Mar 4, 2015

Photo of Rani Chennamma of Kittur?

Most historical celebrities' pictures are artistic depictions in the form of paintings or statues. There are exceptions when great rulers have their pictures painted by well known artists and if those paintings survived test of time then we had a chance to see them. Then came photography, invented during the beginning of 19th century, was brought to India by the British and some of our kings, queens, princes and princesses were photographed. Photographs remained private property, common folks rarely got to see ancient photographs. With Internet opening up boundaries people could see the unseen. Curiosity fuelled research which lead to discovery of hidden and forgotten photographs.

Few months back a friend from Dharwad called to tell about an article in Vijayavani newspaper October 10, 2014 edition.
ಈ ಸಂಪದದ ಬರಹಗಾರರು ಯ.ರು. ಪಾಟೀಲ.
ಚೆನ್ನಮ್ಮನ ಚಿತ್ರದ ಕುರಿತು ಕಿತ್ತೂರಿನ ಪ್ರಾಚ್ಯವಸ್ತು ಇಲಾಖೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾಚ್ಯವಸ್ತು ಸಂಗ್ರಹಾಲಯದ ಅಸಿಸ್ಟೆಂಟ್ ಕ್ಯೂರೇಟರ್ ರಾಘವೆಂದ್ರರಿಂದ ತಿಳಿದುಬಂತು.
ಧಾರವಾಡ ತಾಲೂಕಿನ ಕಲ್ಲೂರಿನ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಶತಮಾನೋತ್ಸವ ಮಾದರಿ ಶಾಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ದೊರೆತದ್ದು.
ಬೆಳಗಾವಿ ಜಿಲ್ಲಾ ಪಂಚಾಯತಿಯ ನಿಕಟಪೂರ್ವ ಉಪಾಧ್ಯಕ್ಷ ಪರಮೇಶ್ವರಪ್ಪ ದಂಡೀನರವರ ತಂದೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದ ಚಿತ್ರ.

The article authored by Shri. Y R Patil carried a photograph which was supposed to be of Rani Chennamma. The author got a hint of the photo at Kittur historical museum and traced it to Kuvempu Centenary Model School (Kuvempu Shatamanotsava Madari Shaale), Kallur village in Dharwad district. Kallur is about 23 kms from Kittur and 20 kms from Dharwad. The photo was originally at Kallur Gram Panchayath office and it was given to Shri. Parameshwarappa Dandin by his father saying that it is Chennamma. The photo was taken to the school so that students could see it.

This lady here could be of anyone.. however it is believed to be Rani Chennamma's because of few reasons;
  1. age of the photo
  2. place where it was found; Kallur village was part of Belavadi Samsthan (Belavadi Malamma was another brave queen who took control of the kingdom) later it became part of Kittur Samsthan. 
  3. The lady is attire is ancient fashion; the saree seems to be expensive silk with gold border. Jewellery includes gold/pearl necklaces, ear ring, and pearl nose-ring. Back then only a person from rich landlords could afford such expensive saree and jewellery.
The author does not confirm the lady's identity but he says it is most likely it is Rani Chennamma. Authored as asked for people's opinion on this matter.

In my opinion the chances of this lady being Chennamma is high because of another reason. Chennamma was friendly with European people, she often has them as guests at the palace. It is said that she spoke English. It is possible that a photographer might have visited Kittur palace and the queen was photographed. That photo graph somehow made its way to Kallur village...

Coming back to paintings.. here is a collection of paintings of Chennamma created during a Kittur Utsav.


Feb 28, 2015

spinning seeds

Nature's wonders knows no bounds. Nature has all imaginable kinds of non-living and living things; be it air, land or water; be it day or night. Of the life forms I believe plant life is versatile than animal life. Plant life lasts longer, alive or dead. Here are some plant parts which continue to amaze the human senses after they cease to live. Unlike most plant parts which just drop down without fanfare these parts gracefully spin down and land gently. So far I've come across three types, there could be many more.. I've marked them as A, B and C.

A. This could be a dry flower, was found in jungles of Ulavi. It grows on a tree which reaches heights of 60 feet. The live flower is red colored. I think the flower dries and hardens before separating itself form the tree. The beauty is in the uneven petals. It spins gracefully and comes down smoothly. I think this tree grows  only in the jungles of Western Ghats.

B. This is twin-wing seed of a plant called Twanpani, its a Kannada name. I've seen this plant on the rocky hills of northern districts of Karnataka. The one seen here was picked up from Anegundi fort on Rushyamukha Betta. The plant is delicate, has silvery stems and branches, grows to an height of 15 to 18 feet. These seeds can be found in bunches of 5 to 10. Green in color when tender and darken as they age. This seed when thrown high in the air spins down rapidly, as though its in a hurry.

C. Commonly found in cities you might have seen this uni-wing seed; seed end is heavy while the wing-end is almost weightless. About 25 to 30 such winged seeds are tightly packed into a thick shelled pod. When dry enough the shell splits itself into three equal parts. The tree which produces this grows to heights of 30 to 40 feet; has a straight stem and branches high above the ground. Dark green leaves which shed during December and January. I cannot recall the flower's color though. As a kid I and my brother would bring these seeds home and play with them until our arms ached.

While researching name of the trees I stumbled on an interesting article on rotating seeds- Autorotating seeds: to fly or to die. Do read it. Then I stumbled on another interesting website- Landmark Trees of India, You must see the amazing trees we are unaware of. Namoh Nature.