saying how she was ill treated and mentally abused by Salman. Since Salman kept quiet and nothing came of it really.
• Mamta Kulkarni had accused Rajkumar Santoshi of asking her for sexual favours and on not complying her role was chopped off.
• Manisha Koirala had accused Subhash Ghai of chasing her down the corridors, though later she decided to keep mum.
• Mahima Chaudhary turned coat on her mentor Subhash Ghai, after her stunning success in her debut film, Pardes, and later back-pedalled.
• Tabu had accused Jackie Shroff of attemps to rape her after calling her to his friend Danny Denzongpa’s house. She apologised later.
• Chetan Anand’s sons, Ketan and Vivek, were charged and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy for the murder of Priya Rajvansh who had been living with their father. Later they were granted bail. Vijay Anand, too, took filmdom by storm when he married his much younger niece.
• Gulshan Kumar, the music baron, was gunned down in broad daylight in front of a temple. More shocking was Nadeem being accused of this murder and his fleeing to London, where he still lives.
• Producer Brij Sadanah gunned down his wife, daughter and son. And later killed himself. The wife and daughter died, but Kamal survived somehow. This was result of a family feud.
• Boney Kapoor’s marriage to Sridevi made his first wife, Mona, livid. Once when Sridevi was pregnant they came face to face in a party, and taking the opportunity Mona’s mom started assaulting her until Archana Puran Singh intervened and stopped the enraged woman.
• Rekha was seen running down a Juhu road after a fight with Raj Babbar in his office in the middle of the night. Amitabh Bachchan was waiting outside. Torn between the two men she wanted to flee from both. Amitabh in a white Ambassador tried to stop her, but she was hysterical and just kept running.
Mukesh Agarwal married her and was found having committed suicide very soon after.
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6 NOV 2016 DR.BABURAO PATEL AND EDITORS

5 NOV 2016 MARATHI RANGBHUMI DIN

Marathi Rangbhumi Din:

५ नोव्हेंबर..मराठी रंगभूमी दिन.

मराठी रंगभूमी खर्‍या अर्थाने इ.स.१८४३ मध्ये सांगली येथे उदयास आली. सांगली येथील संस्थानिक चिंतामणराव आप्पासाहेब पटवर्धन यांच्या आश्रयामुळे कै. विष्णुदास भावे ह्यांनी दि ५ नोव्हे.१८४३ साली सांगली येथे ” सीता स्वयंवर ” ह्या नाटकाचा प्रयोग केला आणि मराठी रंगभूमीचा पाया रचिला.. मराठीतील हे पहिले गद्य पद्यमिश्रित नाटक जन्मास आले.

नृत्य, गायन, अभिनय, देव, गंधर्व, अप्सरा, ऋषी, विदूषक इ.नी युक्त अशी ही पौराणिक नाटके सर्वसामान्यांची करमणूक करू लागली. मराठी संगीत नाटकांनी तर मराठी माणसाच्या हृदयात कायमचे स्थान निर्माण केले..

साधारणपणे एकोणिसाव्या शतकाच्या मध्यावधीस सुरु झालेली मराठी नाट्यपरंपरा तेव्हापेक्षा कितीतरी पटीने अधिक जोशात जोपासली जात आहे. दररोज नवनवीन नाटके रंगभूमीवर येत आहेत, यापुढेही येत राहतील. आजपर्यंत अनेक नाटके मराठी रंगभूमीवर आली. पौराणिक, ऐतिहासिक, सामाजिक, निव्वळ करमणूकप्रधान, रहस्यमय असे वेगवेगळे विषय आणि प्रकार मराठी रंगभूमीने हाताळले.

१७० वर्षाची ही रंगभूमीची परंपरा..आजही २१ व्या शतकातल्या गतिमान युगात, जोपासली जात आहे. ह्या १७० वर्षातील सर्व ज्ञात, अज्ञात कलावंत, तंत्रज्ञ आणि सहायक ज्यांनी ही परंपरा अखंड चालू ठेवली आणि मराठी रसिकांच्या मनात रुजवली त्या सर्वांचं अभिनंदन !

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5th November is celebrated as Marathi Rang bhumi din by entire Theater community of Maharashtra. This day in year 1843, Shree Vishnudas Bhave of Sangli Maharashtra had first theatre show called “ Seeta svyamvar “ There are many events organized by drama groups all over the state. Some Drama competition’s finals took place on this day. And some producers deliberately release their commercial dramas on this day. Marathi Theater has great history from 1843 to 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 NOV 2016 MARATHI RANGBHUMI DIN

31 OCT-6 NOV 2016 CHHATH PUJA_MAA USHA ARGHYA

Chhath

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chhath Puja
छठ पूजा
Official name Chhath Puja
Also called Chhathi
Chhath Parv
Chhath Puja
Dala Chhath
Dala Puja
Surya Shashthi
Observed by Madhesi Nepali and Bihari Indians, along with their diaspora
Liturgical Color Colors related to Hinduism
Saffron (or Bhagwa)
Type Cultural, Historical, Religious
Significance To thank Surya (Sun) for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and fulfilling particular wishes
2015 date November 15 to November 18[1]
2016 date November 4 to November 7[2]

Chhath (Devanagari: छठ, छैठ, छठी, छठ पर्व, छठ पुजा, डाला छठ, डाला पुजा, सूर्य षष्ठी) is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival dedicated to the Hindu God Sun (सूर्य देव) & Chhathi Maiya (ancient Vedic Goddess ; Usha – wife of Sun God ) historically native to North Bihar of India and Mithila State of Nepal.[3][4][5][6] The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.[7] This festival is observed by Nepalese people and Indian people along with their diaspora.

The Sun, considered as the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.

The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad(prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun.

Although the festival is observed most elaborately in Mithila Region of Nepal, Terai-Madhesh of Nepal, Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern UP, it is also more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence. It is celebrated in all Northern regions and major Northern urban centers in India bordering Nepal. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat[8][9] Bangalore,[10] Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom,Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, and Indonesia.

Date of the festival[edit]

Chhath puja is performed on Kartika Shukla Shashthi, which is the sixth day of the month of Kartika in the Vikram Samvat. This falls typically in the month of October or November in the Gregorian English Calendar. The exact date of the festival is decided by Central division of Janakpurdham in Mithila Region of Nepal which is applicable to Worldwide adherents.

It is also celebrated in the summer (March–April), on Chaitra Shashthi, some days after Holi; this event is called Chaiti Chhath.[11] The former is more popular because winter is the usual festive season in Nepal and also inBihar of North India. Chhath is an arduous observance, requiring the worshipers to fast without water for around 36 hours continuously.

Etymology[edit]

The word chhath means sixth in Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Hindi and local dialects and the festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the month Kārtika of the Hindu lunar Nepali calendar. The word is a Prakrit derivation from the Sanskrit ṣaṣṭhi, meaning sixth.It is the longest and most important festival after navratri. The very first day of chhath starts exactly 4 days from Diwali and last for 4 more days. This day the people who observe fast take bath at a river or pond and prepare lunch (consisting of rice,dal mixed with pumpkin and pumpkin, made in pure ghee). The second day (5th day from Diwali) is known as kharna or kheer- roti. In which the kheer( A Indian recipe where rice is prepared with sweetened milk instead of water) and chapati ( called roti in many Indian provinces). The people observe fast for the full day without taking even water and eat this kheer-roti as dinner after offering it to the rising moon and Goddess Ganga. This is the only time when they eat or drink anything from the starting of the day till the last day of chhath. The third day is the main festival day (exactly 6th day from Diwali) of chhath is observed by offering surya namashkar and fruits to the setting sun followed by the next day (exactly 7th day from Diwali) event of offering surya namashkar and fruits to the rising sun on the fourth or last day of chhath.

History[edit]

It is believed that the ritual of Chhath puja may even predate the ancient Vedas texts, as the Rigveda contains hymns worshiping the Sun god and describes similar rituals. The rituals also find reference in the Sanskrit epic poem Mahābhārata in which Draupadi is depicted as observing similar rites.

In the poem, Draupadi and the Pandavas, rulers of Indraprastha (modern Delhi), performed the Chhath ritual on the advice of noble sage Dhaumya. Through her worship of the Sun God, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problems, but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.

Its yogic/scientific history dates back to the Vedic times. The rishis of yore used this method to remain without any external intake of food as they were able to obtain energy directly from the sun’s rays. This was done through the Chhath method.[12]

Another history behind celebrating the Chhath puja is the story of Lord Rama. It is considered that Lord Rama of India and Sita of Nepal had kept fast and offer puja to the Lord Sun in the month of Kartika in Shukla Paksh during their coronation after returning to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. From that time, chhath puja became the significant and traditional festival in the Hindu religion and started celebrating every year at the same date in Sita‘s homeland Janakpur and adjoining Indian states of Bihar,

Chhathi Maiya[edit]

The Goddess who is worshipped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya. Chhathi Maiya is known as Usha in the Vedas. She is believed to be the beloved younger wife of Surya, the sun god. Usha and Pratyusha are wives of Surya and Aditi is his mother.

Usha is the term used to refer to dawn– The first light of day. But in the Rig Veda she has more symbolic meaning. Symbolically Usha is the dawn of divine consciousness in the individual aspirant. It is said – Usha and Pratyusha, wives of Sun are the main source of Sun. Both Usha and Pratyusha are worshiped along with Sun in chhath parva. Usha (literally-the first morning sun-ray) is worshipped on the last day and Pratyusha(the last sun-ray of day) is worshipped in the evening by offering water or milk to the rising and setting sun respectively. This is the only parva which signifies rising sun as well as setting sun both (छठ पूजा एक ऐसा श्रेष्ठतम पर्व हैं जहाँ डूबते हुए सूर्य से प्रार्थना करते हुए व्रत का प्रारंभ होता है एवं सूर्योदय कि पूजा के पश्चात व्रत सम्पूर्ण होता हैं “जैसे कि जीवन के संचालन के लिए रात्रि का उतना ही महत्व है जितना दिन का”)

Rituals and traditions[edit]

Chhath is a festival of bathing and worshipping,that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket.This is the only holy festival which has no involvement of any pandit (priest).The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death. It is seen as the most glorious form of Sun worship.

Nahay khay/Arwa Arwain[edit]

On the first day of Chhath Puja, the devotees take a dip, preferably in the river Kosi river, Karnali and Ganga and carry home the holy water of these historical rivers to prepare the offerings. The house and surroundings are scrupulously cleaned. The ladies observing the Vrata called vratin allow themselves only one meal on this day.

Lohanda and Kharna(Argasan)[edit]

On the second day of Chhath Puja, the day before Chhath, the Vratins observe a fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening a little after sunset. Just after the worship of Sun and moon, the offerings of Kheer (rice delicacy), puris (deep-fried puffs of wheat flour) and bananas, are distributed among family and friends. The Vratins go on a fast without water for 36 hours after 2nd day evening prashad (kheer)..

Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings) OR Pahela Aragh[edit]

This day is spent preparing the prasad (offerings)at home. On the eve of this day, the entire household accompanies the Vratins to a riverbank, pond or a common large water body to make the offerings (Arghya) to the setting sun. It is during this phase of Chhath Puja that the devotees offer prayers to the just setting sun. The occasion is almost a carnival. Besides the Vratins, there are friends and family, and numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshipper. The folk songs sung on the evening of Chhath.

Usha Arghya (morning offerings) OR Dusra Aragh[edit]

On the final day of Chhath Puja, the devotees, along with family and friends, go to the riverbank before sunrise, in order to make the offerings (Arghya) to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast by the Vratins. Friends, Relatives visit the houses of the devotees to receive the prashad.

The main worshipers, called Parvaitin (from Sanskrt parv, meaning ‘occasion’ or ‘festival’), are usually women. However, a large number of men also observe this festival. The parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, and for the prosperity of their offsprings. Once a family starts performing Chhatt Puja, it is their duty to perform it every year and to pass it on to the following generations. The festival is skipped only if there happens to be a death in the family that year.

The prasad offerings include sweets, Kheer, Thekua and fruit offered in small bamboo soop winnows. The food is strictly vegetarian and it is cooked without salt, onions or garlic. Emphasis is put on maintaining the purity of the food.[13]

Regional differences of rituals and traditions[edit]

There are few differences in rituals and traditions which have been observed between devotees performing Chhath Puja in Northern parts of Bihar and those of South Bihar. The north and south Bihar are divided by the river Ganges and so is the distinction between regions. Some traditions of the Puja are quite strict in North Bihar whereas it is more liberal in South Bihar. In general, it is the tradition that Thekua which is the Prasad (Offering to the God) should be strictly prepared on “mitti chulha” (traditional earthen stove) by using clean “wood sticks” as the fuel. This is religiously followed in North Bihar whereas devotees in South Bihar sometimes prepare the offering on Gas Stove depending on their comfort. Another difference which is observed is the “number of consecutive years” the puja is performed by a main worshiper. In northern side of Bihar, the tradition is that if a person becomes the main worshiper, he/she must continue this for 5 years plus 1 year where the additional 1 year is as sood (Interest). there is no maximum limit on the “number of consecutive years” a worshipper continued until he physically able to fulfill the purity of Puja

Pictures of Chhath Puja[edit]

Chhath (Devanagari: छठ, छैठ, छठी, छठ पर्व, छठ पुजा, डाला छठ, डाला पुजा, सूर्य षष्ठी) is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya and Chhathi Maiya (ancient Vedic Goddess ; Usha – wife of Sun God ) historically native to North Bihar of India and Mithila State of Nepal.[3][4][5] The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.[6] This festival is observed by Nepalese people and Indian people along with their diaspora.

 

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31 OCT-6 NOV 2016 CHHATH PUJA_MAA USHA ARGHYA