Monday, March 01, 2021

Search Futile

Are you in my heart

or in my mind?

A happy little reverie

that's playing on rewind.

Where are you

pray reveal, be kind...

There's nothing on outside

Let me dive in and find.

Precious much is lost

in the daily grind.

Few slivers of your smile

is all that's left behind.

Unrequited Love

 She loved me,

    I didn't.

I love you,

    you don't.

You love him,

    he doesn't.

On and on and on

    grows the shackle

of broken hearts

    forged by

shattered dreams.

Your Eyes

Your eyes

kindred the darkest recess

of my mind...

Something awoke 

that was dead and gone...

Something stirred,

sputtered, crackled!

After eons of cold solitude

I jumped alive.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

What If Love Vanished From the Humanity

Have you ever wondered, what if ‘Love’ vanishes from the world and what happens then? There will be no love between a mother or father and the child, between siblings, between friends, between bloody absolutely anybody!

Nobody will fall in love. There will be no ‘lovers’ at all.

We will have admiration, respect, devotion, gratitude, fear and awe towards God but not love. Without love towards God, our devotion will be without soul. Humanity will lose its innocence. Love is the fuel of the soul and without this fuel the soul will seize to work and human beings will be like walking and talking machines.

Victor Hugo has quoted, "Life is a flower of which love is the honey." If there is no love, the flower is devoid of its sweet nectar and becomes just a good looking outer shell of colour and texture. Similarly, the human beings will be soulless, stone hearted creatures yielding to nobody.

Image courtesy:

The loveless world will be a gloomy place to live in. Nobody will care for anybody. The lack of empathy and care will result in widespread exploitation, distress and negativity.

Love is the glue that binds two hearts together. In the lack of this glue, each person will be lonely. There would be no sense of camaraderie, warmth and belonging. Families will not exist. Friendships will be a thing of the past. Partnerships will no longer be forged. Everyone will be lost. Each one will be alone.


"Loneliness might not seem like a medical problem, but it can impact overall health, as well as brain health. Stress from feeling disconnected and alone can result in depression, anxiety and even cardiovascular troubles like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease." - Brenda Kelley Kim

Image courtesy:

Just imagine the situation where everyone in the world is afflicted with loneliness and are depressed. It is indeed a scary scenario. It will be much worse than the current situation of COVID 19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

Worldwide depression is a bloody nightmare. If the doctors are also afflicted by this, who will treat others? There will be large scale suicides among the public. The violence will breakout everywhere. People will be on edge at all times. Domestic violence, murders, rapes, physical abuse, fights, road rage, all kinds of conflicts will erupt everywhere.

If the world leaders and their advisors are also stricken with a loveless, empathy-less and careless mind then it will not be long before someone among them will trigger a nuclear warfare. This, I am afraid, will lead humanity into total destruction of the world as we know it. It will be total annihilation of mankind along with the majority of the animal and the plant world.

‘Love’ may seem insignificant because it is just an intangible feeling. But the lack of it will sound the death knell to our very being. So it is in our best interest that love takes over the world and conquers all negativity.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Design Element - Bubris


Tipu Sultan had a fascination for tigers which is evident in the repeated tiger motif in his swords, guns, throne, royal seats, royal flags, standards, etc.

Tipu Sultan's war turban | National Army Museum
War turban of Tipu Sultan. Notice the gold inlaid metallic plate (forehead guard) decorated with six bubris.
The top of this metallic plate is crowned by four bubris.

One particular design motif derived from the tiger stripes recurs significantly in his dresses, upholstery, documents, architectural ornaments, etc. The way he has used these motifs is so uncanny to the modern ways of brand building in the capitalist world.

A Tiger Cannon of Tipu Sultan
Tipu's canon with tiger head. Notice the bubris or tiger stripes. 

This motif is a simplified tiger stripe somewhat similar to the letter 'S'. It has got a unique name as well - 'Bubris'. This word is always used together with the word 'Tiger'. So it is 'Tiger Bubris'.

The spoils of Empire: Bounty looted by Wellington's men from ...
Tipu Sultan on his throne. Notice the tiger heads and bubris in the borders.

I was wondering since many years, since I came across the word and its meaning, as to the origin of the word. The problem was that I was pronouncing it as 'boobrees'. One day I was drinking coffee in the typical South Indian style with a stainless steel tumbler and its accompanying container which is called as 'Dabree'. I am fascinated with words which sound strange. So I was playing with the word 'Dabree' in my head when suddenly there popped the word 'Bubri' which was similar in sound.

It was an eureka moment. My confusion about the word got cleared in a second when I pronounced the word as 'Babree'.

Tipu Sultan seated on an elephant. Mural depicting the battle of Polilur. Mural at the Dariya Daulat Baug palace, Srirangapatna, Mysuru. Notice the bubris design on the parasol, the border of the Tipu's seat and the white bubris on the red border of the cloth on the back of the elephant.

In colloquial Hindi and Urdu, the tiger is called as 'Sher' (Sher is a persian word for lion). A strong and powerful male tiger in his prime is called as 'Babbar Sher'. So you can now see the connection clearly. Babbaree means 'of Babbar' (of tiger). Further, Babbaree has been anglicised as Bubri (singular) or Bubris (plural or collective).

So the final word is this - Bubris means the design motif of a tiger.

This is my hypothesis regarding the lexicological derivation of the word 'Bubris'.

Further, this design element did not die with Tipu Sultan in 1799. It has continued till today but shorn off its importance. Even today the Dasara elephants of Mysuru are covered with beautifully embroidered clothes on their backs which invariably have borders populated with bubris.

Bubris had captured the imagination of Mysureans so much that it endured few wars, a regime change and the merging of Mysore into the Dominions of India. It has remained as a silent testimony to the era of Tipu Sultan in the history of Mysore.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Raghu Dharmendra Biodata

Blowing My Own Trumpet

H.S. DHARMENDRA (b. 1976) better known as Raghu to friends and the art fraternity is a die-hard Mysorean. A product of Mysore University he holds a post graduate degree in Computer Applications and does the unimaginable. Raghu takes on the avatar of a designer of fine artefacts, dolls, traditional game-boards, game pieces, brochures, booklets and calendars for Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP), the Mysore-based art foundation which hosts iconic events like ‘Bombe Mane, Kreedaa Kaushalya and Deepa Soundarya.’

In between he acquired a PG Degree in Fine Arts (History) which he admits adds a bit of colour and artistic depth to what would have been a bland rigmarole of life.

Raghu heads the Research section of RKP. His area of research includes traditional Mysore paintings, traditional dolls of India and traditional Indian indoor games. He also slips on the operatic cloak of an art historian when necessary and then with equal ease dons the mantle of a guest lecturer at Chamarajendra Government College of Visual Arts (CAVA) in Mysuru.

A Man of Many parts - Raghu!

He is also a co-author of the book, ‘Indian Traditional Board Games – A Guide to the Art of Play’, published (2016) by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana. As a part of the research, Raghu along with the RKP team spent hours and several days visiting scores of temples across the sub-continent to unearth the mystery of traditional board games etched in temple floors. The result was the informative book mentioned here.

On the occasion of opening of the "Ramsingh's Museum of Mysuru Paintings" (25-02-2020), an introductory book about the museum was released which was co-authored by Raghu and R.G. Singh. The volume was titled "Mysuru Chitra Siri" and it has been very well received for its contents as well as the introductory writeups about fifteen contemporary artists who practice Mysuru style. Raghu has designed both these books including their covers and layouts.

His dissertation for MFA – ‘Portraiture in Surapura and Mysore Paintings – A Comparative Study’ throws some interesting facts about the genre of portraiture in South Indian paintings and awaits publication.

H.S. Dharmendra (Raghu)
Art Historian and Curator
Ramsons Kala Pratishtana
1160, Ramsons, Opp. Zoo, Mysuru 570010
M: 9686 693 625. E:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mysore Palace Journal

The Mysore Palace journal - published by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana. It has about 80 rare photographs and paintings showing the various stages of Mysore palace being built along with interesting tidbits about the palace. It is available at Ramsons store in front of Mysore Zoo.
Here's a look inside the journal - Mysore Palace Celebrating a Century 2012. Rare photographs in the collection of Sri R.G. Singh give a glimpse of the making of Mysore palace and other aspects of palace. About 80 pages of photographs are the main attraction. Rest 80 are ruled pages which carry tidbits and line drawings showcasing little known aspects of palace. In these pages you can write your experience and observations when you visit Mysore palace.

Following is an article by Dr. Javeed Nayeem about the journal which appeared in the evening newspaper of Mysore 'Star of Mysore' on 9 March 2012.


By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

Although I have seen quite a few royal abodes both in our own country and abroad, I have always felt that none of them come anywhere close in visual appeal to the Mysore Palace, especially when it is illuminated at dusk. I can safely say that this opinion does not spring from any bias that I may be harbouring because I happen to be a born Mysorean. I feel reassured and gratified that many of my friends too who have visited Mysore and who have also seen the best of what the world has to offer have endorsed my opinion wholeheartedly. I think this makes my own appraisal fair enough.

During my travels, I have been led by guides and guide books to structures that were no different from large mud houses and yet called 'pala-ces' because some ruler or the other once dwelled there. I have also had many opportunities to see many really fine palaces much larger than our Amba Vilas and more impressive by their sheer might but still being unable to match its fairy tale look at night. Since in addition to having a great admiration for our palace, I am also much fascinated by its history, I always try very hard to uncover interesting facts about it from all possible sources.

So a couple of days ago, when I learnt that a book has been released detailing the construction of our palace to mark the completion of a hundred years of its existence, I could not wait to procure a copy of it for myself. Thanks to the intervention and good offices of my journalist friend Niranjan Nikam, last evening I was able to get in touch with R.G. Singh who has compiled the book as a project of his family firm, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana. It is an institution that is into the development and revival of art and craft forms which have long suffered from much neglect. Singh was kind enough to provide me a complimentary copy of his book in less than fifteen minutes of my contacting him although we were unable to meet each other personally. If things go as planned, I will perhaps have met him by the time you get to read this piece.

He says he is a self-made history buff who has been fascinated by the past ever since his childhood. It appears he started collecting old pictures and photo-graphs of Mysore and now has more than two-and-a-half thousand photographs and paintings in his possession.

Interestingly, this passion started nearly twenty five years ago when he happened to see a discarded photograph of horsemen standing in front of the palace that was lying in the Shivakumar Frame Works at Lansdowne Building. The proprietor of the shop, Shivanna, was kind enough to let him have this piece of history which its former owner had left behind after getting its ivory inlaid rosewood frame reused to protect some other picture that was perhaps more precious to him. He says his father D. Ram Singh and his uncle M.B. Singh, the former Editor of Prajavani, Sudha and Mayura were instrumental in encouraging him to come up with the book which he says is a personal tribute to the Maharani, Kempananjammanni Vani Vilasa Sannidhana, the widow of Chamaraja Wadiyar X (1868-1894). Since the heir to the throne, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was still a minor at that time, she was the regent from 1894 to 1902 and it was during her regency that the present palace was built under her direct supervision to replace the old palace that was destroyed in a fire.

In fact, her signature indicating her approval appears on many of the drawings and blueprints of the palace which still survive to this day. Compared to the many coffee table books that one comes across on a subject such as this, it is no doubt a rather small book. But it is certainly not a book that can be casually cast aside after a cursory look through although that is exactly what most people do with most books. This book serially depicts the various stages of construction and many stages of modification and metamorphoses the Mysore palace went through before it emerged from its chrysalis of history to remain forever perched like a golden butterfly on the pretty flower that Mysore is. It has some pictures shot from the top of the palace which show how the city looked a century ago. What is most interesting is that there was an entire township with houses, shops and narrow lanes within the precincts of the fort itself. It appears these were cleared to create the open space and the gardens that we see around the palace today after paying suitable compensation and relocating the inhabitants.

What makes this book unique and very precious is the fact that it has some photographs which simply are not available anywhere else. This is because they happen to be pictures shot by Lazarus & Co., the Calcutta firm that was entrusted with the job of decorating and painting the vaulted ceilings of the colonnaded hall behind the durbar hall. Well- preserved by his mother Jean, they had been lying with the British journalist and broadcaster Mike Souter whose great grandfather Dennison Smith happened to be a representative of Lazarus & Co. They were luckily made available to Singh when Dennison visited Mysore and Bangalore recently in search of the connections his great grandfather had with the palace.

In a very interesting and informative foreword, Singh gives credit to the contributions and efforts of all people whose inputs made his dream come true. The layout of the book has been done by Raghu Dharmendra who also happens to be the man who gave us the elephant-based logo of our 400th Dasara, although I do not think he got his fair share of credit for it. It was he who personally handed me the book yesterday for which I am promptly giving him credit today! (For your personal copy of the book you may call him on Mob: 98801-11625). It would have been good if our government had undertaken a project of this kind on a much larger scale to mark the completion of a century of our palace. It is still not too late and the powers-that-be should give it a serious thought. History is only useful when we record it.