Martand Singh, PR head of Karan Mahal, Srinagar joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as a part of NewsX India A-list. In the exclusive interview, he spoke about Karan Mahal in Srinagar, the history behind it and much more. Excerpts:
Talking about his and his family’s decision to open Karan Mahal for the tourists of J&K, Martand said, “We opened up Karan Mahal for select and discerning tourists and travellers to Kashmir, about a year ago. It is a very unique property. It has been the royal residence of my great grandfather and my grandfather. It is a heritage property. We have about eight guest rooms. I think, to do justice to the place and allow people to have the same experience from such a unique location in Kashmir, that would probably be one of the main reasons for opening it up.”
When asked what sets it apart from other properties and the history behind the Mahal, Martand responded, “When our guests enter Karan Mahal, the first thing they do is, they run to the front lawns, which is overlooking the private orchard in the state of the forest and after that the Dal Lake and the snow-capped mountain range. The first thing they do is they go there and they start taking pictures, videos and face-timing their family members to show where they are. I think the main USP would be the unmatched location the property has in the valley. Coming to history, it was built for my grandfather Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh Ji. He moved there when he was four years old. It was built by his father Maharaja Hari Singh Ji and then he grew up there. His entire childhood was spent there. Subsequently, he became the crown prince of the J&K princely state. Thereafter, he became head of state and governor. Subsequently, he was a cabinet minister in Former PM Indira Gandhi’s cabinet.”
He further added, “He has had an illustrious career as many would know in public life and in public service, so that was his residence and he conducted all his activities from there. We have had many distinguished visitors including heads of state of the Soviet Union. Many illustrious personalities of our country as well, have visited and stayed with him there. Coming to the property itself, it has a lot of heritage elements as well. In a way, it is a testament to Kashmir’s arts and crafts and all the famous things it is known for— from the carpets to the handcrafted wooden ceilings. It has a European element as well, with the art deco furniture. All the rooms are very unique. Each room has its own special traits. There are some suites opening up to balconies, verandas and private gardens. It is a very unique property within Kashmir itself and, as you know, Kashmir has a lot of fabulous properties.”
The property itself has a lot of heritage elements and it is a testament to Kashmir’s arts and crafts and all the famous things it is known for —from carpets to ceilings.
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IS WEB 3.0 CHANGING THE INTERNET?
Web 3.0 is proposed to take the power back from tech giants and give every individual their own web presence on the internet.
Do you realise how different the internet we use today is from what it was just 10 years back? The internet itself has undergone several shifts to become what we see today. But this is not the end.
Some experts say that today’s internet is what the automobile industry looked like in the 1920s. This means, even after being around for almost 20 years, it still is in its growing stage. Changing and improving every other day.
With this ever-advancing technology, yet comes another buzzword-Web3. It has become the core focus of discussions among tech enthusiasts and crypto-geeks, an idea that focuses on eliminating all the intermediaries.
The World Wide Web was created so that every individual could do anything they wanted to. But, instead, the tech giants and the algorithms instead started dominating. Web 3.0 is proposed to take back the power from these dominators and give every individual their own web presence on the internet.
But where did it all start? Let’s dive into its origin!
WEB 1.0 AND WEB 2.0
The initial days of the web only allowed limited features. In the 1990s, with Web 1.0, people could only read information on the internet. There were no ways to interact with the information provider. Connected merely by hyperlinks, the syntactic web provided no option for the end-users to do anything else but just read what’s provided.
The era of static web pages ended with the emergence of Web 2.0 in the 2000s. It signifies today’s internet. Social media platforms and search engines like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have started giving people the freedom to interact, connect, and transact online. Web 2.0 encouraged end-users to transition from passive to active content providers. Today, almost everyone, from every corner of the world, can access the internet.
Although developed for every individual, critics say that big corporations have dominated the internet and exercised too much power.
Web 3.0 is intended to take back the power and give it to every user equally.
EVOLUTION TO 3.0
The platforms we use today are owned by a group of companies. Web3 aims at changing this aspect by coming up with new social media platforms and search engines that will have no controller—decentralised.
Experts say that the next version of the internet, the semantic web or Web 3.0, will be more intelligent than the one at present. In simple words, the idea behind this is to merge today’s worldwide web with Blockchain technology—the famous technology behind cryptocurrencies.
In Web 3.0, developers build programs on the blockchain, decentralised peer-to-peer servers, or a hybrid of the two called Apps.
WILL WEB 3.0 BE THE NEW NORM?
Web 3.0 has huge potential, and apparently, it’s already here. But some experts say that Web 3 won’t totally replace Web 2 anytime soon and will work simultaneously.
This means blockchain-based social media platforms may grow and provide more efficiency than what we are experiencing now. But, it won’t wipe off the already dominating tech giants in the near future. There is also a huge chance that the Web2 companies will merge into the Web3 technologies to stay relevant in the ever-advancing world.
A good example would be how Facebook, a Web2 world company, tapped into the metaverse space.
WHY IS WEB 3.0 HYPED UP?
There are a lot of reasons why everyone is looking out for the next generation of the internet.
Web 3.0 is aimed at providing:
1. Complete ownership of data to the end-users.
2. Elimination of intermediaries or central authority.
3. Privacy and tracking of information.
4. Incentivise creators andeveryone maintaining the network.
Without a doubt, having so much of society’s social fabric and economic systems dependent on infrastructure controlled by a few private businesses is detrimental.
WHAT ABOUT ITS DOWNSIDES?
With every good thing, come its drawbacks. Even with the highly intelligent paradigm shift of the internet from 2.0 to 3.0, there are certain challenges to face.
Devices that are less advanced won’t be able to tap into the new stage.
Too complicated for newcomers.
Web 1.0 will appear even more outdated.
Sceptics say “Web 3.0 is vapourware”, i.e., something that’s being promised but can never be delivered. Others say that people have too much money to invest and to do that they just need a reason.
Nonetheless, even though Web 3.0 is mostly theoretical as of now, if the above problems can be fixed, we will be able to experience a massive shift in the internet space for the good.
It is not about taking down Facebook or Google, but more about less control and transparency.
We deserve much better than to be controlled by powerful monopolies. Any platform that paves the pathway for transparency and freedom is sure to take over the digital space in the future.
Web 3.0 has huge potential, and apparently, it’s already here. But some experts say that Web 3 .0 won’t totally replace Web 2.0 anytime soon and will work simultaneously.
The next internet stage will change the way we interact. More precisely, Web 3.0 will be:TRANSPARENT
Transparent in the sense that applications and programs will be built using open-source software by an open community of developers. The development and deployment of these applications will be transparent, and anyone can benefit from the available virtual resources. TRUSTLESS
This means the total elimination of intermediaries. People can transact and interact without the involvement of any “trusted” third parties. PERMISSIONLESS
In today’s internet stage, the few big companies that own the social media platforms that we use hold all our information. Yes, every bit of data we put out there. We won’t know exactly how this information is being used, as scary as it may sound.
Decentralisation targets this side of the web. Web 3.0 will ensure everyone can stay autonomous. There would be no need to share sensitive personal data. Plus, since there will be no governing body, which means, anyone can use the internet to their benefit without anyone’s approval.
Indian Freedom fighters: The ladies beyond their time
The freedom we have been bestowed is a corollary of the blood and sweat of the brave hearts who had the spark to outshine the mastery of British ascendency.
Let’s learn the untold story of some gallant fighters who gave us Free India and uprooted the enslavement.
In an era where women were believed to be delicate dolls adorned with jewels, Durgawati Devi, also known as Durga Bhabhi, crafted history with her contributions to the National Freedom Struggle against the British East India Company. ‘The Agni of India’ married at the age of 11, became a member of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, and played an important role in the escape of Bhagat Singh after Saunders’ killing in 1928. She attempted to slay Lord Hailey (an atrocious Britisher) as a revenge for Bhagat Singh’s hanging but failed, consequently landing in prison. The brave lady was much beyond her time, bearing the flag of women’s empowerment.
At the age of 62, the dauntless lady Matingini Hazra set an example of a zealous nationalist. In 1932, when the Civil disobedience movement was relaumched, Poor pesant Matingini became instrumental in the freedom struggle and started actively participating in movements aiming to dethrown the Britishers. In 1942, when the Congress workers decided to besiege the police stations and government offices, Hazra took the initiative to lead the movement. The 73-year-old lady paved the way along with six thousand supporters to capture Tamluk Police Station. The Crown police ordered the march to dissolve when it got close to the town, invoking Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code. A bullet struck Courageous Matangini as she moved forward and begged the cops not to shoot at the gathering. Despite being shot, she moved forward, changing Vande Matram. Drenched in blood, taking her last breath, the warrior held the tricolour high.
Bhikaji Rustom Cama
It was August 21, 1907. Thousands of people were gathered to attend the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. The fearless Bhikaji Rustom Cama took to the attention of those thousand representatives and unfurled the Indian Tricolour on the foreign ground, leaving the crowd awestruck.
“Behold, the flag of independent India is born! It has been made sacred by the blood of young Indians who sacrificed their lives in its honour. In the name of this flag, I appeal to lovers of freedom all over the world to support this struggle. “
The entire crowd was amazed by the unforeseen incident, and stood to salute the Indian flag.
Despite being aware of the repercussions of defying the British, the intrepid heroes, or shall I say heroines, exhibited an imbued patriotism.
Craftomaniacs and Handloom Hysteria
This year is the commemoration of the 8th Indian handloom celebrations. The theme this time is towards increasing the income of weavers, with the focus on augmenting the sales count of handloom items on e-commerce websites.
The latest disorder seen among people is craftomania. It is the latest rage and the most revolting pseudo idea shared online. Also, it is gross when every nook and corner boutique owner puts out a photograph of their tailors with a placard that says, “I made it.”
A handloom worker weaves a unique and beautiful design.A handloom worker weaves at Sintha Handloom and Handicrafts Complex CFC, in Imphal.
If you look closer, there is a larger canvas of inequality. There are block printmakers, tie and dye workers, some who stitch the button holes in an exorbitant garment, and also the embroiderers who thread the needle with sometimes very poor visibility, yet they stoically continue the craft. Do they equally benefit financially from this craftomania disease? One thing is for sure, it makes the ones sporting this mania the “intelligent, aware folks,” but the truth is far from the picture that’s painted.
Many craftomaniacs do not hesitate to haggle on the price of a handloom sari or a few metres of fabric with the non-English-speaking weaver but are part of the handloom hysteria for exactly one day.
This year is the commemoration of the 8th Indian handloom celebrations. The theme this time is towards increasing the income of weavers, with the focus on augmenting the sales count of handloom items on e-commerce websites.
But we are far away from the 26,73,891 handloom weavers, spread across India, many of whom remain officially unaccounted for.
According to Prasad Bidapa, the iconic fashion Guru of India, who has been representing Indian handlooms across the world, said, “Handloom is the handwriting of our heritage, a continuous process since ancient times of weaving exquisite fabrics. India is unique, with a variety of hand-woven treasures that define our culture and make us the proud torchbearers of tradition and beauty. Wear handloom often!”
There is no definite historical evidence as to when the Indian weaving industry started. Though, according to popular belief and circumstances, it might have started in the 8th century, which dates back to the Chalukya dynasty, when weaving was in full swing.
In the 21st century, the handloom sector is the second largest economic activity after agriculture. We have around 6 million farmers in India who have their livelihoods dependent on cotton production.
The handloom industry dates back to the pre-independence period, and the new economic policy in India was implemented to thrust this industry towards growth. But, we are yet to see these policies fully implemented and also the lost craft reinvented, keeping it in sync with modernity.
As the handloom industry is mostly concentrated in rural India, it remains the most unorganised sector in the country. But there are many organisations like Hundred Hands, Dastkar, and FICCI FLO, which have introduced initiatives where the weavers and artisans can directly sell to the buyers. According to Jayshree Menon, Chairperson of FICCI FLO Bengaluru Chapter, “By taking handlooms forward, we are going to be promoting the richness of our culture and history. There is so much potential that it offers, all we need to do is to bring it into the mainstream.
The aftermath of Covid-19 left a very large number of weavers who suffered losses in business. Many of them have changed jobs, and some have abandoned spinning yarns in favour of power looms in order to save manpower, money, and time. In the process, they also often lose the art that they are bestowed with.
The National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP) is an attempt to facilitate the sustainable development of handloom weavers located in and outside identified handloom clusters into cohesive, self-sustaining work. But there is still a long way ahead, though a few brands are incorporating Indian handlooms into their style.
Aratrik Dev Burman, Founder of Tilla, opines, “Indian handlooms form the core of Tilla. Besides being unique and beautiful, they employ a very large number of artisans all over the country, keeping traditional knowledge systems and identities alive. Our textiles are among India’s finest gifts to the world!”
India needs to create a wholesome organised sector for the handloom industry, where lost and dying arts can once again be reinvented.
One does get turned off as a buyer with the selection of colours on motifs that can sometimes be garishly kitschy with the sensibilities of a rural product. As much as the world market appreciates the idea of handmade items, we have to also understand that to become a big player in the international market, the weavers need to be trained and educated on softer colours and quality that is on par with the world. This can fetch a good price, thereby making their lives better and keeping the art alive.
Many genuine craft lovers have complained, saying that there is a delay in receiving products from weavers. They are still not trained in understanding the on-time delivery commitments. Therefore, many genuine people give up this cause to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to ensure timely delivery of goods.
One must admit, craftomania is a very good movement, but it can’t survive if it remains only at a superficial level. This is way deeper and more challenging than just groups getting together to sell the idea of “handmade in India” to many Indians who don’t care.
Like Independence Day is celebrated across India, we need to also introduce Handloom Day as a national day of heritage among school kids who are generally busy thinking of the next iPhone model to buy or the latest fast fashion to don. They need to be educated on how fatal it is to the environment and to an economy that has many weavers languishing in poverty.
According to Pratima Pandey, Founder and Director of Pramaa, “Handloom needs to be respected as a language by the younger generation.”
Mohua Chinappa is an author and a podcaster of a show called The Mohua Show.
WHEN JASON MOMOA TURNED FLIGHT ATTENDANT, INTERNET GOES CRAZY
Jason Momoa surprised the passengers aboard a flight to Hawaii on Tuesday as he pushed the snacks cart, handing out water bottles. The video has now gone viral on social media and people are appreciating the actor for being so humble.
According to a report by the New York Post, Jason served water bottles of his own ‘Manalunu’ brand that promises to be a sustainable company. As per the report, Jason even gifted every passenger 10,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles.
On the work front, Jason will next be seen sharing screen space with Amber Heard in ‘Aquaman 2’. The sequel will also star original cast members – Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Patrick Wilson, and Dolph Lundgren. New stars to join the cast of the forthcoming action flick include Indya Moore and Jani Zhao. The film is slated for release in March next year.
LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND
Love is a spectrum, and the two ends are destruction and construction. We have destroyed lives in the name of love and built mausoleums in the name of love.
Carbon dating love is easy. It began with the love story of Shiva and Sati (Parvati), to Krishna and Radha, Savitri and Satyavan, Nal and Damayanti, Romeo and Juliet, Heer and Ranjha, Mirabai, Helen and Paris, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, and the list is never ending. Every day, there are people falling in love, dying for love, killing for love, heartbroken because of love and living because of love. But thousands of years later, love still stays as allusive and alluring as ever. There are more than 100 million love songs and countless stories, ballads, poems, movies on love and yet it seems like it is never enough.
The word love means many things-affection, bonding, broken heart, compassionate love, conjugal love, courtly love, falling in love, free love, friendship love, interpersonal relationship, intimacy, love addiction, love at first sight, triangle love, loving-kindness, lovesickness, love-struck, obsession love, passion, puppy love, relationship love, self-love, unconditional love, unrequited love, sexual passion, deep friendship, love for anyone, love for family, longstanding love and love for self. And most of us have experienced all of these.
Psychologists say that love can be understood in terms of three components. These three are intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment. Each component manifests a different aspect of love.
Intimacy: Intimacy refers to feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships. It thus includes within its purview those feelings that give rise, essentially, to the experience of warmth in a loving relationship.
Passion: Passion refers to the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and related phenomena in loving relationships. The passion component includes within its purview those sources of motivational and other forms of arousal that lead to the experience of passion in a loving relationship.
Decision/commitment: Decision/commitment refers, in the short-term, to the decision that one loves a certain other person, and in the long-term, to one’s commitment to maintain that love.
The three components of love interact with each other, and we form certain stories of and about love in our heads. Almost all of us are exposed to large numbers of diverse stories that convey different conceptions of how love can be understood. Some of these stories may be explicitly intended as love stories; others may have love stories embedded in the context of larger stories. They could be Eros (sexual passion), Philia (deep friendship), Ludus (playful love), Agape (love for everyone), Pragma (longstanding love), Philautic (love of the self), Storge (family love), Mania (obsessive love).
Various potential partners fit our stories to greater or lesser degrees, and we are more likely to succeed in close relationships with people whose stories more rather than less closely match our own. Although, the stories we create are our own, they draw on our experience of living in the world–on fairy tales we may have heard when we were young, from the models of love relationships we observe around us in parents and relatives, from television and movies, from conversations with other people about their relationships, and so forth.
Although the number of possible stories like genders is probably infinite, certain genres of stories seem to keep emerging again and again.
The problem with love is that we project our fantasies onto people and expect them to play the part, but people aren’t empty vessels for us to fill up with our daydreams and stories. When the daydreams, stories of two people complement, supplement, overlap, and are in sync, then we get a workable, sustainable, happy love story, but often it does not happen.
While there is no magic potion to ensure a never-ending love story, knowing the stories that are running in our head and in our partner’s helps towards understanding ourselves and our partner and making love last.
So, what’s your kind of love story?
• Love is an Addiction: Strong anxious attachment; clinging behaviour; anxiety at thought of losing partner.
• Love is a Business: Relationships and love is a business proposition; money is power; partners in close relationships as business partners.
• Love is a Collection: Partner viewed as “fitting in” to some overall scheme; partner viewed in a detached way as one collects artefacts.
• Love is a Cookbook: Doing things a certain way (recipe) results in relationship being more likely to work out; departure from recipe for success leads to increased likelihood of failure.
• Love is a Fantasy: Often expects to be saved by a knight in shining armour or to marry a princess and live happily ever after.
• Love is a Game: Love as a game or sport with the chase and the kill.
• Love is like Gardening: Relationships need to be continually nurtured and tended to like a garden.
• Love is like a Government: (a) Autocratic – One partner dominates or even controls other. (b) Democratic: Two partners equally share power.
• Love is like History: Events of relationship form an indelible record; keep a lot of records-mental or physical.
• Love is Horror: Relationships become interesting when you terrorise or are terrorised by your partner.
• Like is like a House and Home: Relationships have their core in the home, through its development and maintenance.
• Love is Humour: Love is strange and funny.
• Love is a Mystery: Love is a mystery and you should not let too much of yourself be known.
• Love is like a Police: You’ve got to keep close tabs on your partner to make sure he/she toes the line, or you need to be under surveillance to make sure you behave.
• Love is like Pornography: Love is dirty, and to love is to degrade or be degraded.
• Love is a Recovery: Survivor mentality; view that after past trauma, person can get through practically anything.
• Love is like Religion: Either views love as a religion, or love as a set of feelings and activities dictated by religion.
• Love is a Sacrifice: To love is to give of oneself or for someone to give of him or herself to you.
• Love is Science: Love can be understood, analysed, and dissected, just like any other natural phenomenon.
• Love is a Science Fiction: Feeling that partner is like an alien-incomprehensible and very strange.
• Love is like Sewing: Love is whatever you make it.
• Love is a Theatre: Love is scripted, with predictable acts, scenes, and lines and drama.
• Love is like a Travel: Love is a journey one undertakes and is like a journey too.
• Love is like War: Love is a series of battles in a devastating but continuing war.
• Love is a Student-teacher: Love is a relationship like that between a student and a teacher, one knows it all and the other must be taught.
Every day, there are people falling in love, dying for love, killing for love, heartbroken because of love and living because of love. But thousands of years later, love still stays as allusive and alluring as ever. There are more than 100 million love songs and countless stories, ballads, poems, movies on love.
Prof Chavi Bhargava Sharma, a PHD in Psychology,is the Founder and CEO of Indic Center for Psychological Wellness and Holistic Health and Conversationists-Talking Cues.
What will happen if you change your display picture to Tricolour?
“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom,” said Pandit Nehru on 14 August, 1947.
The speech ‘Tryst with destiny’ by Jawaharlal Nehru marked the end of 200 years of British Shackles leading India to the dawn of Freedom.
Celebrating 75 year of Independence, the government proposed the movement “Har Ghar Tiranga” to instil us with the spir nationalism nalism and to build a nation ‘where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action.’
Digging into the history of our nation,Pingali Venkayya, the Indian Freedom Fighter, born on August 2, 1876, took the responsibility to outline the Indian National Flag.
It was on April 1, 1921, when Pingali presented the design of the tricolour to Mahatma Gandhi. The predicament lies in the fact that the artist died in abject poverty and remained forgotten in society.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 2 suggested the idea of changing the display image of the social media account to tricolour until August 15. The gesture of changing the display picture might appear futile to some, but it has great cognitive profoundity.
PM Modi proposed the idea on August 2 with the contemplative aim of commemorating the birth date of the forgotten artist Pingali Venkayya, the designer of the tricolour.
Displaying the Indigenous work of art( National flag) as our display picture carries out the idea of imbibing the spirit of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Not only does it symbolise our self-subsisting approach, but it also marks the token of unity.
A similar display picture of everyone in a country with a population of over 1.3 billion will emenate the objective of our being Indian beyond all the religions, casts, and creeds.
We have witnessed the marvels of unity during the period of freedom struggle against the East India Company for over 200 years, and now is the time to exhibit unity in order to exterminate the challenges hindering our growth.
The National Flag is a perfect representation of diversified Indian culture. Additionally, it represents India’s integrity, unwavering courage, and esteem around the world.
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