Jeysundhar Profile picture
Diplomat #IndianForeignService #IFS Embassy of India Moscow विद्या मित्रं प्रवासेषु
27 Jun 20
The Church of the Savior on Blood was built by Tsar Alexander III to mark the memory of his father, Alexander II.

The 'blood' in its name indicates that the church was built at the spot where Alexander II's blood was spilled, in the last assassination attempt. #Thread
Attempts on his life were not new to Alexander II. He had taken charge as the Tsar as Russia was emerging from a humiliating defeat in the Crimean War.
He would have an eventful reign, peppered with reforms, but also several attempts to assassinate him.

5 years after his coronation, Alexander II abolished the longstanding practice of serfdom in the Russian Empire.
Read 52 tweets
31 May 20
Congratulations @SpaceX and @elonmusk. Welcome back to manned launches, USA!

I think the astronauts wouldn't have had to undergo drills firing a pistol as part of their Survival training.

I know what you're asking, "Pistols?! In space?" Read on. #Thread
Since the end of the Space Shuttle program almost a decade ago, the only way to get to the International Space Station #ISS has been the Soyuz capsule of Russia.

Unlike earlier American modules which "splashed down", the Soyuz touches down on land. Like this:
Touching down on land does not always mean an open field, and could also be in the mountains or forests (Russian bears! Yikes!).
Read 20 tweets
24 May 20
The tragedy of Hampi is matched by little else in history.
The largest and richest city in India during its time wiped out of history in a flash. #ShortThread
Cities grow, boom, decay and die. But Vijayanagar falls from the Top-3, not to 4 or 8, but simply off the chart.

Not gradually or step by step, just one violent drop.

That fateful 1565. So much changed in 1 day.

23 January 1565. The day fortunes changed for a great and mighty city, and its once proud people.

After Vijayanagar lost the Battle of Talikota against the Deccani Sultanates, Hampi was plundered.
Read 16 tweets
10 May 20
On the occasion of #HappyMothersDay, shall we look at #MathruPanchakam, a set of five stanzas composed by Adi Shankara upon the demise of his mother?
Mathru Panchakam is one of the most moving compositions on the role of a mother.

It is also probably (correct me if wrong), the only composition of Sankara dedicated to a mortal.
Mortal - a word with its origin in Latin "mort"-cognate with Sanskrit Mrityu - implies death.

As much as we sidestep thoughts of mortality, ours as well as those close to us, it happens when it has to.
Read 20 tweets
6 May 20
Since today is #NarasimhaJayanti, I thought I'd do a thread on the raga #SimhendraMadhyamam

Why this raga on this occasion? #Thread
We know the story behind #NarasimhaJayanti. To summarise:
a. Hiranyakashipu, wants to avenge the killing of his brother Hiranyaksha by Lord Vishnu.
b. Does a long penance and gets a lot of boons from various Gods, the most important being from Brahma.
c. Predictably, Hiranyakashipu (HK) asks for immortality, but Brahma refuses. So, HK asks for the same thing (he thinks), but in a convoluted manner.
d. What is that? HK asks that he not be killed by ANY living entities created by Brahma (who created practically everything)
Read 23 tweets
24 Apr 20
This is the first time I see the words "slavish" associated with Sati and Savitri. Let's see if we can make it the last time, shall we? #Thread
Let's start with Savitri. The story comes to us from the Mahabharata.

Born to a king, Savitri sets out to find her match herself.
After a long search, she zeros in on Satyavan, by all respects handsome, strong and perfect (As Narada himself attests).

However, Savitri's father is not convinced.
Read 42 tweets
31 Mar 20
The Simhanandini was originally part of what is called the Aalaya Sampradaya, or temple traditions.
It was brought into Kuchipudi, supposedly by renowned Guru CR Acharya. #Thread
CR Acharya made it his life's mission to collect, catalogue and capture for posterity the rare and quickly disappearing dance compositions practised by the Devadasis in Andhra. #Simhanandini Image
His travels in remote villages in West Godavari brought him in contact with the Simhanandini and other dance forms that were distinct to temple traditions. He adopted and adapted them to the Kuchipudi form.

A book he co-authored with Mallika Sarabhai. Image
Read 13 tweets
11 Jan 20
Yesterday was Thiruvathirai, the day of the Thiruvathirai (Arudra) star in the month of Margazhi.

It is an important festival for Shiva temples that constitute the Pancha Sabhas where Shiva performed the Tandava. #Thread
Shiva himself is hailed as Thiruvathiraiyaan. This occasion is celebrated gloriously in Chidambaram, the primus inter paeres of the Pancha Sabhas.
In some traditions, it is celebrated as the birthday of Shiva.

But it is also the birthday of another remarkable, yet very human personality.

And that's what we'll be looking at today.
Read 31 tweets
27 Dec 19
Certain days bring hope, some bring happiness and some satisfaction.

And there are days that once brought it all together.

#Thread
But was it the days alone, with their sunrise and sunset that brought all this?

Or was it something else?

Or was it someone else?
As one such day nears, there is only a sense of fear.
What will it be this year? Will it be happiness or tears?
Read 6 tweets
11 Dec 19
After Andal, if anyone expressed as much love for Krishna in Tamil literature, it was Bharati! While his songs on Krishna are well known, his translation of the Bhagavad Gita is quite helpful, especially for beginners.
#HBDBharathi
Several Bharati songs have found their way to movies, a lot of them in K Balachander movies. One of my favorites is Theertha Karaiyinile.
Bharati's muse Kannamma (Perhaps a female form of Kannan/Krishna) promised to meet him in the garden of Shenbaga flowers (Magnolia Champaca).

And then stood him up.
Read 18 tweets
6 Dec 19
Perhaps the romance associated with nostalgia comes from a feeling of superiority that the past wields over the present.
Nostalgia is thus a means of control that our memories exert upon us to perpetuate the past and preventing us from embracing the possibilities that change brings to the present.
Read 2 tweets
26 Nov 19
So, after plenty of recommendations, I finally got around to starting with the @HBO series #Chernobyl over the weekend, and watched the 3rd episode last night.
Before I go and elaborate, a shout-out to the creators @clmazin et al, for this scene.
@HBO @clmazin Let's look at the painting on the back wall, and its placement at this point in the episode.
What is this painting? What is its significance? #Thread
@HBO @clmazin Even while engrossed in the looming sense of doom, this painting stands out. I knew I had seen it somewhere during my time in Russia.

The painting is called Иван Грозный и сын его Иван 16 ноября 1581 года -
Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581
Read 26 tweets
27 Oct 19
On Deepawali mornings, I'm reminded of the scene from the movie Aaha. That thatha going... "Andha 10000-wala va koluthi podu". #HappyDeepawali
Not too different from the rhythmic cracking of the 10000 wala, is the memory of Valayapatti setting the mood with his Thavil, as Namagiripettai Krishnan started with Gnana Vinaayakane, the sound I woke up to on Deepavali mornings.
Unlike other early mornings, this one wouldn't need prodding from the elders to wake you up. "No, Sir! Not today!". On Deepavali, Thavil and Nadhaswaram were enough to get you out of bed and good to go! So, off you went! Pattaasu awaits!
Read 21 tweets
29 Sep 19
It’s that time of the year again! The 9 days of festivities, Navaratri is here! Celebrated in various parts of the country in various ways, the festival is special for several reasons. #Navratri #Navaratri2019 #Thread
From the familiar golu in TN to Navaratri fasting concluding with the grand celebrations of Dasami or Dusshera depending on which part of India you're in, the festival is filled with lore, legend and backstories found in Itihasas and Puranas.
#Navratri #Navaratri2019
Some of you may remember that last year during the 9 days of #Navratri, we spoke about 9 kritis of the Navavaranas dedicated to goddess Kamalaamba,composed by Muthuswami Dikshithar. Here’s the thread if you’d like to jog through it. #Navaratri2019
Read 157 tweets
6 Jun 19
Since today is the day of #ShivajiMaharaj's coronation and becoming #ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj, tempted to do a thread on his Madras/Chennai connection.
So, as we know #ShivajiMaharaj's coronation was held in a glorious ceremony on 6 June 1674. This was important as without the ceremony, Shivaji did not hold any "kingly" title.
After his coronation, Shivaji became #ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj. He also was given the titles of Shakakarta (Creator of an era) and Haindhava Dharmoddhaaraka (Protector of the Hindu Dharma).
Read 47 tweets
26 May 19
So, this meme in the tweet.
I think I have a thing or two to say about it. So, please bear with me through this thread.
What is it that the so-called RW in India is often accused of? "A false sense of pride in India's past"? I have a feeling this meme fits that description with a slight modification.
Tamil Nadu has plenty to be proud of. In the present, it leads the country in terms of several important HDI indices, employment creation etc. etc. Historically, the architecture of its temples, schools of philosophy, cultural connect with SE Asia and so on.
Read 32 tweets
11 Oct 18
As it is Navaratri season, (and since December is coming), thought I'd talk about something from the world of Carnatic music. Dikshithar's Kamalamba Navavarnas.
Before we start with the Navavarnas, themselves, a bit of background on Kamalamba/Kamalambigai, the Goddess of the Thyagaraja Temple at Thiruvaroor. Interestingly, there is a separate shrine for the wife of Thyagesa, Nilotpalamba.
But it's to Kamalamba that Dikshithar dedicated his Navavarnas. Perhaps he was inspired by the unique seated portrayal of the idol, with her legs crossed, probably the only such portrayal anywhere in India
Read 82 tweets