Vijayakumar Chambath Creates New Carnatic Raga: Harshadhayini

The Chennai-based vocalist and music composer, Vijayakumar Chambath has created a new Carnatic Raga: Harshadhayini. Hailing from Chitthur in Palakkad District of the south Indian state of Kerala, Vijayakumar has more than two decades of experience in singing and is waiting for more opportunities both in terms of playback singing in the movies of Malayalam and Tamil industries as well as musical composition.

Vijayakumar has brought out many private albums to his credit. More of it later.  After years’ of perseverance, in the end, Vijayakumar was able to create a unique standalone Carnatic Raga. In a free-wheeling chat with  Kenath Jayashankar Menon, the singer throws more light on this new raga. Excerpts:

KJM: Can you elaborate on the new raga you have come up with and the significance of the name, Harshadhayini?

VKC: I have been doing thorough research of all 72 Melakartha Ragas and countless Janya Ragas. It was during this sojourn, I stumbled on a totally new tune and delved deep into it. With what I had come up, I did discuss it with my friend and lyricist, Dinesh Kaniyattil to discuss about the raga and the need to set in place, the Saahithya (Krithi). In fact, it was Dinesh, who is also an expatriate, living in the Middle East, who had suggested the name, Harshadhayini.

KJM: So, could you explain how you arrived at creating a new Carnatic raga, Harshadhayini?

VKC: The 72 Melakartha Ragas were formed eons of years ago. The Melakartha Ragas constitute seven swaras (Sapta Swaras). So, those ragas are well set and sort of sealed and there is no scope for forming a new raga from these ragas. Therefore, it is not possible to create either a new raga or a different raga inside the framework of these 72 Melakartha Ragas because it has reached its maximum phrases. Janya Ragas are the ones derived from the set of 72 Melakartha Ragas. These ragas are nothing but the combination and permutation of several ascending and descending notes. It is said that there are millions of such Janya Ragas. If a raga is born out of Melakartha Raga and is set in a unique and new pattern or scale, it is called the creation of a new raga. So, Harshadayini is one such creation of a new raga, which was born from the 30th Melakartha Raga: Naganandini.

It’s Ascendency (Arohanam) is like this: 

N3 S R2 G3 M1 G3 M2 P , D2 N2 R2 S N3

(Kakali Nishadham, Shadjam, Chathushruthi Rishabam, Anthara Gandharam, Suddha Madhyamam, Anthara Gandharam, Prathi Madhyamam, Panchamam, Chathushruthi, Daivatham, Kaishiki Nishadam, Chathushturthi Risham, Shadjam, Kakali Nishadham).

It’s Descendency (Avarohanam) is like this: 

N3 S R2 S N3 D2 P D3 N3 D3 P M1 G3 M2 R2 S N3

(Kakali Nishadham, Shadjam, Chathushruthi Rishabham, Shadjam, Kakali Nishadham, Chathushruthi Daivatham, Panchamam, Shatshruthi Daivatham, Kakali Nishadham, Shatshruthi Deivatham, Panchamam, Shudha Madhyamam, Anthara Gandharam, Prathi Madhyamam, Chathushurthi Rishabham, Shadjam, Kakali Nishadham, Prathi Madhyamam, Chathushruthi Deivatham, Kaishiki Nishadham.

These are Anyaswaras (External Swaram or Note), that is, these are the swaras which are not there in the 30th Melakartha Raga. Therefore, this is a sampoorna Vakra Raga (Swarams are said to be vakram in a rāga, if either the Ārōhanam, Avarōhanam or both, do not follow a strictly ascending or descending order. They go up and down. For instance: Two steps forward one step back. In such a rāga, these swarams should always use the same order to give the unique melody of the rāga).

So, we began creating the Kirtana/Kriti (Lyrics) in the name of Goddess Mookambika Devi. We have just completed the pallavi and the rest we are working on it. As this is a new raga and pertaining to this particular calculations, none had ever created this particular raga. You can’t find any raga remotely related to Harshadhayini in the public domain.

KJM: Also, please speak about your earlier part of training in Carnatic music?

VKC: I began learning Carnatic music at tender age itself. My father, Mathur Pattathil  Parameswaran also sings well. Two of my younger brothers too sing. Initial part of my training was with the late Vaikkom Somasekharan Nair and later I honed my skills with Pallavur Gangadharan Nair. Apart from the training, more of it came from years of Sadhana (Practice), innovation, research and listening to umpteen number of ragas. Also, I learned Mridangam from my father’s nephew, MP Madhusoodhanan (Vithanassery Madhusoodhanan).

KJM: What are your achievements in the realm of music?

VKC: I have cut more than 40 musical albums in Malayalam. Another unique aspect is that I have made many of the vocalists cum music composers on their own right as singers in my albums. For instance, music maestro Sharretth. He has rendered a song in my composition that created a new record. In the song, Sangeethame Surschitha Varadaname, from the album titled: Sharathkala Sandya, none in the Malayalam music industry has ever attempted to sing breathless for 22 seconds (14 bars). The previous record is that of KJ Yesudas in the song Harimuraliravam, he has rendered non-stop for 16 seconds (11 bars). Also, other singers who have lend their voices in my albumbs include music composer M Jayachandran, Unni Menon and Gayathri Asokan. Also, I consider Sri Yesudas as my Manasa Guru and once the new raga is all set, I would love to make a presentation before him and get his blessings. I also would like to make him sing at least one song for my composition. For, I consider it as the ultimate bliss.

TIN: What are your future plans?

VC: I would like to focus more on Malayalam film industry on the aspect of musical composition, at the same time concentrate on singing in Tamil films. I am also working with Sharretth for a tough composition, hitherto never attempted by any person. Last, but not the least, is the attempt to sing 100 ragas in one go. In order to achieve that, hectic preparations are going on.

All India Institute of Ayurveda and IIM Kozhikode train 30 women under Rising Stars programme

Fostering holistic skill development amongst women, for the first time, All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) supported by Multani Pharmaceuticals have roped in Indian Institute of Management-Khozikode for training 30 promising women professionals from the Ayush Institutes with their Rising Stars programme.

For the first time, 30 women participants from AYUSH institutes across India were trained under the Rising Stars programme organised by All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA). The two-day training for women professionals of AYUSH Institutes happened on October 30-31, 2018 and was a part of the series of different events organised on the occasion of third Ayurveda Day.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Dr. Tanuja Manoj Nesari, Director, AIIA said, “It is heartening to see such excitement in the participants. Women empowerment is the foundation stone of a progressive society and they are often seen as equally good managers and leaders. The objective of the event was to enhance managerial and leadership skills in women professionals working in different sectors of Ayurveda, thus to build a proficient women professionals in the field of Ayurveda.”

Pradeep Multani, Chairman, Multani Pharmaceuticals Ltd said, “It is our duty to create avenues of learning for women professionals who have not received the same chances as that of men, and we would like to take such initiatives forward.”

Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) joined hands with AIIA to organise this event that regularly conducts Executive Training Programmes for ministries and other organisations. Issues pertaining to gaining self-awareness, strategies in leading teams, shaping future considering the changing world, improving decision making skills, issues pertaining to bias, were some of the areas that were discussed during the two-day sessions, facilitating AYUSH professionals to strengthen their leadership skills, increasing confidence in leading teams.

#SaifAliKhan launch #HouseofPataudi Lifestyle brand for men and women co-owned by Myntra

Myntra announced the launch of ‘House of Pataudi’, in association with Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan. The ethnic wear brand is inspired from the sophistication and the rich heritage of the Pataudis and reflects a strong sense of culture and tradition. ‘House of Pataudi’ is co-owned by Myntra, Exceed Entertainment and Saif Ali Khan and exemplifies the latter’s classic and contemporary style and taste, as per a statement issued by Myntra.

It is a lifestyle brand for men and women that delivers fine taste and refinement to the discerning and the fashion conscious. Each piece not only exudes style, but also narrates the rich story and history of the Pataudi heritage. The collection comprises traditional Indian wear, conceptualized in the form of Rozana, every day wear with a contemporary ethnic touch, Jashn, festive finery with a regal charm, Riwayat, bespoke splendour for the classic Indian wedding and a Special Edition, comprising collections inspired by the Pataudi trousseau.

Photo From (L:R): Ananth Narayanan, CEO_Myntra- Jabong and Bollywood Actor Saif Ali Khan .

The range includes kurtas, sherwanis and Nehru jackets for men and kurta sets, lehengas and dresses for women. Products from House of Pataudi will be available exclusively on Myntra and Jabong from October 25, 2018 across a price range of Rs 1,500 – Rs.15,000 for men and Rs 2000 – 20000 for women. The brand’s design team has worked closely with Saif Ali Khan; inspired by his own personal style statement and has designed and perfected the line, modelling it on Pataudi lineage and contemporary fashion preferences, to make it relatable for the modern fashion shopper. House of Pataudi is focused on changing the perception about ethnic dressing being limited only to festivals and occasions and bringing it back to every day wear.

Speaking on the launch, Ananth Narayanan, CEO, Myntra-Jabong, said, “We are very excited to partner with Saif and Exceed Entertainment to launch, ‘House of Pataudi’, a first of its kind brand in the country that embodies royalty and a rich cultural heritage. We are clearly focused on a strong customer proposition and currently there is a huge gap in brand offerings in the ethnic wear space, especially for men. House of Pataudi is an ideal fit, being rich on tradition, heritage, design, and offers customers a slice of the world that we believe is lost, at price points that are highly affordable.”

Commenting on the launch of his brand, Bollywood Actor and Producer, Saif Ali Khan, said, “House of Pataudi for me is an extension of my family legacy. From the way it has shaped up, I could tell House of Pataudi is a tasteful curation of Indian ethnicity and finer sensibilities bordering on the Pataudi heritage. Fashion and history are two areas I have personally been inclined towards over the years and am happy that we are taking a part of the Pataudi Legacy forward through this brand. The teams at Myntra and Exceed have put in a lot of research and effort and I believe we have all the right ingredients to build upon. Can’t wait for millions of young Indians to embrace their culture through House of Pataudi.”

Myntra is India’s leading platform for fashion brands and pioneer in m-commerce play. Myntra has partnered with over 2000 leading fashion and lifestyle brands in the country such as Nike, adidas, Puma, Levis, Wrangler, Arrow, Jealous 21, Diesel, CAT, Harley Davidson, Ferrari, Timberland, US Polo, FabIndia, Bibaand many more to offer a wide range in latest branded fashion and lifestyle wear. Myntra services over 19,000 pin codes across the country. With the largest in-season product catalogue, 100% authentic products, Cash on Delivery and 30-day Exchange/Return policy, Myntra is today the preferred shopping destination in India.

Diwali Delight: Capture the festival of light with German Leica C-Lux camera

Diwali is the festival of light. What is the fun, if you are not able to capture those wonderful moments? Spice up this Diwali by taking candid shots of the festival of light through the German luxury camera brand, Leica C-Lux that unites speed, an intuitive handling concept and stylish design.

Leica C-Lux in light-gold and midnight-blue variants

A perfect gift to the newly weds, the camera is an ideal wedding gift for those planning to gift luxury. Featuring a Leica DC Vario-Elmar 8.8–132 mm f/3.3–6.4 ASPH lens and a high-performance 20-megapixel sensor for continuous shooting at a rate of up to 10 frames per second, the Leica C-Lux adapts quickly and flexibly to every situation and effortlessly delivers high-quality pictures of subjects at any distance. Its 15-fold optical zoom with focal lengths from 24 to 360 mm (35 mm equivalent) offers enormous creative scope that is further expanded by 4K video recording capability. Thanks to an integrated connectivity concept, still pictures and videos can be quickly and easily shared with family and friends by a simple tap of a finger on the touchscreen display. Available in the colours Light Gold and Midnight Blue, the Leica C-Lux impresses not only with its precision, but also with exceptional design that is additionally highlighted by a range of stylish accessories.

Price- Rs. 85,000

Leica M10-P_silver+Summicron_2_35_TOP

Leica M10 P is the classic and iconic mirror-less rangefinder series from Leica Systems. This festive season, capture precious moments and festivities and not noise with Leica’s M10 P. The outstanding feature of this camera is the extremely low noise level of its shutter and the quietest shutter release of all M-Cameras ever built. The camera has no Leica red dot logo on the front and features only discreet Leica lettering on its top plate. Available in two colour variants- Black and Silver.

Price- 6,25,000

#ProfessorMrinalThakur: “Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences violated academic norms while conferring Nobel Prize”

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that confers the Nobel Prize violated academic norms by denying major scientific discoveries and their discoverers, Prof. Mrinal Thakur, the Director of Photonic Materials Research Laboratory at Auburn University (USA), alleged in a press statement.

Prof Mrinal Thakur urge world leaders to solve Nobel Prize Imbroglio

Prof Thakur claimed that though the 2000-Chemistry Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of Conductive Polymers, it went only to those who discovered “Conjugated” conductive polymers. According to Prof. Thakur, nominated for the Chemistry Nobel Prize for 16-times, no credit was given to him for his discovery of “Non-conjugated” conductive polymers first reported in 1988.

Prof. Thakur claimed the Nobel Foundation Website contains incorrect information as Alan Heeger, A.G. MacDiarmid and H. Shirakawa, the 2000-Chemistry Nobel Prize recipients, wrongly stated only conjugated polymers are electrically conductive whereas “Nonconjugated” polymers are also conductive. The legal communications involving US attorneys established these Nobel Prize recipients agreed at the scientific and legal-levels that Prof. Thakur’s experimental works and theory are fundamentally correct while theirs are fundamentally incorrect.

The Nobel Foundation Website, stating a polymer must be conjugated to be electrically conductive, did not correct it though “Nonconjugated” polymers are also conductive. Prof. Thakur further claimed the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences even victimised him for bringing out the anomalies in the website by stopping research funding in 2003. Though Prof. Thakur sought assistance of Prime Ministers of India and Sweden and the US President to resolve these critical issues, nothing fruitful transpired as yet.

Staking Claim for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Prof. Thakur stakes claim to the 2014 Chemistry Nobel Prize since “Super-resolved Fluorescence Microscopy” (topic of 2014 Nobel in Chemistry) is primarily based on earlier nonlinear optical experimental and theoretical studies performed by him and his colleagues on organic materials. The research papers were published in Applied Physics Letters, Physical Review Letters, MRS Proceedings, Macro-molecules and Optics Letters in 1985 and onwards. Prof. Thakur’s works were published at least a decade prior to those of the 2014 Nobel Prize recipients. The written statute of Nobel Prize says award should be given to recognise the earliest and most original works in a given field of sciences. It was not followed in the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The whole spectrum of polymer scientists, however, accepted that his research made wide impact in polymer science and in the research fields of nonlinear optics and nano-particles.

Non-conjugated Conductive Polymers As Anti-Radiation Shield

Prof. Thakur’s scientific discoveries involves protection against nuclear radiation including radioactive iodine applicable both in the cases of atomic reactors and hospitals treating thyroid cancer patients through polymers. The polymers, efficiently absorbing iodine when iodine atoms come in contact with them rendering the iodine atoms immobile, can be installed as layer/sheet in all nuclear reactor or nuclear waste storage facility to absorb emitted radioactive iodine and stop its leakage in the environment.

Radioactive iodine is extremely dangerous since it remains as a vapour at ordinary temperature and can travel long distances by air-currents as seen in the case of Japan’s Fukushima disaster when radioactive iodine reached California (USA) crossing the Pacific Ocean. What is more, polymers can safeguard the living beings/environment against radioiodine emission caused by nuclear power plants, nuclear spent-fuel-rods, rocket/space satellite launching stations, nuclear-powered ships/submarines and in hospitals where nuclear medicine administered.

As the human body absorbs radioactive iodine causing thyroid cancer, the doctors, nurses and attendees are exposed to it during and after radio-iodine therapy of patients having thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism. Patients emit radiation for a number of days after taking a capsule containing radioiodine. Use of apparels made of the “Non=conjugated” conductive polymers reduces the potential exposure to radioiodine and lessens the anxiety, the statement added.

Solo Photography Exhibition on the tribes of Omo Valley of Ethiopia by #DrLatikaNath  at Bikaner House New Delhi

It all began three years ago – Dr. Latika Nath wanted to visit Ethiopia to photograph the rarest wolf in the world. With less than 400 alive in the wild, as a carnivore biologist, Latika had always wanted the opportunity to study these animals in their natural habitat. Dr. Latika’s list grew as she planned her visit to include the Hyaenas of Harar, the gelada baboons, the Abyssinian owl, the Rock Churches of Lalibela and Lucy. As she explored the possibility of visiting Hadar, Dr. Latika discovered references to the Tribes of the Omo Valley. Very quickly her inbox was filled with conversations about planning a trip to Omo and discussing the possibility of photographing the incredible people who lived there.

Latika Nath (1)

Living in and around the Mago and Omo National Parks are some of the oldest tribes known to man. These tribes continue to live in much the same manner over hundreds of years. The eight tribes, Hamer, Bana, Mursi, Suri, Kara, Dassanech, Arbore and Nyangatom number only about 200,000 in toto. With modern development knocking at their doorstep, the tribes face changes they had never imagined.

In multiple visits, over two years, Dr Latika has taken over 60000 images in Ethiopia. This incredible database of the people, their culture, customs and lifestyle is unique and reveals aspects of their lives seldom revealed to the world. Documenting the Donga, Bull Jumping, fashion, body scarification and decoration, lip and ear plates, blood drinking, their song and dances, rituals and ceremonies, their unique architecture, and food vessels as well the importance of the AK 47 and guns in their lives, Latika has been working on a 5 volume book series which will be launched at the Jaipur Literary Book Festival as a Boxed Set.

Breathtaking landscapes, incredible images of men and women of extraordinary beauty, of children of nature who are masters of body art, the OMO collection is a story that has never been told in quite this fashion and detail.

Omo Fashion is another extraordinary study – where broken watch straps are de rigueur for the fashionista, where gas pipes, bottle caps, plastic tubes, miscellaneous keys, and even a bicycle chain are fashion accessories and different coloured metal bullets are melted and made into bangles and earrings.

Headdresses are devised from flowers, fruit and leaves and bodies are canvasses for artistry painted using natural pigments. Beads are an essential part of the adornment and goat and even cheetah skin is embroidered painstakingly to create unique outfits.

Ash and thorns are used for creating intricate and elaborate keloid scars to decorate bodies. The human body is used as a canvas for body art that is quite breathtaking.

For Dr. Latika, this was a life-changing experience. Planning the trips required up to a year of work, allowing her to venture into areas where there are very few visitors from the outside world.

She worked in temperatures of over 45C, drove hours each day to get to the villages, was shot at by an AK 47, hung out of planes, lived in tents or homestays in the remotest villages in order to learn about these people. The story of her journeys forms a part of her book – OMO.

The Exhibition at the Bikaner House is the first of her solo shows on OMO and will feature over 150 surreal images from her collection. The exhibition is supported by The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, New Delhi.

Dr. Latika is one of the first wildlife biologists with a D.Phil on Tiger Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford.

She is the first woman wildlife biologist in India to work on tigers and entered the field of tiger conservation at a time when no holistic scientific work had been done on the tiger in India apart from a study in 1968 by American Scientist, George Schaller.

Breaking into what had been so far, an exclusively male-dominated field, Latika has spent over twenty-five years working at the grassroots level for tiger conservation. She eventually shifted her focus from academia to working with the tribal communities in the buffer zone of the Kanha Tiger Reserve and the Forest Department of the Government of India for tiger conservation.

Dr. Litika lived and worked in the Kanha Tiger Reserve for over a decade where she worked on education, health, art, and alternate energy programs for the tribal villages in the region.

Her life and work have been featured on National Geographic television in a documentary called ‘The Tiger Princess’ and on the Discovery Channel in the program ‘Wild Things’. She contributed to films like ‘Sita’s Story’ and a ‘Tale of Two Tigers’ on the BBC, as well as the cover story on tigers for the ‘Year of the Tiger’ special in 2000. She has worked with numerous international organisations including IUCN, UNDP, UNFPA and ICIMOD on many species including the Asian Elephant, the Gangetic Dolphin, the Arna or Wild buffaloes, and high-altitude mammals in the Kanchenjunga area. Her areas of interest include landscape ecology and the resolution of human-wildlife conflict.

Dr. Nath is the recipient of scholarships including the Chevening Award from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Oxford and Cambridge Society of India, the Overseas Research Student (ORS) UK, and the Wildlife Institute of India. She has also been awarded for her work in the field of Eco Tourism by the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOI).

For the past few years, Latika has been traveling and photographing the cat species of the world. She has photographed tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, snow leopards and clouded leopards. She is an ardent traveler, photographer, and diver and spends time exploring the myriad wilderness spaces of our planet. She has recently published a coffee table book called “Hidden India” on the wildlife and wilderness spaces of India which received wide acclaim. Dr. Nath is a Nikon Professional Member and works closely with Nikon in India.