All posts filed under: A Photo-Ethnographic Study

The Last Journey to Ganga and Scenes from my Ancestral Village : A Photographic Essay

Visiting Grand Parents used to be the only time when the Joy of having many umbrellas multiplied the possibilities of games, laughter and Humour. But one day without any knock, or warning grandmother died an exceptionally unusual death. All those years the perception that I carried of association, I could never feel it again towards my birth home, my birth courtyard, after grandmother was gone. No sense of belonging. My village had started to look congested. May be that was why parents must have left it. In 1982. On the mud terrace of our ancestral home, fragrance of cow-dung cakes still brings to my mind the nostalgia of my grandmother cleaning the courtyard every morning. Even before the sun would rise; while telling me with love to keep sleeping. Upla* are still used for cooking and cleaning. And just last week were also used for lighting the pyre of my uncle. Father’s eldest brother. Death of a family pillar changes a lot of dimension. For one It brings overwhelming, repulsive, abominable silence in homes. I …

Life Of Verrier Elwin: Past and the Present Of the Tribal Cultures In Central India: A Photo-ethnographic Essay

Elwin’s research work in India took place at a critical period leading up to the Indian Independence from British rule. Verrier Elwin first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1928 at his ashram in Ahmedabad, where he had gone to represent the Christa Seva Sangh at the International Fellowship of Religions. Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagrah  as non-violent resistance against the colonial rule had a strong impact on Elwin and he were drawn into the national movement for Independence. However, as he became more deeply involved in the welfare of the community that he lived with, in central India, he began to question the relevance of Gandhi’s severe views on prohibition, celibacy and vegetarianism for that environment. In his autobiography he wrote. “long letter from Mahatma Gandhi urging me to perform daily yagna or sacrifice, of spinning; as no one here for hundreds of miles has ever seen a spinning wheel, decide not to, but suggest rice pudding as a daily sacrifice instead. Elwin’s personal reassertion of loyalty and identity was unequivocal. At a time when most of …

Home and the World : Walking around New Delhi and Old in January ’22

Even though every day, slowly months and years seem to pass as fast as they arrive; January is special because first so much celebration already happens even before it arrives that half of it leaves while many still living hungover or in the previous year. Yet for me it was bringing some change that i could experientially notice, and drastic at that. Father had a near death experience so much that one night sleeping outside Hospital, in the boot of a car made me succumb to the emotions of not having a father anymore. Those five hospital days were special in a strange and new kind of way. Father eventually came back strongly, and is on his way to retain good health. But still something changed in me. Probably the essence of time. How so much is often so little. Hence January had to be celebrated, in the only few way i can. Working, walking, writing better. Ever since the seed of working on Delhi’s past and present has yielded, i had been moving around …

Jyoti Bhatt : A Tribute to a Living Legend : A Photographic Essay on Rural Gujarati Indian Life(1971-1987)

Today, he is 87 and I will only wish that somehow a film compiling his works, his life, no matter however directed, should come out before we lose all of it. His experiences of that time and era must be recorded.

Days in the Hidden Valley of Mandal and a Small trek to Ma Anusuyadevi Temple : A Photographic Essay- III

While studying culture and ancient practises in the Higher Himalayas.Continuing from Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas and Finding Brahma Kamal : On a Rainy night from Delhi to Chamoli : ँ : Sumanto was waiting by the roadside, in front of the fisheries department. It was late in the night, very late by the mountain ways of life. Yet the most relieving part was that i wasn’t alone. With me was the last government bus, which i had to run after, in Rudraprayag to catch it. Had it not been that moment, i wouldn’t be making it even in my 30th hour of leaving New Delhi. It was cold. It was heavy. The restrain of the night, one which arrives after many days of rain. The climatic depression could still be felt. I could hear the droplets dropping off the leaves as I could hear myself heaving. The bus stopped. I bid byes to the driver, the conductor as i had been the only one riding …

Welcome To Heaven: Stories From the Line Of Control that May Enlighten The World– VII. Final

On the Great Himalayan Road Journey to Baltistan, today is the showdown, the final journey continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV The Gun Mountains and other Gods- V The Wait of Baltistan- VI : ँ : — It was more difficult to reach here than i had thought. To an extent I was only one night away from leaving it all and going back home. A whole day had gone in repairing Tyre and servicing this vehicle in Diskit, the same valley that hosted gypsies once, ancient travellers, porters coming from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan carrying opium and other magic potions to the cold desert of Hunder; a stop that they still talk about as the Silk road. This was the ancient Silk route, and from here you either go up to Mongolia or find your way to the Tibetan plateau into China. I took to Baltistan. “And had Turtuk not pulled me in this one time, I may …

The Gun Mountains and Other Gods -V

On the Road to Baltistan, continuing from Call of the Now- I Life and nothing more- II Road will tell you- III Remember me with a Lotus- IV : ँ : Before we reach Turtuk, Baltistan; it was important to dedicate an essay only to the journey. My travels that saw me traversing through these dangerous, rough and meditative landscapes that over the years helped changing me, even my cells. For many years this road has been my road to inner work and of the outside world, and i imagine one which taught me best how to discern. This National Highway that runs from Srinagar, Kashmir to Leh is called the NH Delta- 1 and is the most important road that joins the valley of Kashmir to Laddakh. La that is ‘a mountain pass’, and ddakh is the ‘King’- this land that is the king of the mountain passes, running along the mighty river Indus, parallel to the most active, volatile border in the world, the Line of Control with Pakistan. Ever since the partition …

Remember me with a Lotus: Memoirs of heaven and birds in Kashmir- IV

Narayan, do you know why I am here today? I kept my silence. I couldn’t see my father when he died. I wasn’t there. He had stopped me from leaving home but I left regardless and all my life i have been living with this guilt that i couldn’t even gave my hands for his body. I wasn’t there with him when he wanted me most and it had needled me every moment. You know, when he was young, he too came on this yatra, with someone like you, his friend. I remembered his stories of bathing in the coldest waters of Sheshnag.