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The 29th of July, 1030 AD is an important day in the history of Norway. For, on that day, the well-organised farmer’s community in the Stiklestad, located in an area known as Verdal, saw itself threatened by an invading army, as the exiled King Olav Harldsson came from the East to claim back his kingdom. The area became the battlefield which marked the transition of the country from paganism to Christianity.

The Stiklestad National Cultural Centre at the location is a national hub institution with special responsibility for disseminating knowledge about Olav the Holy, the Battle of Stiklestad and the history associated with the events on the side.

The folk museum at Stiklestad consists of over 30 buildings, most of which are from the 17th and 19th centuries. The museum also has close to 30,000 objects and photos, some of which are in the buildings, but most are stored in a magazine.

Around the 29th of July each year, quite a few cultural activities get planned, including stage adaptations of the battle, often with audience being invited to participate.

The Tronder’s Right of Resistance

The oldest law in Trondelag that one becomes familiar with, Frostatingsloven, contains three chapters. These can be summed up as follows:

  • No man shall commit an act of violence…
  • But if the King should do this, you shall go after him and kill him…
  • But if he escapes, then he shall never return to the land.

An exhibition at the Centre presents a glimpse of everyday life in the heathen Viking age, when different regions practised diverse customs and traditions for religious succour. It also presents scenes from the battle and the changes the Christian medieval age brought with it – a uniform religion across the entire country.

Central to battle scene at the exhibition is the slaying of Olav. The blood from his three legendary wounds is later said to have created miracles. A year after the battle, Olav was made a saint of the Catholic Church. Thus, the battle became a turning point of the Norwegian history.

 

An interesting exhibit I discovered was a diagram which depicts the origin of several languages globally.

The effort to showcase the country’s rich history is indeed praiseworthy. Active dissemination of the same is even more laudable.

 

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/a-walk-around-the-city-of-trondheim-in-norway-part-1-of-2)

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Dadasaheb_Phalke_Stamp_1971As Indian cinema completes 103 years of its remarkable journey, it is time to remember the doyen of the industry whose passion, determination and perseverance started it all.

My Views On Bollywood

 By

 Sharada Iyer

 dadasaheb

A hundred and thirteen years back, one man’s passion and vision gave birth to what has become a billion dollar industry today which has managed to carve a unique identity for itself commanding respect from a worldwide audience and holds the distinction of producing the maximum number of films in the world in a year.

The man was Dhundiraj Govind Phalke or Dadasaheb Phalke as he is popularly referred to and with the release of his first silent film ‘Raja Harishchandra’, he not only became the Father of our Indian Cinema, but also inadvertently sowed the seeds of a passionate and deep-rooted relationship between movies and moviegoers in our country which has only grow deeper with the passage of time.

200px-Publicity_poster_for_film,_Raja_Harishchandra_(1913)My article is but a small tribute to this visionary genius…

May 3rd, 1913: This historic day marked the beginning of the journey…

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Mairie hall b4 collapse

Governor Bontemps gave me a glorious life in the year 1870,

I had a long innings of 144 years, serving all of you aplenty.

 

Just a year after I was born, the French Parliament gave you representation,

Panon Desbassyns de Richemont had the first honour by your recommendation.

 

The first seeds of your emancipation he and Ponnu Thambi Pillai alone pooled,

The latter walked into the court wearing shoes and established equality between the rulers and the ruled.

 

Local governance brought in better degree of autonomous gaiety,

When the first ever Municipal Elections were held in 1880.

 

The novel concept of Renocants was introduced through the 1881 decree,

A beginning of assimilation of two diverse cultures I could then see.

 

In 1892, setting up of the Gaebele (Bharati) Mill was a historic event,

The starting up of the Rodier (AFT) Mill in 1898 was no different.

 

As the farmers started acquiring industrial skills, making different work ethics align,

Of the faint stirrings of a home-grown ‘Swadesi’ movement there was a clear sign.

 

Subramaniam Bharati soon arrived and ignited your patriotic fervour,

1910 saw Sri Aurobindo come in and assume the role of a spiritual saviour. 

 

V. S. Aiyar and Va. Ra. shortly followed, giving an impetus to the freedom movement,

The French rulers were aware but did not think it worthwhile to comment.

 

I watched in horror as the twin disasters of two World Wars unfolded,

I salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice with my hands folded.

 

The year 1947 made me rejoice as the Indian Union awoke to its tryst with destiny,

I watched in quite sorrow as 1948 saw a farce election being held with impunity.

 

I was a dumb and mute witness to Monsieur Menard’s brutal repression,

Leading to a complete hartal in 1954, giving the natives’ wish an expression.

 

Our de facto transfer to India came about on the 1st of November, 1954,

The rich tapestry of French influence of 280 years became a part of history and folklore.

 

I witnessed the dream of Auroville manifesting itself in a manner grand,

With quiet dismay I saw the promenade losing its lovely stretch of sand.

 

Matri Mandir added to the golden-hued spiritual ambience of the town,

Enthusiasm of people from all over making Pondicherry their home could never be put down.

 

Having people who use 55 diverse languages and together face a tsunami-like adversity,

It sets a fine example, a testimony to cultural harmony and unity in diversity.

 

I did play an important role in making Pondicherry what it is at present,

An oasis of peace in a vast desert which is turning increasingly turbulent.

 

I breathed my last this day in 2014, hoping I shall be reborn soon,

A new body received in a spirit of harmony and utility shall be a boon.

 

My soul continues to hover unabated, shining through many of you,

I hope that you shall overcome your differences and rebuild me with a holistic view.

(Historical facts quoted from ‘A Concise History of Pondicherry’ by Prof. P. Raja, ISBN 81-87619-03-1)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/the-soul-of-mairie-speaks)

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With temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius, it is summer time in Norway. Flowers of all hues are in full bloom. The birds and the bees are going about their daily chores with gay abandon. Streams are in full flow. Fjords present a majestic tapestry of greenery interspersed with charming backwaters.

Denizens of the Land of the Midnight Sun are out in full force, soaking in the scarce sunlight, enjoying the greenery, swimming and indulging in other outdoor sports. That is, the ones who have not decided to take a vacation to some exotic locale in Italy, France or Switzerland.

Time to venture out and explore Oslo! We decide to start with the Oslo City Hall, which is the seat of the City Council and the City Government.

Outside the City Hall, an Astronomical Clock uses five hands to indicate time, sidereal time, the phases of the sun and moon, and eclipses.IMG_1445

The swan maidens Alrund, Svankit and Alvit are the first ones to greet us in the outside courtyard.IMG_1425

Fables of pre-historic times are beautifully presented in finely chiselled wooden reliefs, all works of Dagfin Werenskiold.IMG_1433

Embla and Ask, the Scandinavian version of Eve and Adam – the first human beings who appear from the mythical power of creation – are also there to receive us.IMG_1435

Inside, we find the main hall where the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony takes place.IMG_1473

All around, the walls are lovingly painted. There is Henrik Sorenson’s oil painting ’Work, Administration, Celebration’ adorning the back wall. Alf Rolfsen’s three ornamental works dominate the rest of the hall.IMG_1486

The fresco at the bottom of the staircase represents Oslo’s patron saint, St. Hallvard, and the woman he tried to rescue.  IMG_1469

Upstairs, we walk through the Hadrade Room, named after the founder of Oslo city, the Munch Room with his painting ‘Life’ adorning the back wall, the Festival Gallery and the Banquet Hall with the portraits of the royal family.IMG_1477

The Krohg Room has fascinating frescoes on changing seasons. The City Council Chamber is an open political arena where the public is allowed to observe the proceedings and the Storstein Room where a mural depicts how human rights and the torch of freedom were carried from the French Revolution in 1789 to the signing of Norway’s Constitution 200 years back, in 1814.IMG_1499

We are delighted to see a replica of the Taj Mahal, a miniature marble piece, gifted by an Indian Ambassador.IMG_1502

At noon time, a twelve gun salute declares the birthday of Queen Sonja who turned 77 on the 4th of July, 2014, the day we happened to be visiting the Oslo City Hall.IMG_1482

Within a space of two hours, thanks to elaborate paintings, frescoes and murals, we get a whiff of the history and culture of Norway. We also get a sneak preview of the artistic, literary and commercial accomplishments of the country.

Each nation has a unique culture of its own. It is justifiably proud of its accomplishments. The fact that a nation chooses to showcase its essential character in a magnificent manner touches a chord within us.IMG_1506

Our thoughts wander to the basic concept of a nation. Given the diversity in cultural values, ethnic origins and aspirations of people across our planet, it makes eminent sense to let a collective identity get perpetuated through the concept of a nationality. This fulfils the basic need of a unique identity being acquired by a group of people. By it’s very nature, the concept of a nation is a truly democratic one.

Unfortunately, boundaries also create problems when greed, avarice and envy rule the roost and replace the credo of freedom, equality and fraternity!

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/a-trip-to-norway-the-land-of-the-midnight-sun)

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