(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
Modern Indian artists have celebrated the body on the canvas for more than a hundred years. Amrita Sher-Gil, known as India’s Frida Kahlo, may have been the earliest Indian artist in modern times to paint nudes, including a self-portrait. The Delhi Art Gallery’s latest show – “The Naked and the Nude” – presents a retrospective journey of the representation of the body in modern Indian art, mostly from the dawn of the 20th century to the present.
It’s also generating anger among groups that object to art involving nudes. When I visited the gallery, the front office operator received a call from a regional political group, demanding that the show be closed. That is not an option, said Kishore Singh, project editor and head of exhibition and publication at the Delhi Art Gallery. “We cannot and will not take seriously people’s right to be offended, and demand that we take something down.”
In an age when moviegoers bask in the fleeting “Dabangg” culture of Bollywood, a visit to an exhibition displaying the works of photographer Nemai Ghosh in Indian cinema’s centennial year is liberating. Ghosh, a Padma Shri awardee, is credited with documenting an aspect of show business that is far removed from the usual focus of the press. In a decades-long career, the accidental photographer — he held the camera for the first time in exchange for a loan — had filmmaker Satyajit Ray as his greatest muse.
“Ghosh’s photographs of Ray, at home and on the sets suggest a rare intimacy, with the poignancy of these images of the master at work, directing and in many cases enacting roles,” said Pramod Kumar KG, curator of the exhibition, ‘Nemai Ghosh: Satyajit Ray and Beyond’, on display at the Delhi Art Gallery in Hauz Khas Village.
Delhi winters typically are short, but they also get cold. This winter has been one of the worst in more than four decades. Temperatures have fallen to just above the freezing mark, and on Thursday rose to no more than 9.8 degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Media reports say over 100 people have died in northern India as a result of the cold.
Temperatures like these are intolerable for people in a city like Delhi, where many people spend their days and nights on the streets in much warmer weather. (Temperatures in the summer have reached highs of 49 Celsius, or 120 Fahrenheit.) Even if they have homes, they often lack heating and insulation. Here are some photos of people in Delhi during the cold snap:
The Ramlila Maidan in old Delhi is a reasonably eventful place. That’s what made the National Book Fair stand out; it was practically abandoned. On the second day of the event, there were fewer book stalls, unoccupied slots, and few enough visitors that you could count them on your fingertips. Then there was one organiser bellowing into his mobile phone about a lack of adequate power, and bored stall owners like this man:
Stall owners I spoke to said the show disappointed them in part because there was a lack of publicity. Another said that the location in Old Delhi wasn’t a good idea. But I managed to get shots of visitors:
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)
Just last week, the Congress-led coalition government overcame legislative deadlock in parliament by agreeing to and winning a symbolic vote on allowing foreign companies to invest millions of dollars in India’s retail businesses.
You may be ready with the camera equipment and travel gear, but what if the first sight of your destination doesn’t appeal to you? That happened to me when I reached Haridwar. The dirt and grime appalled me, and I wasn’t up for an “exotic India” photo op. Worse, the manager of an ashram refused to provide accommodation because I was a single male. The other lodging house guy I spoke to over the phone was equally reluctant and for the same reason.
Walking past the innumerable beggars and the drying Ganga river, I found a spot where a man was resting under a tree.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Thomson Reuters)
Indians don’t like it, but they live with it: the daily sight of people urinating, defecating and spitting in public. Most of us cringe and look away.
I don’t know if the smartphone-toting Indian of the shopping malls still frequents festival melas. As for me, I can’t help but feel drawn to these vibrant mass gatherings during festivals.
Here, a spinning wheel juts out of a busy crossing in west Delhi. I spent a lot of time shooting it and finally settled on this image:
India is asking the same old question after news reports said Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday before a possible cabinet reshuffle later this month: will Gandhi be one of the cards in his deck?
Gandhi’s entry into the government would be the only opportunity for him to prove that he has what it takes to one day rule India. He’s seen as the prime-minister-in-waiting, and a cabinet post would better equip him to deal with the hurly-burly of Indian politics.