Jaisalmer in Jeopardy
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Some Previous Events

JiJ has been holding fundraising events in the UK since 1998. Ranging from shopping evenings and gallery talks to highly successful oversubsribed major events in London's smartest venues and has gained an enviable reputation of providing incredibly enjoyable evenings for 'Friends of Jaisalmer' - whilst never losing sight of the main objective - the need to raise funds and awareness for its ongoing commitments in Jaisalmer.

INDIA TALK ; AA GILL AT ASIA HOUSE JiJ’s 2006 fundraiser took place on Thursday 18th May in the sumptuous new headquarter building of Asia House in London’s New Cavendish Street. Introduced by JiJ Chairman Mehra Dalton, AA Gill and interviewer Paul Blezard of OneWord Radio held an amusing insightful and at times irreverent discussion on a wide ranging India theme, touching on food, travel, history and the fascination in which India is held in the collective imagination. The talk was preceded by a champagne reception, courtesy of Oberoi Hotels and followed by drinks and canapés in the two fine rooms on the first floor of the recently restored townhouse. Guests from the worlds of business, travel, media and the arts including Chairman of the Staples Trust Jessica Sainsbury with her husband Peter, Prince Francopan, painter Tobit Roche, authorsChris C aldicott and Martin Buckley, Zaffar Rushdie, Sloane Ranger Diary author Ann Barr, internationally syndicated astrologer Shelley von Strunckle, Tatler's Editor-at-Large Nicola Formby, joined chief guests HH The Rajmata of Jaipur and Asia House founder Sir Peter Wakefield accompanied by Lady Wakefield. The evening raised funds to continue the restoration of Har Raj Ji Ka Mahal, a landmark building within the fort and now in its second Phase.

For two days in June, Kensington Town Hall shook off its staid Royal Borough image and played host to an eclectic group of India's most exciting young designers of clothes, accessories and jewellery.

Kicking off on the 2nd with a private view and reception, generously sponsored by Vedanta and hosted by the Ladies' Wing of the Indian Merchants' Chamber in support of JiJ, the opening night's special preview brought together prominent members of London's Indian community, fashionistas, Indophiles and JiJ's party-going supporters joining chief guests, Her Highness the Rajmata of Jaisalmer, His Excellency the Indian High Commissioner accompanied by Mrs Shah, and Baroness Flather to declare open the exhibition of 33 of Mumbai's cutting edge designers gathered together for the first time in the UK.

Following the welcoming speeches, an enchanting rendition of the Peacock Dance by exhibitor Meena Mehadevia and the traditional 'lighting of the lamp' by HH the Rajmata, guests including MP Keith Vaz, author and journalist Polly Devlin, Harpers & Queen Travel Editor Catherine Fairweather and design guru Andrew Logan were invited to view the special preview before the exhibition opened to the general public.

Whilst some guests carried on partying, the dedicated shoppers amongst them hurried to snap up exclusive jewellery and designer fashion bargains displayed in the Great Hall extravegantly decked out to resemble an Eastern bazaar. Two hours of shopping later, with the occasional pit stop to enjoy the drinks and canapes on offer, many guests were seen to leave the party with far more bags than they arrived with!

(right) Anwar and Kiki Siddiq with IMC's Mrs Sheila Bhogilal

The exhibition and sale held on the following two days had a large proportion of London's shopaholics beating a path to the town hall door. Exceeding the target set by the Ladies Wing of 3000 visitors, the exhibitors found themselves literally overwhelmed by eager buyers desperate to snap up a bargain Indian-glam outfit.

Declared a huge success by everyone involved, it is hoped that this opportunity to highlight India's leading fashion designers will become an annual event and a looked-forward to part of the London fashion and social calendar

JiJ is grateful to the Ladies' Wing for including them, and to all the guests and supporters who donated c£3,000 towards JiJ's restoration projects in Jaisalmer, and looks forward to working with the Indian Merchants' Chamber on future fundraising initiatives.

Paresh Maity’s wonderful sell-out show in Cork Street, sponsored by ICICI Bank and Kiki’s London Contemporary Indian Art, provided an ideal opportunity for JiJ supporters to meet up at the private view held on 26th April. With most of the paintings being snapped up by collectors of contemporary Indian art at the private view, JiJ was most grateful to receive a generous percentage of sales as a donation from the sponsors, promoters and artist.

8 OCTOBER 2004

JiJ's 2004 major fundraising event was held on Friday 8th October in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, to celebrate the V&A's autumn exhibition, Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800.
The highlight of the evening was a stimulating conversation between two luminaries in the field of film - leading UK critic and broadcaster Barry Norman together with award winning director Shekar Kapur discussing the differences (and similarities) between Hollywood and Bollywood and the diverse influences that resulted in Kapur's Oscar-nominated movie 'Elizabeth'.

JiJ Chairman and Founder Sue Carpenter with guest speaker Barry Norman (left)

INTACH'S Jaislamer Project Director Bindu Manchanda with guest speaker Shekhar Kapur (right)

Guests of Honour, Their Highnesses the Maharawal and Maharani of Jaisalmer, accompanied by INTACH Jaisalmer project Director Bindu Manchanda, newly appointed Director of the Nehru Centre, Pavan Varma attending with Mrs Varma and Frau Ursula Matussek, wife of the German Ambassador to Britain mingled with fellow guests splendidly attired in keeping with the dress code of 'Extravagantly Indian'.

Other guests, greeted at the Museum's main Cromwell Road entrance by the traffic-stopping Bollywood Brass Band, included Princess Pignatelli, explorer and travel writer Mark Shand, Baroness Erika Von Schubert, internationally acclaimed astrologer Shelley von Strunkle, and West End theatre impressario Michael Ward, producer of the eagerly awaited musical, 'The Far Pavilions' along with JiJ's band of committed supporters all contributing to the continuation of JiJ's tradition of glamorous Indian-themed parties, held in London's smartest venues.

Following a lavish champapgne reception courtesy of British Airways, Sue Carpenter thanked both the Staples Trust - who have sponsored all phases of the Streetscape Project, and the evening's main sponsors - India Tourism, Greaves Travel, Cobra Beer, British Airways and Vama Direct for their ongoing support of the charity's efforts to raise funds and awareness for Jaisalmer, before introducing the two guest speakers who enthralled the audience with their anecdotes of movie-watching and movie-making.

Supper, an authentic Indian street food experience, was served from Vama Direct's street stalls dotted around the Museum and inside specially erected luxurious Raj Tent Club marquees in the Pirelli Garden - remaining open exclusively for JiJ guests before its closure to the public for the foreseeable future.

The Raj Tents, luxuriously decked out with bolsters and floor cushions where guests reclined Maharaja-like whilst sipping General Bilimoria wine and Cobra Beer and chatting with fellow guests were a huge draw, providing a relaxing counterpoint to the central dome and medeival gallery of the museum where the Bollywood Brass Band continued to entertain guests alongside screens showing the best of Bollywood's musical hits courtesy of Eros Entertainment.

Guests also had the opportunity to take an unhurried private view of the Encounters exhibition, or listen to an illuminating talk on Sikh jewellery in the India Galleries from the British Library's Jasleen Khandaria, before joining in the music and entertainment.

The 2003 autumn social season opened in glittering style with JiJ's eagerly awaited fund-raising event, a champagne reception and private view of the Arts of India sale at Christie's, King Street, followed by a memorable stage encounter between writers Salman Rushdie and William Dalrymple, who met for the first time in public over a lively and provocative discussion that ranged across politics, religion, art and culture and the great bonds that unite and sometimes divide the cultural mindsets of India and the West. Held in the presence of HH The Maharawal of Jaisalmer, the evening's special event sparkled to a backdrop of breathtaking Indian works of art and jewellery, while guests, sticking splendidly to the dress code of 'Indian glamour', included HH The Rajmata of Jaipur and the Hon Jessica Sainsbury, chairman of the Staples Trust (which has funded all three phases of JiJ's award-winning Streetscape Project), with husband, Peter, Prince Francopan. Also present at the event were The Marchioness of Bute, Lucia Silver of L Boutique and husband Hugo Bulmer, Princess Lucia Pignatelli and Bollywood composer Biddu. The evening was introduced by Sue Carpenter, Chairman of Jaisalmer in Jeopardy, the British charity founded to save the crumbling fortress city in Rajasthan. Thanking the India Tourism Office, Greaves Travel and British Airways for their generous sponsorship of the evening's event, Carpenter highlighted the need for those in conservation and those in tourism to join hands to save the heritage of the sights and cities that tourists go to experience. The funds raised will go to conservation projects in Jaisalmer fort which are administered on JiJ's behalf by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). INTACH was represented at the event by Mr S K Misra, Vice-Chairman and Miss Bindu Manchanda, Jaisalmer Project Director. The unlikely star of the evening was the Director of India Tourism, London, Mr Vivek Angra. With great comic timing, he declared that he had 'tried' to read Salman Rushdie's Booker-prize-winning novel, Midnight's Children, when he was a student. But, he said, gesturing with his hand flying over his head, it was 'OHT - Overhead transmission'. In the chair, fielding the conversation between Rushdie and Dalrymple was Paul Blezard of One Word Radio, Britain's most prolific author-interviewer He maintained the mood of levity set by Angra, while giving Rushdie rein to dive into the most controversial of subjects - given the company present - from government corruption to art smuggling. Christie's auctioneer William Robinson then invited bids for one lot - the signed, collected works of both authors, which together amounted to 20 books. Bidding was fast and furious, rapidly topping £1,000, with the collection finally going to Ra Sharma and his wife Jane Withey for £1,020. Not to be outdone, runners-up including Peter, Prince Francopan, and Mr Asit Chandmal matched the winning bid in order to secure their own sets of signed books. With the auction raising over £,4000, the total income for the evening was approximately £18,000. JiJ would like to thank everyone who helped to make the evening so memorable, in particular its major sponsors, India Tourism and Greaves Travel