Tag Archives: central India

Timeless poetry of Shilabhattarika – the 9th Century poet

Richard Holkar, the scion of the erstwhile ruling family of Indore, has quoted Willie Dalrymple, on his fb wall to highlight the literary glory and the timeless poetry of Shilabhattarika, the 9th Century poet.

Shilabhattarika is much quoted by critics of classical Sanskrit literature, and her verses appear in major Sanskrit anthologies. She is eulogised for few of the greatest poems ever written in the Sanskrit tradition. The 10th century poet Rajashekhara praised Shilabhattarika as a leading figure of the Panchali literary style.

We are reproducing Willie’s observations about Shilabhattarika from Richard’s post:

“During my research this week I came across the poetry of a 9thC Sanskrit poet, Shilabhattarika. She lived in central India between the Narmada and the Vindhyas at the turn of the first millennium. Some think she may have been a Rashtrakuta princess; other traditions associate her with the rasika/aesthete, polymath, architect and man of letters, the Paramara Raja Bhoja, who ruled in MP around Bhopal and Sanchi and whose court attracted the greatest literary talents in India.

Shilabhattarika’s work is much praised and collected by literary critics of the time and she is known to have written at least 46 poems on topics such as “love, morality, politics, nature, beauty, the seasons, insects, anger, indignation, codes of conduct, and the characteristic features of various kinds of heroines.”

Today only six of her poems survive. This is the most famous, translated by the amazing Andrew Schelling. Its just fabulous and Shilabhattarika would be remembered even if all that survived was just the first couplet:

Nights of jasmine & thunder,
torn petals
wind in the tangled kadamba trees.
Nothing has changed-
Spring has come again and we’ve simply grown older.

In the cane groves of the Narmada
he deflowered my
girlhood, long before we were
And I grieve for those far-away nights
when we played at love
By the water.

Teak plantations, Connolly and Maniram – the unsung hero

Ravindra Nath Saxena

H.V. Conolly, the Collector of British Malabar, had raised a teak plantation near Nilambur town, in the district of Malappuram in the 19th Century. The Nilambur Teak Plantation, which attracts tourists in hordes from all over the world, is named after Connolly, who has been immortalized in the local folklore. In sharp contrast, we have Maniram, a local Forest Guard, who had raised the first teak plantation on similar lines in Central India within the same time-frame goes unsung.

Conolly Teak Plantation – Nilambur

It is believed that H.V. Conolly, the then Collector of British Malabar had raised a Teak plantation in an area under his control around 1878. It baffled me – why the Collector had taken the initiative of raising this plantation in 1878. On inquiry, it was found that there was great synergy between the Revenue and Forest Departments when it came working under the Indian Forest Act, 1878. In those days, the Collectors/Deputy Commissioners were especially directed to maximise income from forest resources in order to boost “revenue” for British India. Hence the Provincial Governments and Collectors brought more and more forest areas under Government control and scientific forestry management. But this also generated plenty of resentment in Central India, particularly in terms of the Sal forests. So these statutory provisions were diluted under Indian Forest Act, 1927. Even the provisions of implementation of “working plan” was removed from the Act. The subject of “forests” was transferred to “provincial list” from the “federal list” under the Government of India Act, 1935. It was a big retrogressive decision about “forest management” in India.


Sal (Shorea robusta, Family Dipterocarpaceae) is found in 22 States of the 28 States of Union of India. The major river system of Himalayan foothills, Central and East India originate in Sal forests, and is vital for the “ecological stability” of the country.

Photograph of Maniram plantation in Chattisgarh, taken in 1988. The plantation was in excellent condition and it seems that thinnings, CBOs were carried-out properly.

The Unsung Hero

The late Maniram, Forest Guard, had raised, one of the first Teak plantations (3.5 Acres) in 1891 in Bar Forest Village, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Chattisgarh. I had prepared the “Wildlife Management Plan” of this sanctuary and inquired about Maniram and gathered that he was not rewarded for his great efforts. Some people believe that he was reprimanded on some count but, according to information available with me, there is no truth in it.

Sal Timber Depot, Keskal, Chattisgarh. Photo taken in 1982.

Click for Presentation on no-regeneration in Sal forests (seed viability is very low), Dry Rot formation, solidification of forest floor, moisture stress, infestation of invasive species, fragmentation & effect of Forest Rights Act, 2006; prevalence of Phoenix sylvestris, impact of Sal Borer, effect of underground coal mining on Sal crop in Central India.

The author, Ravindra Nath Saxena, is former PCCF, Madhya Pradesh.

Power outages in power surplus Madhya Pradesh: Protesters raise British flag

Newsroom24x7 Desk

union jack in Central IndiaBhopal: Frequent power cuts and lengthy power outages sent farmers in a protest mode and they came out on the road waiving the Union Jack – the British flag – at Matguwan, 15 kilometers from the Chhatarpur district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh, central India on Friday morning.

The Matguwan Police station has registred a case against 5 identified persons and 15 others for disrupting normal life and blocking the movement of vehicles on national highway (NH 86). An officer posted at the Matguwan Police staion told Newsoom24x7 on Saturday morning that till now no one has been arrested in this case.

One of those leading the protest at Para chowki said that they had no option but to resort to protest as they had lodged a series of complaints with the power distribution company, government authorities and even the Chief Minister’s Helpline but there was no response. He justified the raising of Union Jack and said the British Raj was better.

The Police was quick in dispersing the mob and seized the British flags

Police in Central India announces reward for the arrest of four Maoists

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Balaghat (Madhya Pradesh, India): The Balaghat Zone Inspector General of Police has announced a reward of Rs. 30,000 each for the arrest of four hardcore Maoists.

During the interrogation of Dilip, alias Guha, a member of the Tanda Dalam (a Maoist column) Police got information about the four Maoist rebels from Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Dilip is also a member of the North Gadhchiroli divisional committee.

During interrogation, Dilip told the Police about Sangeeta, a dalam member from Rashimeta falling under the Rupjhar Police station, Raghu, alias Shersingh, alias Somji (45) of Dadesa village under Lanji Police station, and Malajkhand dalam commander Ramsingh, alias Sampat, also a resident of Rashimeta under Rupjhar Police station. The fourth naxalite for whose arrest the Police have announced a reward is Dama, alias Rajesh (50) from Marum in Gadhchiroli district of Maharashtra. He has committed a number of crimes along with Dilip and is absconding.

Balaghat Zone IGP DC Sagar also informed that another hardcore naxalite Jamna from Palagondi under the Rupjhar Police station, a commander in the Tanda dalam, has committed many criminal offences along with Dilip and the state Government has announced a reward of Rs. 50,000 on her arrest. He said that a proposal is being sent to the State Government via the Police headquarters to raise the reward money on this dreaded Maoist.