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Ongoing Exhibition in Delhi is an overwhelming Pictorial Tale of Chanderi silk

Chanderi Silk is world famous but this town is one of the few places left where handlooms -- a tedious and dying sari-making technique -- is still used to make silk fabric

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Saree weaving (representational image), Wikimedia
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New Delhi, April 29, 2017: The overwhelming story of Chanderi silk is symbolically represented in an ongoing exhibition here under the Neel Dongre Grants for Excellence in Photography.

Photographer Bharat Tiwari, the Founder of Shabdankan.com, which was awarded the “Bhashadoot Samman” by the Hindi Academy for reinforcing Hindi through the digital media, brings alive several unknown facets of this age-old tradition in his exhibition of photographs.

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Tiwari said that he was deeply touched by the lives of the handloom weavers that he came across in Chanderi, a small picturesque town in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

Chanderi Silk is world famous but this town is one of the few places left where handlooms — a tedious and dying sari-making technique — is still used to make silk fabric.

Tiwari’s project “Silk routes via Chanderi” attempts to unravel the various shades and intricacies that go into the making of Chanderi silk. Represented with extreme sensitivity, these photographs sort of transports the viewers to the setting where the various craftsmen are at work.

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When he first visited the small town, Tiwari said he was awe-struck as well as equally pleased to see the generosity with which they work.

“It is not an easy task. They are dealing with silk and as such there is no room for error. I was so moved to see the way they work — in their homes, with the participation of almost all members of the family — that I began to capture the various scenes on my camera. It was a magical experience for me,” Tiwari told IANS.

The photographer also expressed his concern, saying that with the advent of power looms, the profession is changing fast as more and more weavers are being attracted towards it. But Chanderi is still caught in its old-world charm and the future of weavers appears gloomy.

Tiwari’s work is represented along with Mrigank Kulshrestha, Ankit Agrawal, Taha Ahmad and Vikas Gupta in a collaborative photography project under the aegis of Neel Dongre Awards/Grants for Excellence in Photography (2017) by India Photo Archive Foundation.

Curated by photographer, historian and archivist Aditya Arya, the works of all the five photographers bear witness to the skills, some of which are fading away or are being rendered obscure for various reasons.

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“A documentary photographer has a responsible role in the society. I firmly believe they create histories by documenting the traditions and the constantly evolving societies and their work has a great place in the archives being a witness to the process of change. In an age where new inventions and new technologies of mass production are being announced every minute, it is essential to document the great traditions and craft of the past for posterity,” curator Aditya Arya said.

The crafts and traditions documented by the five photographers traverse various parts of the country, and various kinds of skills that require the dexterity of hands and sight and a fair amount of patience and commitment to the art form.

The Neel Dongre Grants for Excellence in Photography were launched in the year 2012 and are aimed at creating a visual platform, where emerging photographers get an opportunity to showcase their work to a relevant audience, receive funds to support their projects for the growth of their passion.

The exhibition is on at the India International Centre till May 2. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC