Tuesday, May 19, 2009

R is for Rangoon, Rani Lakshmibai, and more...

Join Abc Wednesdays with R today - over at mrs. nesbitt's place.

I like R. It stands for some wonderful people and places and, through some of them, for some great childhood memories too. R is for Raju, my husband and life partner. R is for Ranikhet, where I had 3 fantastic vacations as a kid with my oldest friend in this world, my cousin Abhilash. R is for Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, my childhood heroine. Here's what I've written about her on my Pamposh Dhar blog:

A 23-year-old woman on horseback, sword in hand, her young son strapped to her back, leading an army into battle against a mighty but unjust empire.What’s not to idolize? Lakshmibai had everything I could possibly want to see in my hero/ine: courage, strength, leadership, a refusal to be bound by convention, and a determination to fight injustice both in her own behalf and on behalf of others.
Read more about her here.

Also tied up with my childhood are my memories of Ranikhet, a beautiful town in the Himalayas, commanding a fantastic panoramic view of a whole range of snow-clad mountains. These include Nanda Devi (or Godess Nanda) and the three mountains that together make up Trishul (which means Trident, a weapon with three points, associated with Lord Shiva). My uncle and cousin lived in a large, double-storeyed wooden house atop a small hill – I think it was the highest point in the town. I remember waking up early, before 6 a.m., to get a clear view of the mountains from the balcony before the mountains got shrouded in mist. Go here to see a photo on the Net.

R is for Rangoon, also known as Yangon, which I visited for the first time in 2005. Rangoon is the capital of the unfortunate country of Myanmar, formerly Burma. A beautiful country with a long history, it is now ruled by a ruthless military junta.

The country's most famous political prisoner is Aung Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 13 years and is now threatened with a prison term. Suu Kyi (pronounced Su Chi) leads a peaceful movement for democracy. She is charged with "receiving an unauthorized visitor," reports the New York Times.

Rangoon is known for its gilded stupas, its Buddha statues, its wandering monks and nuns, its gem bazaars (fabulous rubies and emeralds), and its gentle, peace-living people - all except the murderous generals in the junta that is.

Buddhism is very much a part of daily life. And monks have to eat too, you know:


  1. What a historically rich R! I'm gawking at each and ever picture! Bravo Pam! (My R post is up now too:)

  2. Thank you for a very interesting post my friend! Excellent choice for R.


  3. Ah, the mystical and magical R narrative - absolutely astounding - thank you!

  4. Wonderful R! I love this letter, too. You know why ;). I'm sorry but I think my posts will be late, Pamposh. We have a national holiday here. I may post and take my rounds on Friday. Have a wonderful day :)

  5. Enjoy your photos and stories. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I've never been to south Asia, so i can live vicariously through others!

  7. All of your "Rs" are new to me. Thanks for sharing a Rich, Revealing, Rewarding look at the world!