Museum Treasure: The painted Vedas

When I stepped into the paintings gallery of the Government Museum at the Gadh Mahal in Jhalawar, a depressing sight greeted me — flickering fluorescent lights, dusty glass-fronted cabinets, and a general air of neglect. All this combined to ensure that the visibility of the exhibits was poor. The saving grace was the pops of colour on the walls from where the paintings were mounted.

I must admit that I was tempted to turn back without seeing the paintings, but then decided to do a quick round of the gallery — there was always the chance that there would something interesting lurking in the room somewhere. The first set of paintings I saw was a Baramasa, or a set of 12 paintings that depicted a mood and emotion for each month of the year. They were nice, but not particularly exceptional, and I moved on to the next display, a set of four paintings.

And realised immediately that I was seeing something extraordinary and unusual. So much so that I read and re-read the labels accompanying the paintings to reassure myself that the paintings were indeed a pictorial representation of the VedasRig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva — in (zoo) anthropomorphic forms.

Painted Vedas, Government Museum, Jhalawar, Travel, Museum Treasure, Rajasthan
RIG VEDA: The information card accompanying this painting says “Donkey faced God seated in padmasana, he holds veda and rosary in a hand and shown in meaningful posture”. [sic]
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My “now” song: Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal mein

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least? I have this with music — it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

My “now” song is Oho re taal mile nadi ke jal mein from the film Anokhi Raat and sung by Mukesh to music composed by Roshan with lyrics by Indeevar.

This song was a hot favourite during my college and University days in Pune and I have some fond memories associated with it…

  • of listening to this song on Vividh Bharati
  • of singing along while completing whatever assignment or journal I was working on at that time
  • of hostel gatherings and antaksharis where this song was a ‘must sing’.
  • of hearing this song rendered at every field trip and class picnics by a classmate who only knew this one song.

I was in Pune last week and met some friends from my University days. As it usually happens with old friends, there was some talk of the present, a little of the future and a lot of reminiscing about the past. And one of the things that came up was this song.

I sang the song then and I’m still singing it after a week. 🙂