Tag Archives: Food for Thought

Paintings With Navels of Adam and Eve – Part 1


Myself

 

 

 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

The above painting opened my eyes to the world of art. Do you see anything wrong in this painting of Adam and Eve? I am not a connoisseur of art per se, nor do I pretend to be one.

Explain this - Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Explain this – Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

I couldn’t but exclaim “What? Adam and Eve with belly buttons? The artist was a dumb idiot!” 

But the artist who painted it was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes. 

Self portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Self-portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder was the principal member of the family of artists by the name Cranach who were active in Saxony during the 16th century.

From about 1501 to 1504 Lucas Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of the Wife of Dr Johann Stephan Reuss (1503), found in the collection of Staatliche Museen, Berlin and The Crucifixion (1503, in Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg and held the position until 1550. As a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, he received a title and was mayor in 1537.

In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. He painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and EveThe Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and nearly 20 versions of Venus and Cupid from 1527 to 1545. 

As a friend of Martin Luther, Cranach’s art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation. 

Cranach ran a large workshop and produced hundreds of works. His sons too were artists. His oldest son Hans Cranach died prematurely. His other son, Lucas Cranach the Younger was his pupil and assistant and distinguished himself.

Lucas Cranach died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553.

Here are some more paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder. All with navels!
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Adam and Eve - 01b - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 16 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 19 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

Adam and Eve - 17 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 05Adam and Eve - 18 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

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Having a Homosexual Relationship Is Not Wrong in India


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Buggery Act 1533, formally An Acte for the punishment of the vice of Buggerie (25 Hen. 8 c. 6), was an Act of the Parliament of England that passed during the reign of Henry VIII piloted through Parliament by Thomas Cromwell.

The Act defined buggery as an unnatural sexual act, “the detestable and abominable Vice of Buggery committed with Mankind or Beast” against the will of God and Man. This was later defined by the courts to include only anal penetration and bestiality.

It was England’s first civil sodomy law, such offences having previously been dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts. The act remained in force until repealed and replaced by the Offences against the Person Act 1828, and buggery remained a capital offence until 1861, though the last executions were in 1835.

The Indian Penal Code introduced in 1861 during the British rule of India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533,. It makes sexual activities “against the order of nature“, illegal.

377. Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with impris­onment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section

All over the world many still consider homosexuality as a “deviant behaviour” and not merely a question of one’s sexual orientation or preference. In India, too many consider homosexuality as taboo, and opinions are divided on this controversial issue but the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT community and some freedom-loving people want homosexuality de-criminalised.

On July 2, 2009, in response to a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalized consensual sexual activities between homosexual adults conducted in private, the Delhi High Court struck down portions of Section 377 concerning gay sex as unconstitutional. The judgment held that Section 377 infringed upon fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution of India, and declared the section unconstitutional to the extent that it criminalized private consensual sexual activity between adults. 

Some religious bodies challenged this judgment of decriminalizing Section 377 in the Supreme Court of India.

On December 11, 2013, in Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation case, the Supreme Court of India held that Section 377 providing punishment for gay sex was constitutionally valid and overturned the judgement of the Delhi High Court, thereby shutting the small window for gay rights opened by the Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court held that amending or repealing section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary. 

On Saturday, November 28, 2015, speaking at the Times LitFest, late finance minister Arun Jaitley of BJP and his predecessor P Chidambaram of Congress came out in support of gay rights. 

Arun Jaitley is the first leader from the BJP to have supported decriminalization of consensual sex among gay adults. Speaking in his capacity, he said, “When millions of people world over are having alternative sexual preferences, it is too late in the day to propound a view that they should be jailed. The Delhi High Court’s view appears more acceptable.” 

Speaking just afterwards, Chidambaram, who was also speaking in his capacity, said that the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalizing gay sex was a wonderful one and the Supreme Court should have stayed with it.

On February 6, 2016, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court reviewed curative petitions submitted by the Naz Foundation and others and decided that they would be reviewed by a five-member constitutional bench.

On August 24, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution in the landmark  Puttaswamy judgement. The Court also called for equality and condemned discrimination, stated that the protection of sexual orientation lies at the core of the fundamental rights and that the rights of the LGBT population are real and founded on constitutional doctrine. This judgement was believed to imply the unconstitutionality of section 377. 

In January 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition to revisit the 2013 Naz Foundation judgment. 

On Thursday, September 6, 2018, in the judgment given by a five judges bench comprising the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud, A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, the Supreme Court of India pronounced the much-awaited verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex. It ruled unanimously in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex.” 

However, other portions of Section 377 relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts, and bestiality stay in force.

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Racism Revealed by the Minister for Forests in Tamilnadu, India


Myself

 

 

 

BT. V. Antony Raj

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Dindigul C Sreenivasan, Minister for Forests in the present AIDMK government in Tamilnadu, India.

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Today, Thursday, February 6, 2020, Dindigul C Sreenivasan who serves as the Minister for Forests in the present AIDMK government in Tamilnadu was at Theppakadu in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) located in the Nilgiris to inaugurate the annual rejuvenation camp for captive/tamed elephants. Along with the minister were Ms J Innocent Divya IAS, District Collector of the Nilgiris District, Mr A Ramu, alias ‘Shanthi‘ A Ramu, the MLA for Coonor, and officials from the district revenue and forest departments.

Dindigul Sreenivasan who bent down almost to the floor every time he saw Ms JJ when she was alive and after her demise bowed to Ms Sasikala, and hence nicknamed “a tire-licker” along with his fellow ministers, has accumulated so much fat that he can’t bend even to remove his own footwear now.

The inauguration of the annual rejuvenation camp for elephants was marred by an incident in which Dindigul C Sreenivasan exposed himself as a VVIP Racist.

Kethan, a Class IX schoolboy belonging to the Irula tribal community was present there to witness the inauguration of the rejuvenation camp with a friend. Both the boys were sons of mahouts at the camp.

Before entering a shrine, the 71-year-old minister, who found it difficult to bend due to accumulated fat, beckoned the tribal boy Keithan.

Keithan was afraid when the minister called him as he thought the minister would scold him for not having gone to school. With hesitation, Keithan and his friend approached. The minister asked Keithan to unbuckle his slippers.

When press photographers and others tried to take photographs, Dindigul C Sreenivasan asked them to stop, while A Ramu, the MLA for Coonoor, tried to block photographers from getting a clear picture.

The two boys were then asked by another member of the minister’s entourage to pick up the slippers and leave them at the entrance of the shrine.

Now, the above video of the incident has gone viral on social media. People are outraged by the minister’s “arrogance” and are demanding action against him and sacking him from his position for discriminating and mistreating the tribal boy.

Many want Dindigul Srinivasan to be booked under the SC/ST PoA Act. along with the equally liable government officials who were silent spectators during the incident.

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School Children Seated on a Live Bomb


Myself

BT. V. Antony Raj

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School Children Seated on a Live Bomb (Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Any fuel, including those used in motor vehicles, can be dangerous if handled improperly. Fuels contain energy, which is released when ignited. Gasoline is a potentially dangerous fuel and the same is true of natural gas.

At a compressed natural gas fueling station the gas is compressed before being provided to vehicles at 3000 to 3600 pounds per square inch (psi).

In India, many parents prefer to send their children to school in vans, some of them powered by natural gas because monetary wise it’s cheaper than official school buses; these parents do not object to overcrowding in the vans because their children can be picked up and dropped closer to their homes.

Whenever these vans are checked for safety and action initiated against them for failure to comply with the norms, it is the parents who come forward in defence of the errant van owners.

The Tamil and Sinhalese New Year


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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A food treat for Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka (Photo: Amila Tennakoon)

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The Tamil and Sinhalese New Year, generally known as Tamizh Puthandu (Tamil: தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு) in Tamil Nadu and among the Indian worldwide Tamil diaspora, and as Sinhala Aluth Avurudda (Sinhala: සිංහල අලුත් අවුරුද්ද) in Sri Lanka, is a major anniversary celebrated by the Sinhalese and Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai. It, therefore, falls on or about 14 April every year on the Gregorian calendar. The same day is observed by Hindus elsewhere as the traditional new year but is known by other names such as Vishu in Kerala, and Vaisakhi or Baisakhi in central and northern India.

The Sinhalese New Year / Sinhala Aluth Avurudda has a close semblance to the Tamil New year / Tamizh Puthandu and is a public holiday in Sri Lanka. It is generally celebrated on 13 April or 14 April and traditionally begins at the sighting of the new moon.

On January 29, 2008, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Government of Tamil Nadu enacted the Tamil Nadu New Year Declaration Bill 2008 which declared that the Tamil new year should be celebrated on the first day of Tamil month of Thai (14th January) to coincide with the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal. However, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada continued to observe the new year in mid-April.

The law enacted by the DMK-led Government of Tamil Nadu was met with resistance by the majority of Tamils in the state and elsewhere. It was also challenged in court, questioned by Hindu priests and many Tamil scholars around the world. Many in Tamil Nadu ignored the DMK government legislation and continued the celebration of the traditional Puthandu new year festival in mid-April.

The then opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) in Tamil Nadu subsequently condemned the decision of the DMK Government in that state and urged their supporters to continue celebrating the traditional date in mid-April.

In an effort to placate popular sentiments the DMK-led government renamed Tamil Puthandu as “Chithirai Tirunal” (the festival of the Tamil month of Chithirai). It maintained April 14 as a public holiday purportedly to commemorate late Dr B.R Ambedkar, who was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution even though all the television channels in Tamil Nadu continued to telecast festive “Chithirai Tirunal Special Programs” on April 14, 2010.

In April 2010, the Governor and the Chief Minister of the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, which has an ethnic Tamil majority, wished and greeted the public for the Tamil new year 2010.

Subsequently, on August 23, 2011, an AIADMK majority-led government rescinded this law legislated by the DMK majority-led government by a separate act of legislation in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

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When I lay me down to Sleep, …


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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John Brown by Augustus Washington

John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was an American radical abolitionist who believed in and advocated armed insurrection as the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. He had 20 children of which 11 survived to adulthood.

In mid-October 1859, John Brown and 21 other men seized the federal armoury at Harper’s Ferry, the holding place for approximately 100,000 rifles and muskets, with the hope of arming slaves and start a violent slave liberation movement that would spread south through the mountainous regions of Virginia and North Carolina.

Within 36 hours, the revolt was suppressed by local farmers, militiamen, and US Marines, the latter led by Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate States. The raid resulted in thirteen deaths – twelve rebels and one U.S. Marine.

John Brown was hastily tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, the murder of five men (including 3 blacks), and inciting a slave insurrection. He was found guilty on all counts. He was the first person convicted of treason in the history of the country.

Henry David Thoreau.

On Sunday Evening of October 30, 1859, two weeks after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, tax resister, historian, development critic, and transcendentalist read to the citizens of Concord, Massachusettes, “A Plea for Captain John Brown” and repeated it several times before Brown’s execution on December 2, 1859. It was later published as an essay as a part of Echoes of Harper’s Ferry in 1860.

In his “A Plea for Captain John Brown“, Thoreau vents his rage at the scores of Americans who have voiced their displeasure and scorn for John Brown. Thoreau says, the same people, who say their prayers and then go to sleep aware of injustice but doing nothing to change it can’t relate to Brown because of their concrete stances and “dead” existences.

Joseph Addison by Sir Godfrey Kneller

About 148 years before, on March 8, 1711, Joseph Addison (May 1, 1672 – June 17, 1719), an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician wrote an essay that appeared in The Spectator in which he says:

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his Care;
when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction.

All the bedtime prayers of the modern pious Christians, then and now, begin with one of the variants of this classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century which is sometimes combined with the “Black Paternoster”, one version of which goes:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch and one to pray
And two to bear my soul away.

In his “A Plea for Captain John Brown“, Thoreau criticized contemporary Christians by saying that “The modern Christian is a man who has consented to say all the prayers in the liturgy, provided you will let him go straight to bed and sleep quietly afterwards. All his prayers begin with “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

In plain English, the modern pious Christian does not wish to be disturbed. He looks forward to a future of inactivity. All effort, especially intellectual effort, is distasteful to him and is apt to offend and unsettle him. Hence the intellectual life must not be real; what must be real is the sleep. Sleep seems to be his quest, and in the words of Thoreau “he is forever looking forward to the time when he shall go to his ‘long rest.’

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mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Last Sunday, during the sermon, the village Pastor told his congregation that one should always embrace his/her mistakes and say “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa” meaning “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.

Now the Pastor wonders why his pious gardner hugs him every day and utters “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

Do You Believe in Prayers?


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The following story is a modern-day admonition to many “I’m holier than thou” churchgoers to not allow transient secular needs to get in the way of their belief and faith.

The tale prompts the readers to assess the true contents of their hearts and find if they aren’t at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing by setting aside their faith when faith becomes inconvenient or whether they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?

The judge in the story points out, that there is something wrong about the congregation that puts worldly matters first and doubts its belief in prayer.

A Tavern Owner Sues Members of the Baptist Church

In the early 19th century the Goshen Road was the main road in Mount Vernon, the county seat of Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The Baptist settlers built a church on this road and had a good following.

In 1860, Pierce Drummond after getting a permit to open the first tavern in Mount Vernon bought the building opposite the Baptist church and launched his business.

The members of the Baptist church who strongly opposed the opening of the tavern appealed to the authorities to shut it down. The officers, already bribed by Drummond with liquor and money turned a deaf ear to their appeal. So, every day, the members of the Baptist congregation prayed to God to intervene.

Four months later, the building that housed the tavern was struck by lightning and a fire broke out. The members of the Baptist church rejoiced and praised God for hearing their prayers. Their jubilation was short-lived because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner sued them.

In court, Mr Drummond contended that the lightning bolt that destroyed his tavern was the result of the prayers of the members of the Baptist church. The members of the church, nonetheless, denied all responsibility for the destruction of the tavern.

After the preliminary hearing, the judge warily remarked, “It’s difficult to decide the case because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner, believes in the power of prayer and the church people don’t.

Precautionary Measure


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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After dating for six months, Antonio and Sophia finally decided to marry. It took such a long time for Antonio to propose because of Gina, the voluptuous unmarried elder sister of Sophia, who from the day he met her was tempting him by offering spectacular views of her braless breasts whenever she came near him.

A month before the wedding Gina phoned Antonio and asked him to come over to their house to check the wedding invitation.

When Antonio parked his car under the porch of Sophia’s house. The usually noisy house was calm. When he rang the bell, Gina opened the door and he could feel a hint of trepidation in her mien as she pulled him inside and shut the door. Embracing him she said that she was alone in the house and had been waiting long for such a moment to express her feelings and desires for him and wanted to sleep with him as many times as she could before he married her younger sister.

When Gina said, “Let’s go upstairs to my bedroom and ...”, he just stood there stupefied. As she climbed the stairs, he rushed out of the house. He froze in his tracks when he saw Sophia and all the members of her family standing near his car, and Sophia’s father was holding a gun. They all smiled and cheered.

With joyful tears streaming down his cheeks, his future father-in-law gave the gun to Sophia. He hugged Antonio and said, “You have passed our little test. We don’t think we can find a better man than you as a faithful husband for my younger daughter. Welcome to the family!

Just then Gina came out of the house and joined her family members. They all went laughing into the house with Antonio. After dinner, Gina accosted Antonio and while offering a view of her gorgeous braless breasts, whispered, “My offer still stands even after you marry my sister!

He smiled slyly as acceptance of her offer and silently vowed to keep his condoms always in his car as a precautionary measure and never in his pockets!

 

Don’t Mess with Another Person’s Life.


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Image credit: bonobology.com

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Do you know that there some people who are off limits?

If a person is messing with someone who is already in love with another, or with someone who expects a serious relationship, or with someone married, with the intention of only a new ‘conquest’ and no love, would you approve his/her action?

If your answer is ‘no‘ then you too should not do it.

If you truly love another person and realize you are off limits then stop messing with that person’s life right now. If your feelings for that person is really deep, it would indeed be hard for you and it would take a long time for you to get over your infatuation. If you do so it would be worth for your reputation, and sooner or later someone who is not off limits will come along for you to love without any inhibition, and then you will know that your decision to stay off limits was worth the wait.