tisdag 29 december 2015

Christmas times in Lucknow

Salaam my friends!

The last week has been full of work, with the thesis and Urdu studies and also we have celebrated Christmas!

Christmas is also celebrated in India of course, millions of Christians live here but also the commercialized version of Christmas is celebrated, like anywhere in the world.

We have watched great Urdu movies about colonialism and partition. We first saw Shatranj ke Khilari (the chessplayers) which is about the last Nawab and the role he had in the first war of independence against the British. The other one was Garam Hawa, which is about the struggles of a Muslim family after Partition in 1947 and the problems they face as a marginalized minority.
Really great movies!
We have been doing fieldwork in village communities about village politics and representation. This was truly rewarding. Since me and Beatrice had to celebrate the holiday alone we made our own version of a Swedish "Julbord" (Christmas food) which consisted of Lucknowi kababs which was delicious as usual!
Christmas is about chaning traditions right? I mean it was originally a pagan festival and Jesus is not even born in the winter time. 

We also did visit a Hindu temple, which is not just any ordinary Hindu temple but it was built by Muslims in the Nawabi period, a true example of Lucknow Tehzib or "tolerant culture"!
We also visited the Lucknow book fair which was very fun! And a lot of discounts on awesome books! 
Now it is only two days till New Years and after that we go to Hyderabad for fieldwork for a week! Really look forward for it! The food, the heat, the culture!

måndag 21 december 2015

Colonial heritages of Lucknow

Salaam my friends!

Today our awesome friend Nirutpal, who is a native to Lucknow has guided us around the former Residency, where the British garisson and colonial population lived during British rule, the Dilkusha gardens of the last Nawab, which was a training center for Indian resistence against the British.
And finally he also showed us the magnificent La Martiniere College, which is an astonishing piece of French and British colonial architecture, mixed with Nawabi styles.

It has been a really rewarding day. We saw the museum of the Residency and also discovered the place thoroughly. Even though how horrible the British were as colonial masters and expansionists, they still are a significant part of this country's history. We saw how civic life was for British citizens living in India and also how it worked as a colonial apparatus. A really broad dimension of it all.
This was also a very important place in the first Indian war of Independence and there was a huge battle between British and pro British Indian forces and the Indian forces wanting independence and self autonomy!

One can see true British but also Celtic architectural influences in the monuments and grave stones in particular. Not only Englishmen came here but also Scottish, Irish and Welsh people came through the British colonial project!

After that we went to the Dilkusha, which was the training camp for the Nawabs to organize their resistance against the British and colonial power. A very interesting place. Lucknow has such a trivial role in Indian independence movement and also Indian history, being one of the last independent kingdoms under the Nawabs etc.

Finally we also went to the "La Martiniere" college which is a magnificent pice of architecture and a colonial remnant which is still in use today. One can see the clear signs of French and British colonial influences, mixed with the Nawabi and Lucknowi ones. A true masterpiece of multiculturalism and also of architecture. It almost feels like being at a fancy French mansion in France when being there.

Me and Beatrice attended a local event later, organized by the local Muslim community which was made for promoting Muslim companies, battling unemployment and also for the cause of blood donation for local hospitals. An interesting mix of communal spirit. We also meet with people from Avadhnama, from the newspaper we visited. They are one of the organizers of the event.

After a long day I will call it good night!

Waleikum Salaam