Greece and India

When I was writing many articles about the history of Lefkás last year someone commented about the fact they thought there was some link between the two. At the time I couldn’t find anything on the web about this so I couldn’t help them. It is only through listening to the excellent Eva Palmer Sikelianos- Her life in ruins by Artemis Leontis that I have been able to find out any information about this. Even Google comes up blank!

Now in order to fill in a lot of gaps of generally unreported or unknown history I’m going to have to give out a couple of history recaps and this will make this article long and quite possibly unwieldy. Bear with me while I set the scene.

When I was in India just before Covid caused the world to shutdown I went to the Gandhi memorial gardens. It’s a peaceful paradise in the middle of a busy, hot, dirty city. It’s quite simple but it’s effective just like Gandhi would have wanted it to be. It is however part of the tourist trail which is not what he would have wanted but you don’t have control after you die. As we were on quite a whistle stop tour we just passed by it since you can see everything from your window and Covid was starting to bite. It might have been nice to go around the place but instead I have a postcard memory. By that I mean the memory of an image rather than the actual place.

As India is so big it’s good to have a plan in place so that you make the most of your time there. Checking out Gandhi’s history only became part of the schedule as we had time to spare. It would take a whole other holiday to properly research this.

As I’m clearly digressing from the point I’m wanting to make I will try to get there promptly. The reason I mention Gandhi is because he was a major influence in the revolution in India against British colonial rule and included in that was wearing Parisian fashion. These were often made using Indian cotton and cloth. This was to become known as the khadi or homespun cloth movement. He wished women to go back to the loom and weave their own clothes similar to Eva Palmer Sikelianos.

Eva had also met the first Indian Nobel literature prize winner poet and polymath Rabindranath Tagore; along with the granddaughter of Dadabhai Naoroji who was known as the Grand Old Man of India. Now Khorshed Naoroji is a person who has completely disappeared into history apart from her time spent with Eva, Gandhi and the knighted Tagore.

Khorshed possibly had a brief intense relationship with Eva where she was converted into wearing traditional Indian saris instead of the more fashionable Parisian styles she was more accustomed to wearing. She was trying to develop a Byzantine style school to teach those in India about Greek music, dance, language and culture and would have succeeded but Eva choose to help her husband with the development of the Delphic festivals. It was this that led to Eva’s life in ruins as well as her study of archeology 😉

Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Choker Bali is available on Netflix to watch if you want to find out more about his work for yourself. I found it a very enjoyable watch. It’s subtitled as far as I recall.

The Grand Old Man of India, Dadabhai Naoroji, was the first British Indian MP who is commentated in many street names in India but also in Finsbury Park London. If I had continued to read the William Dalrymple book that was in a hotel in India I would know more as would you all.

Linguistic insights into the shared Greek and Russian cultures

Since I love both history and language I thought this video was both amazing in giving new insights and intriguing as it makes you want to learn more.

What a love for the Russian language can do for you.

Apostolos (Lakis) Santas Greek soldier 1922-2012

His family come from Lefkás while he was born in Patras. They put this gravestone up in front of a children’s playground which carries his name. The area is known as Apostolos Santas square. They also have a big sewing shop in town if I’m correct here since it’s an unusual surname.

He took down the German flag from the Acropolis on 30th May 1941 which is what it says on the gravestone.

Big Wikipedia article on him Apostolos Santas.

Best wishes

Angela

The 10+1 Most Important Figures of Greek Independence | GreekReporter.com

Greek people had been enslaved for many centuries and the revolution was one of the most significant historic events in modern Greek history.
— Read on greece.greekreporter.com/2015/03/25/the-10-most-important-figures-of-greek-independence/

This is a Greek view of their struggle for independence so it might be slightly biased.

Best wishes

Angela

Famous Lefkadians

Famous Lefkadians list
Famous Lefkadians list

I’m not quite sure why these people made the list and not others. It’s mainly a list of government officials which I haven’t seen any evidence of elsewhere. If you want to know how I’m able to say all these people have streets name after them, I’m looking at a street map of Lefkás town of course. (Yes I am sad enough to walk the entire town taking pictures of street signs in 30c heat).

5. Petros Filipas Panagos 1860-1935 He was a doctor and a politician, with the below statue and a street named after him but I haven’t been able to find out anything more about him. Petros Filipas Panagos doctor

Petros Filipas Panagos doctor

6. Konstantinos Macheras 1888-1967 was a historian with a street named after him.

7. Konstantinos Grapsas 1880-1948 was lawyer, writer and a translator with you guessed it a street named after him.

9. Anastasios Skidaresis 1877-1941 MP, poet, translator of Ancient Greek and Italian Poets and another street name.

10. Dionysios Palladines 1888-1977 Archbishop of Lefkás and Ithaka who helped get the National Library into the current building. He also has a square named after him.

11.Angelos Sikelianos is the most famous Lefkádian who turns up in quite a few places and I have written about him, his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos and his poet /author friends George Seferis, etc at length already.

12.Efstathios Zakkas 1835-1888 is a benefactor according to the list and has a street named after him but that it’s as far as I know.

Efstathiou street

13. Nikos Katiforis has slightly more information around about himself being that he lived closer to the present day and I wrote about him in a separate post but not a lot due to my inability to find the Lefkádian archives.

14. Dimitrios Golemis Dimitrios Golemis Olympic 800m bronze 1896

Dimitrios Golemis Olympic 800m bronze 1896

has his own statue in Lefkás town because he came third in the Olympic 800m in 1896. He had many other positions to occupy himself but information about him is thin on the ground.He does have a street named after him though.

The others I’m scratching at straws as we say in English ie Apart from basic biographical data I haven’t a clue who they were. Sometimes only the name exists.

There are 2 more libraries which I’m yet to locate here in Lefkás town- The Nikos Svoronos Library and the Haralambos Library. They should be able to help me fill in the gaps.

Honourable mentions go to Nikolaos Flogaitis 1799-1867 Freedom fighter because he too has a street named after him,

Frederick Temple 1821-1902 who after being born in Santa Maura fort became Archbishop of Canterbury,

Petros Soumilas 1861-19? A soldier who was born on Lefkás and finally

Marcos Christino Fioravanti 1775-1862 who was also born in Santa Maura but became a legendary teacher and translator in Brazil.

Thankyou tourism websites and Wikipedia. If however I have piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about Lefkás and it’s people click over here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Yiannis Ritsos Greek poet 1909-1990

Kostis Palamas was impressed by his work in 1934 and praised him publicly.

Yiannis joined the communist party in the 1930’s and being left wing that means he’s going to clash when the right wing dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936) takes hold in Greece. He responded when they started burning his famous poetry by turning to surrealism as did so many of his colleagues.

In the 1950’s his work was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis.

He was also imprisoned when Greece suffered a second dictatorship performed by Papadopoulos commonly known as the military junta in 1967.

As a result of this his poetry was frequently banned.

He was rather unlucky when it came to the Nobel prize of Literature because of this censorship. He has been nominated 9 times unsuccessfully and finally he won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1975 which I guess is some form of compensation for continually being passed over because of his beliefs.

As I feel this post is rather lacking since I didn’t find any inspiration here is the view of a native Yiannis Ritsos.

This is the thirteenth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

C G Karyotakis

Ioannis Valaoritis

Odysseus Elytis

Andreas Emberikos

Kostis Palamas

Ioannis Zampelios

Spiridon Zampelios

Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Foreigners who have an interest in Greece and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Sententiae Antiquae

Here is a list of SA posts that I have previously shared and since they generally have good posts I frequently get tempted to share them.

Lyric, love and translation

The first is an ancient Lefkás poet Sappho and the only woman too unless you count the wife of Angelos Sikelianos, Eva. For my series on Lefkadian poets check here :-

Aristotle Valaoritis ,

C F Cavafy,

Angelos Sikelianos,

Lefkadia Hearn.

Formal and informal language

An article on different styles of writing and why you might perhaps want to use one over the other.

The pleasure of reading

Why you should indulge in this hobby.

Best wishes

Angela

Ελευθείρα!(Freedom)

https://www.pappaspost.com/freedom-enduring-greek-ideal-on-greek-independence-day/

For those of you that don’t know about Greek Independence Day I thought I would share a post to illuminate you on this issue. This subject tends to get missed out from history classes. I love history and have therefore researched it quite a lot but it wasn’t until I really started to learn the language and the culture from visiting that I started to understand its importance. I have written many posts about Greek language, culture and history on my other blog athenaminerva7@wordpress.com and now I’m continuing this trend on here. I’m trying to be more focused with the personal and autistic posts on my first blog and the Greek related posts on here.

I have also neglected to post a schedule as I try to post during the week and have a break during the weekend but it appears that I’m reaching far more people by posting every day. Once again Cristian Mihai is proving he knows his onions not just with his “just punch the damn keys”. Getting your posts in front of more eye balls and keeping your name in people’s mind is vitally important. When you gain traction, capitalise on it as it’s so very difficult to regain growth if you have slacked off for whatever reason. I know this is tough but we love it and that’s why we do it.

How do you overcome your struggles with productivity?

Wishing you all well

Angela

Brexit: The uncivil war

In a follow up article to the one I previously wrote on Brexit and Grexit; I have just watched Brexit: The uncivil war. It’s a brilliant show which shows exactly how Brexit happened.

I love Benedict Cumberbatch as he is such a talented actor. I adore the erudite way he speaks and acts. His intellect is phenomenal. No matter his role he is utterly convincing.

Now having learnt about Brexit from both sides, what is your opinion on the matter?

Best wishes

Angela

Comparing and contrasting Brexit (2016) and the Greek Referendum (2015)

I’ve just been watching Inside Europe: 10 years of turmoil and it documents in its 3 programs :-

First the immediate background leading up to the momentous decision that is Brexit,

Second the events around the Greek financial bailouts or Grexit as some reports named it and

Lastly the refugee crisis that came to dominate the headlines and the entirety of Europe.

Therefore I decided to write an opinion piece as I have spent a considerable amount of time in both Greece and England over the last 10 years along with visiting places like Morocco, Canary Islands, Italy, Denmark and America.

Brexit

Britain leaving the European Union has been debated for a long time before we were given the chance to decide whether we still wished to be part of it. I wasn’t around when we first joined the eu but from what I have heard, there was a great debate over that too.

I think it’s part of us being an island that makes us so insular and so reject a closer union with our neighbours.

This video debates languages but has references to the British attitude to being closer to Europe.

British people are notoriously cold and I believe it’s not only our weather that makes us like this but our traditions as well. This is why we are reluctant to have any closer ties to what can colloquially called “Johnny foreigner”. This is a rather outdated concept but responsible for a lot of the anti immigration feeling that led to Brexit. If you analyse the statistics you will find that it is older people and people from the heartlands of the uk who voted for Brexit. This is almost like trying to put the milk back in the bottle after you have spilled it. It can’t be done but if you try to risk contaminating the rest of the milk.

Brexit reminds me of Pandora’s box as we have allowed all of the contents out yet in our efforts to close the box and attempt to go back to the way things were, we have left hope trapped inside.

Nothing good can come of us returning to a place we last
inhabited in the 1970s. The world has changed too much and we all know we were sold a pack of lies as to the benefits of Brexit. The daily news relates each new case of a business quitting because of uncertainty surrounding the rules that are going to be in place and the trade deals that will be used to help enforce these new criteria.

Grexit

The Greeks on the other hand are in some ways still in the 1970s as you can here the way they spoke then if you go past a cafe (kafenon) and listen to the old men chatting.

Greece is a place that still has traditional values which can seem to some rather backward because mental health is not a buzz word nor is gender identity or trans rights. These are all good things but they are not splashed all over the media. People have common sense so they don’t need to have an oppressive stance to get across to them that these sections of the community need respect. They are private people who get on with their lives and don’t worry about the opinions of others. They don’t follow fashion as they know it changes so quickly and they don’t have the income to keep up with that.

The Greeks are very hard working and you can find studies online which show how they work the most but this not sufficient to prosper in today’s society. You need to work in a profitable way and this is often the opposite of the humane way.

This is why the Greeks rebelled against the austerity measures as you can only take so many cuts before its impossible to continue. They changed their government to elect members who would vote against anything more from the Germans. So understandably they were not happy that when their prime minister Alexis Tsipras gave them a referendum and they rejected it by 61% which is a lot more decisive than 52%. However their PM decided to ignore “the will of the people” as Teresa May is so fond of calling it as he needed to remain in Europe. He like all Greeks likes money and will do what is necessary to ensure a constant supply of it.

We could do the same as the Greeks as I think they set a precedent there but no, we have Teresa May saying Brexit means Brexit means Brexit. What actually does that mean?

Immigration

Is it that we can’t cope with immigrants? We didn’t have the same number flooding in from Syria that the Greeks had to deal with. Admittedly we are the final destination unlike Greece being the first stop but the English are famous for being monolingual and our European counterparts are multilingual. This means we have a limited way in terms of thinking and connection. We are inflexible and not open to other avenues simply because they don’t exist for us. We cannot comprehend there way of life so they cannot integrate into ours. There will forever be a distance culturally, ethically and linguistically.

I wrote a follow up to this and here is the link to it :- Brexit: The unholy war

What do you all think of this situation? Please let me know by writing in the comments below.

Best wishes

Angela