I K Gujral cremated with full state honours

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I K Gujral cremated with full state honours

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Former Prime Minister I K Gujral was today cremated here with full state honours in the presence of the country’s top leadership, including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Amid prayers and a 21-gun salute, his body was consigned to flames at Smriti Sthal on the banks of Yamuna where Vice President Hamid Ansari and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were also present.

The last rites were performed by his two sons, including Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral, and his grandson at Smriti Sthal, located between Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial ‘Shanti Van’ and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s ‘Vijay Ghat’.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, Farooq Abdullah, Jaipal Reddy, BJP leaders L K Advani and Arun Jaitley, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, LJP’s Ramvilas Paswan, JD-S’ Danish Ali, Amar Singh and some senior bureaucrats attended the cremation.

Diplomats from various countries were also present.

The president, Vice President, Prime Minister, Gandhi, Antony, Shinde, Badal, Advani, Jitendra Singh (Mos) and others laid wreaths on the body.

The body, draped in tricolour, was brought to Smriti Sthal from his 5-Janpath residence in a flower bedecked gun-carriage accompanied by military personnel and close family.

Officers from the three armed forces carried on their shoulders the mortal remains of Gujral to the cremation ground as he was accorded a state funeral.

Gujral (92), who led a rickety coalition in late 1990s and was known for ‘Gujral Doctrine’ of five principles for maintaining good neighbourly relations, breathed his last at a private hospital in nearby Gurgaon yesterday afternoon.

… contd.

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Traces of The House of Everything and Nothing (2013) by the Raqs Media Collective live on in the incised exterior of Gujral House, a residence turned installation space in Delhi. The installation visualized data flow between the group’s New Delhi studio and the rest of the world. The lines were formed by removing the concrete stucco to reveal the brick structure beneath.

The visualization was also rendered as a carpet, shown at the Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum in the intervention The Great Bare Mat & Constellation (2012-2013). -jt Bottom photo from Raqs website.

In times of turbulence, it is important to put peoples’ aspirations to the fore: Salima Hashmi

One of Pakistan’s most well-known artists, Salima Hashmi, 73, is known as much for her prowess with the brush as her role as an educator, writer, curator and human rights activist. Daughter of legendary Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and writer and peace activist Alys Faiz, Hashmi grew up in a politically-conscious environment and used her art to communicate her views on politics. She has written books on artistic practices in the subcontinent, including last year’s The Eye Still Seeks: Pakistani Contemporary Art. A teacher at Pakistan’s prestigious National College of Arts (NCA) for nearly 30 years, she has guided some of the most prominent contemporary Pakistani artists. ‘The Night Bitten Dawn’, an exhibition on the aftermath of Partition, curated by her and featuring Indian and Pakistani artists, is currently being presented in Delhi by the Devi Art Foundation and Gujral Foundation. In this interview, she talks about her relationship with her father, using his poem as a starting point for the exhibition and contemporary art in Pakistan. Excerpts:

This exhibition is on Partition, an event that has had huge implications on both sides of the border. Could you share the experience of curating the show and choosing your father’s poem as the starting point?

After I said yes to curating the exhibition, I was thinking of how to put such an earth-shattering event, which affected millions of people, into a curatorial note. That’s when I recalled, during the last few years of my father’s life, I had questioned him on (why) he wrote only one poem on such a huge catastrophe. He said, ‘We just couldn’t cope’. That was the magnitude (of the event). It is a poem I have lived with.

Building on the framework of the poem, Subh-e-Azaadi, the exhibition reinterprets the moment of Partition nearly seven decades later. Inspired by the poet, the artists probe the past and the present simultaneously to circumvent history as it is told and try to reimagine and fashion it anew. The poem may be a memorial to another time, but it continues to insist on a critical look at why ‘the dark weight of night is not lifted yet’, and how the gossamer-like promise of a journey of shared futures, which commenced a long time ago, was denied culmination. I felt it was the right time for the exhibition. When there is difficulty, in times of turbulence, it is important to put peoples’ aspirations to the fore.

Many artists showing in the exhibition, including Faiza Butt and Bani Abidi, are your students. Years ago, you chose to teach art rather than pursue your own career. How do you look back at that decision?

Teaching has been very important to me. In Pakistan, we have been lucky that there have been one or two really good institutions, with excellent professional artists as teachers, which is very rare. That is the reason why the art scene in Pakistan is so dynamic. It was a conscious choice to put my art on the back burner and I think now I’m being rewarded many times over. Look at how Pakistani art is booming. There is no patronage, artists don’t have their eyes on the market, they are working because they need to work. Their work is diverse, it’s not something entirely predictable.

Do you see your different roles — of an artist, educator, curator, writer and peace activist — overlapping?

Different aspects come to the fore at different times. I started writing because I felt writers had failed to document the history of art in Pakistan. What was being written in the newspapers was very superficial. It was important to bring it all together, so that what was being done wasn’t lost. That was the impetus; writing grew out of a need rather than inclination. Rohtas Gallery, which I established with architect Naeem Pasha in 1981, also had a purpose. It was an extension of my teaching and its role was very consciously designed as educational and non-commercial. We wanted to show cutting-edge, experimental art that was not being shown otherwise. We decided we would never show landscapes or calligraphy and things like that. The inaugural show was reviewed and the next day, papers carried a review, pointing out two works that could be anti-army. I was at the gallery immediately, changing the works to put up landscapes; when officials came and asked, I told them, ‘Never believe anything written in the papers.’ Over the years, Rohtas has gained the reputation of showing works not acceptable in other government venues.

How was it to grow up as Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s daughter? As a child, were you aware of the influence he had?

We did not grow up thinking we had this great man in the house. He was very modest, humble. I remember accompanying him, as a child, to an event being held in his honour in Sialkot. The speakers were all praise for him and he sat there smiling, glancing at me from time to time. On our way back, I asked him, ‘Who were they talking about?’ ‘Not me!’ he replied. We weren’t made to feel different, but the environment was definitely politically-charged. I was eight years old when he was imprisoned. I remember visiting him in jail. As a child, that was difficult to cope with, but my mother always told us he was not a criminal.

The world knows Faiz through his poems. How would you describe him as a father? I believe you are more like him, and your sister Moneeza is more like your mother.

I am quiet like him, but I’m also like my mother. She was a tigress and I believed that she was born to protect all of us. As a family, we had our share of fun. One day, I decided to play a prank on my father on April Fool’s day. I wore my grandmother’s burqa and disguised myself as an old woman and sat in the living room. My mother sent him to me, saying that there is a woman who insists on seeing you. I started relating a tale of misery and asked him for help. He patiently listened to my sob story and returned with a cheque book and asked, ‘What amount should I write?’ I pulled away my veil and started laughing. He said, ‘Gadhi’ (laughs).

Was art also an outlet for you?

In some ways, it was. I started painting when I was six or seven. My mother used to give me colours. I went very quiet when my father was in jail, art became a means of talking to myself.

You were under house arrest in 2007, when General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency.

Yes, there were 51 of us. First, they put us together in a thana. We had some livewire singers amidst us, so we started singing old Bollywood numbers, songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi. Then, they decided to put us under house arrest. The group was divided into two or three, and kept at different houses. I cannot say it was a traumatic experience.

There are frequent incidents of visas being rejected on both sides of the border. How important is cultural exchange? You also vehemently opposed nuclear tests in both countries…

It is not possible for either of the countries to develop unless they come to terms with the fact that they are Siamese twins. It still disturbs me that two poverty-stricken nations took the nuclear path as a deterrent. Look at the region armed in such a manner, the last thing we need is insecurity for our future generations.

I feel artists, musicians, writers — people from the cultural field — should have a special passport to travel across whenever they want. When IK Gujral was the Indian foreign minister (he was a close associate of my father), I even wrote to him saying free visa access should be a part of his government’s agenda. I think it is important to sign a protocol that will facilitate easy movement of art between the two countries.

Are you also working on a biography of Faiz?

My nephew (Ali Madeeh Hashmi) has worked on his biography. I’m working on a memoir, but haven’t decided what to put in it.

Former Prime Minister I K Gujral passes away

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Former Prime Minister I K Gujral passes away

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Former Prime Minister I K Gujral, who headed a rickety coalition government in the late 1990s, died today after a brief illness. Gujral, 92, breathed his last at 3.27 pm in a private hospital after a multi-organ failure.

He was admitted to the hospital on November 19 with a lung infection, family sources said.

The former Prime Minister, who was ventilator support, had been unwell for sometime. He was on dialysis for over a year and suffered a serious chest infection some days ago. He will be cremated in nearby Delhi tomorrow.

Gujral, who migrated from Pakistan after partition, rose to become the Prime Minister with a big slice of luck after he came up through the ranks – starting as Vice President in NDMC in the ’50s to later become a Union Minister and then India’s Ambassador to the USSR.

Gujral, an intellectual who propounded the ‘Gujral Doctrine’ of five principles for maintaining good neighbourly relations, left the Congress to join the Janata Dal in the late-1980s.

He became Minister of External Affairs in the V P Singh-led National Front government in 1989. As the External Affairs Minister he handled the fallout of the Kuwait crisis following Iraqi invasion that displaced thousands of Indians.

Gujral had a second stint as External Affairs Minister in the United Front government under H D Deve Gowda, whom he later replaced as Prime Minister after the Congress withdrew support in the summer of 1997.

He emerged as the consensus candidate after serious differences developed among the UF leaders including Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh and others as to who will become the Prime Minister.

… contd.

Tags: I K Gujral, Gujral dead, multi-organ failure, former Prime Minister, nation news

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Air India employees recall hair-raising Gulf War 'Airlift'

Two Air India pilots, who were involved in the operations of those flights, were flown in from India for the screening of the Akshay Kumar starrer.

A special screening of Hindi movie Airlift in Dubai on Friday raised a toast to goodwill diplomacy, patriotic spirit, and heroism of the civilians at times of crisis.

The controversial hug of Saddam Hussein and the then foreign minister of India I.K. Gujral during the Gulf War may have had different interpretations then and now after the release of the movie that was based on the evacuation of the stranded Indians from Kuwait.

But the goodwill hug that cast a temporary shadow in the career of Gujral, who went on to become India’s prime minister later, had kindled an unlikely spark of inspiration in a young Indian who is now heading the Indian mission in Dubai.

The Consul-General of India in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Anurag Bhushan on Friday recalled the incident which is still vivid in his memory and influenced him to choose his career in diplomacy.

“I do not know what the factors are that pushed me into foreign service. But I am sure this was one of the incidents that helped me make a decision,” said Bhushan who was graduating when the biggest evacuation by India took place in 1990.

He was speaking at the screening of Airlift organised by Air India, which won a Guinness World Record for the largest evacuation of civilians by a commercial airline for the Kuwait rescue operations it carried out.

Two Air India pilots, who were involved in the operations of those flights, were flown in from India for the screening. They received huge applause from the audience and were felicitated by Bhushan.

Rtd. Capt. D.P.S. Dhillon and Air India’s current Executive Director of Operations Capt. Arvind Kathpalia, who were then a pilot and co-pilot respectively in flights that brought home the Indians, relived the memories while watching the movie that has also apparently weaved in imagination.

“While we were flying with minimum rest, our commercial staff had the most difficult time handling the huge number of people scrambling to get the first flight home,” recollected Capt. Dhillon. He also remembered how disturbing the scenes of destruction were.

Capt. Kathpalia recalled the airline operating several flights a day from Delhi and Bombay to Amman. “The scale of operations was really big … and it became the largest evacuation in terms of the number of people airlifted.”

Regional Manager for Gulf, Middle East and Africa Melwin D'Silva said the airline operated for 59 days to bring 170,000 Indians in 488 flights.

Copyright © 2016 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

The Birthday Brushstrokes

WHAT is a fitting tribute to a great artist who is celebrating his 90th birthday? A show that takes us through the phases of his life and his work. ‘ A Brush with Life’ showcases over 70 original works of art by Satish Gujral juxtaposed with rare archival photographs of the remarkable people from the 20th century who touched his life and vintage images of works that have long left public memory.

The series starts with his masterpieces from 1947, where Gujral paints Partition with great pain. Says Pramod KG, curator, “ One can see the definitive brush strokes and being a victim of Partition himself, Gujral could capture the trauma very well.” The exhibition moves from this to his abstracts, pencil sketches, the iconic bull sculptures to the works made during the brief days in which Gujral could hear with the help of a cochlear implant.

Paintings of musicians dominate this period. His sculptures from the 1970s are futuristic and ahead of their time.

There are also a group of fantastical drawings inspired from mythology and his childhood experiences.

Gujral was also commissioned to create plans for various landmark buildings. The Belgium Embassy in New Delhi is one such building. The UNESCO Headquarters in New Delhi and Ambedkar Memorial in Lucknow also featured among them. “ Gujral’s first major commission was a portrait of Lala Lajpat Rai for the Central Hall of Parliament,” says Pramod. “ It was initially rejected by the art committee but put up for public viewing in Modern School, Barakhamba, for a day and Charles Fabri, the leading art critic of the time, wrote a review praising the work. Nehru read it and brought it to Teen Murti.

Subsequently, he dismissed the committee and ordered it to be put up in the Central Hall of Parliament.” A blown up image of the portrait is also on the show.

Gujral is an artist who celebrates love, pain and chaos through his art. And the tribute to him could not have been more perfect.

‘ A Brush With Life’ is on at IGNCA till February 20 Satish Gujral’s latest show celebrates his 90th birthday.

Memories of an Artist

At 90, Satish Gujral fondly recalls the young boy of nine, who first picked colours to doodle on paper. Art was his outlet, the voice he had found after an accident near Pahalgam in Kashmir, which rendered him deaf. It was the language through which he was to tell stories — of the traumatic Partition, eternal relationship between man, animal and technology, and abstractionist mythological themes interspersed with the use of the Devanagari script.

Years later, all of it is under one roof in a retrospective in Delhi. On a wheelchair, accompanied by wife Kiran, as Gujral moves from one room to another, the works of art, he says, are pages from his life. “That young boy would have never imagined this day,” he says, with a smile. Vivid memories are associated with several works, others are more vague. “Many of them, I haven’t seen for years. The works have their own life, they travel, move hands,” says the artist, who also moved rather swiftly from one medium to another, playing with paint, bronze, clay, blowtorch, paper collage, ceramics and architecture among others. “When I felt I had said what I wanted through one medium and was losing excitement, I shifted to another. Material is the language of the idea. If you change the idea, the idea will find its own material,” says Gujral.

Born in Jhelum, Pakistan, in 1925, Gujral recalls that his earliest lessons in art came not from the medium itself but through the words penned by poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ghalib and Iqbal. As a young boy, he accompanied his elder brother Inder, then a student of Lahore College, to gatherings and poetry reading sessions. “He asked Ali Sardar Jafri (Urdu writer and poet) to advice me on poetry, listening to the very first verse penned by me he advised me not to write poems and I followed his advice,” says Gujral.

The most compelling and poignant learnings were yet to come though. His training as an artist at the The Mayo School of Art in Lahore had equipped Gujral to draw together the three arts of painting, sculpture and architectural drawing but it could not have prepared him for the cathartic partition. Young Gujral accompanied his father in helping Hindus relocate to India, witnessing the bloodshed and scathing anger. Those scenes were to be translated into paintings in strong expressionist brushwork with anguished victims and bleak horizon. The emotional outburst resulted in some of his best works — Mourning, Days of Glory and Christ in Wilderness, among several others.

In the following years, he crossed several more borders, each journey leaving an imprint on his art. In 1952, an apprenticeship with Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros and exposure to the grand works of late José Orozco turned him to create murals in terracotta and ceramics. Local metal-smithy techniques used to make cattle bells became the base material for sculptures during a brief period of tantric preoccupation after an extensive tour through Scandinavia and South America while travelling to Lima for the World Crafts Meet in 1958.

While critics hailed him, acclaimed art critic Charles Fabri declaring that his Partition series signified the advent of “a genius”, in the art fraternity, Gujral remained a recluse. He could not relate with the Western Cubist and post-impressionist ideology of the then-prominent Progressive Artists Group and his differences with Husain have been legendary. In his autobiography, A Brush with Life, he wrote about Husain: “Only a very perceptive mind could detect that behind the facade of unassuming reticence was an extremely calculating mind.”

The two crossed paths numerous times, most famously when Husain dabbled with architecture with the Modi house in Delhi the same time when Gujral was designing the iconic Belgian embassy in Delhi (1980-83). His murals were already on the walls of Delhi High Court, Shastri Bhavan and the Gandhi Bhawan in Chandigarh, but now he was designing houses, including the summer palace in Riyadh.

“Painting, sculpture and architecture are the equal manifestation of a single aesthetic,” he says.

He feared neither isolation nor flak. So when his commissioned portrait of Lala Lajpat Rai for the Parliament in the early ’50s was rejected for not following the “Amrita Shergill style”, he put it for public viewing. His portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru (1957) was rather pensive but that of his daughter Indira was a more “ruthless” depiction. Today, he feels, he said through colour what he did not otherwise. Each hue and brushstroke was an emotion. He looks at the years past and himself — the younger and more vulnerable Gujral in a 1954 self-portrait where he surrounded himself with the abstract whirls, ready to take on the world.

Former Indian PM IK Gujral dies

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Former Indian PM IK Gujral dies

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30 November 2012 Last updated at 05:37 ET

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Mr Gujral was called the ‘accidental prime minister’

Former Indian prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral has died after a long illness in a hospital near the capital, Delhi, aged 92.

Mr Gujral was admitted to the hospital in Gurgaon on 19 November and was suffering from a lung infection.

He became India’s 12th prime minister, heading a United Front coalition government in 1997.

During his 11-month tenure, he worked at improving India’s frosty relationship with archrival Pakistan.

Mr Gujral was also known for his strategic vision of India’s role in its neighbourhood.

Known as “Gujral doctrine”, the vision held that India should go the extra mile with its neighbours without expecting reciprocity, as long as they did not endanger India’s security, analysts say.

Mr Gujral was often called an “accidental prime minister” because he assumed power after the Congress party withdrew support to the United Front coalition government led by prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

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Precious Ruby Earrings (22K Gold)

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Former PM I K Gujral stable but critical

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Former PM I K Gujral stable but critical

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The condition of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who is admitted to the Medicity Medanta Hospital here with a lung infection, is “stable but critical”.

Gujral, 92, who was admitted to the hospital on November 19, is still on the ventilator. He was on dialysis for over a year now and had suffered a serious chest infection some days ago.

“His condition is stable but critical,” Narender Mehta Media Advisor to I K Gujral said outside the hospital today.

Reports of some tests would come out tomorrow and only after observing the results, the doctors would comment, he said.

Tags: I K Gujral stable, Former PM I K Gujral, nation news

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“Vigyan Yatra” for the School Students of Punjab, to Infuse Scientific Temper in them

“Vigyan Yatra” for the School Students of Punjab, to Infuse Scientific Temper in them

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By NewsVoir Under ‘Mukh Mantri Vigyan Yatra’, over 4 lac students to visit Pushpa Gujral Science City free of cost Chandigarh, Punjab, India In a bid to imbibe scientific temper amongst the students of 6th class onwards, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today approved ‘Mukh Mantri Vigyan Yatra’ scheme to initially undertake an excursion trip of nearly 28,000 students from the…

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