Close Encounters – ‘Lo-Fi Photo Series’

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

These smart phone photographs are made by photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad as connecting anecdotes for project 365 that creates and preserves photographic visuals of the fast changing culture and lifestyle of a South Indian Tamil town Tiruvannamalai. He has been creating several hundred images portraying the life and culture of this ancient town and Project 365 public photo archives will be locally preserving these images for public access and research.

We belong to the generation that has been photographed intensely. However, very few of these photographs will be preserved. There is a greater chance that only one or two out of one lakh photographs will reach the print form. Since the advent of digital technology, and its fast growth, we have lost most of our images that are being safely stored away in the long forgotten floppy discs, CD drives, old mobile phones, cameras etc., Photography, which is essentially a print, has given away its traditional alchemical quality / longevity and has become mere virtual intangible screen images. The danger is, in an instant, these images can be lost forever to our future generations.

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

We also belong to the generation that is fast changing and growing exponentially. Our way of life, lifestyle, beliefs and practices are changing. The potential of this photographic medium is so high to document these paradigm shift moment. Even though several thousand photographs are being taken everyday by almost everybody, only a very few provide thoughtful and focused efforts to preserve these photographs like yesteryear epigraphical documentation or other iconographic motifs for the benefit of our future generations. EtP (Ekalokam Trust for Photography) is dedicated to collectively create and preserve photographic visuals of these sublime images. That is the intent behind Project 365 and to achieve that, EtP has been properly archiving these smart phone and other lo-fi photographs. These photographs may not be printable in larger formats… may not be commercially viable… but they serve well the intended purpose – a visual document of ordinary people and their everyday life in an ancient town.

The myopic eye of smart phone demands that the photographer has to be within a certain “intimate” distance to take a photograph. There has to be a certain connection between the one who is being photographed and the photographer himself… using a smart phone to create portraits of people means, the photographer is not a mere witness The one who is photographed often looks straight into the camera and thus the photographer.. there is an unspoken conversation that connects these two, both becoming intensely present !!!

And, this intimate presence is what a spectator relates…

Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director's anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives
Smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Director’s anecdote / Project 365 public photo archives

(to be continued)

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org / FACEBOOK – Project 365

MUKHAMUKHAM – Tripunithura and Tiruvannamalai

Thrippunithura or Tripunithura is a suburb of the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India and a part of the Kochi metropolitan area. Thrippunithura was the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin. Project 365 MUKHAMUKHAM event was organised at Kalikotta, Tripunithuraon 26th and 27th December 2014 during Ekharya Performance Festival. Photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad presented his selected works from 1975 – 2014 with the audience on the first day. Abul’s series titled, ‘landmark of my memories’ – showcased the architecture of 70s and 80s Kerala. Senti-mental series, the kaleidoscopic view of life and personal history showed an impossible fusing of photos and graphics. Abul had worked on this series for almost five years (2005 – 2010). One of the recent series ‘Beatles in Rishikesh’, a simple black and white photographs portraying the abandoned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram where Beatles had visited during the 1960s. The trajectory of Abul’s works was indeed mind blowing. Almost hundred photo enthusiasts enjoyed the works. The second Project 365 photographs were shown to the audience.

Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Director Ashok introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Festival Director Dr. Abhilash Pillai introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

On 4th and 5th January 2015, Mukhamukham Meet project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad and Photographer Thierry Cardon event was organised at Kalai Illam, Tiruvannamalai. Thierry Cardon, photographer from France has visited Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. He decided to share few of his original cyanatype prints with the Project 365 photographers and local audience. Abul showed his early work on the first day and on 5th Jan, he share his ongoing long-term work with the Thirunangai titled ‘War Marriage Widows’. Some of the locally based Thirunangai’s also enjoyed the photographs. Anbalaki, one of the Thirunangai spoke with the audience and narrated the Koovagam festival and associated epical history.

Project Manager Tulsi welcoming hte audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project Manager Tulsi welcoming the audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhlmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Chrisitian Uhlmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Christian Uhllmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Chrisitian Uhlmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist - sculptor Christian Uhlmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist – sculptor Christian Uhllmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying 'SEMA' / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying ‘SEMA’ / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul's works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul’s works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

<to be continued>

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Deepam, sociology and ecology (part one)

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Jiby Charles, a photographer and graphic designer based in Bangalore has been creating visuals of the flora and fauna of Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. His interest also extends to the sociological dimension of Arunachala Hill… how the people of the land relate to the Hill and its ecology is an aspect he has been searching… the extent of people’s involvement in managing this ancient practice and how coordinated are the several thousand people in bringing ghee and other necessities for the festival… Even though Deepam is not Jiby’s direct concept, he has been attempting to bring out the connection between the people, the flora and fauna of this ancient town. More than being a mere witness to this grand festival, Jiby has become a part of the festival Jiby and Arnav started early in the morning, only to join the parivattam (a ceremony to respect t he ‘Nattar’ family who would be lighting the fire)… however, as the Nattar family was all set to climb up Arunahcala, Jiby and Arnav also joined them – they didnt get much time to neither have their breakfast, nor find proper shoes… they stopped a brief while, only to  buy a plastic bag to cover their cameras… the journey of four hours, climbing the steep hill barefoot.. mid-day sun didn’t fetter their passion !!! Deepam, the birth of Lord Murugan, the deity of Tamil language is celebrated by all as the festival of light… People from different caste, religion and belief play a role.. Nattars are traditional fishermen who light the lamp.. the Achary’s, the traditional wood carvers make the chariots…. the Chettiyars decorate the gods… Thousands of liters of pure ghee donated by people are carried uphill to lit the gigantic fire seen several kms around the Hill…

Jiby is hailing from a christian family… He has done his Bachelor Degree in Visual Communication from Hindusthan College of Arts & Science (Bharathiar University, Coimbatore). He currently lives in Bangalore. He is passionate about photography, design and traveling. Sharing few of his Deepam photographs.

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Deepam 2014 / photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

“AGNI”

Karthikai Pournima 2014 Photography

On 5th December 2014, Karthigai Mahadeepam was celebrated in Tiruvannamalai. For generations, the Nattar family (fishermen), lights the fire on top of the Hill. During Deepam festival, the people from various walks of life contribute in different ways. The different caste groups have a role to play.

Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Deepam 2014 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

The procession of saint poets

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives

And, the saint poets and their gods are on the road… fully decorated in their various vahanas (vehicles)!!! Giving dharshan to the thousands of devotees and others… Many are touched by their own overwhelming bhakti, whilst others are moved by the sheer joy and faith of the devotees.. there are quite a few who would be silently enjoying the beauty of this artistic expression.. These priceless idols of our culture being shown to the public to look and experience is a celebration by in itself. Project 365 photographers have also been swept away by the festive mood of this ancient town… halogen lights and oil lamps warms up the chilled nights and the team gets ready for their ever fresh encounters…. Most of the photographers are using their smart phone to document this extensively documented festival. “Intimacy is the key”, said Abul Kalam Azad. “We are not mere witness to this festival, but we are part and parcel of the whole celebration. The smart phone makes it necessary for the photographer to be very close with their subject… it means a dialogue, a smile, a hug, a word or any form of exchange is a prerequisite to the photograph itself”, He added. Leading project 365 photographer Dinesh Khanna was supposed to lead the Deepam documentation. However, due to the sudden demise of his beloved mother, he is unable to join the team now. So, Abul is continuing to lead the team. He said,, “Amidst this overflowing mood of celebration, we have received this sad news from Dinesh… Let us salute and respect this loving mother and thank her for gifting this wonderful photographer to our world.”

The online feed of Deepam festival is also made in Project 365 page facebook page and instagram feed #etpproject365

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Periyapuranam chanting / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Drumming / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Manikandan, the sarathi of silver chariot / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
The procession / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
The women trumpeter of Sri Thirunavukarasar band / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Panneer Selvam / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Panneer Selvam / Project 365 Public Photo Archives

As the temple and its surrounding bubbles with the festival, there are many a preparation that had underway to ensure the peaceful proceedings.

Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives

And the tireless work of the police department….

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives

And the most awaited “Mattu Chanda”. Last year the absence of the mattu chanda (cow market) was very much felt and the upcoming mattu chanda is expected by the spectators and buyers alike… our neighborhood bulls getting ready for the chanda…

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 Public Photo Archives

For more deepam photographs check #etpproject365 and #deepam

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

 

Deepam, the festival of light

Karthikai Deepam, festival of lights is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by Tamil people. Deepam is observed in every home and every temple, and falls in the month of Kārttikai (mid-November to mid-December) as per Tamil Calender. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades) and pournami (full moon). This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Many legends and lyrical poetry have grown round this star. The six stars are considered in Indian mythology as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies in the saravana tank which later were joined together to form the six faced Muruga. He is therefore called Karthikeya, the one brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. Houses and streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the month of Karthigai, as per South Indian calendar. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils, including now the areas of modern Kerala too. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs. Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around. The fire (deepam) is called Mahadeepam.

This ancient Dravidian practice has been documented extensively in verse and visuals. The gods and goddesses, the rituals and chariots, the crowd and girivalam, every aspect of this festival has already been documented. Team 365 has another important vision, to preserve the visuals of the changing culture and lifestyle. Many may have noticed the ever changing scenario every deepam, the absence of the Mattu chanda (cow market), the advent of machine made drinks / coffees, ever growing new buildings and shops…. the visually exciting days and nights of Tiruvannamalai Deepam festival has a different dimension to be portrayed. Photography in essence is a play between light and shade (absence of light). This deep connection, the changing people, scenario and the colors of Deepam is what team 365 decided to capture. The team would be per-dominantly using iphone photography with instagram applications. Few photographs from the instagram Deepam series:

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives

roject 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

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‘The colors of Deepam’ by leading Project 365 photographer Dinesh Khanna

Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai hills is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around the hill. The fire (dheepam) is called Mahadeepam. As part of Project 365, Photographer Dinesh Khanna will be creating visuals of Tiruvannamalai Deepam Festival. A five member team, comprising of Project 365 photographers Arnav Rastogi, Bhagyashri Patki, Biju Ibrahim, Leo James and Shiv Kiran will be working with Dinesh Khanna and document the Deepam Festival.

Photographer Dinesh Khanna
Photographer Dinesh Khanna

Dinesh Khanna is one of the leading photographers of Project 365. He is based in Delhi. There are infinite ways of seeing. But when you see the world through Dinesh Khanna’s eyes, you are overcome with an innate sense of awe, besides many other emotions. The reason perhaps is the fact that he shoots from the heart. And it’s his incredible way of juxtaposing what he sees and what he feels that creates images that stay with you forever.

Even though his father was a professional photographer, Dinesh took his time to meander through his advertising career and eventually gave in to his true calling. His dad often urged him to use the camera, travel more often and take pictures of whatever he found interesting. He even grew up learning to make his own prints in the darkroom they had at home. But the rebel in him chose not to follow the conventional ‘son-takes-over-from-father’ routine simply because he felt it was against his principles to adhere to what the caste system followed, something he strongly did not believe in.

However, photography was not just in his blood, it was the one great love and passion of life he could no longer ignore. At first, Dinesh took up a lot of commercial work, which displayed his immense talent and creativity. Gradually, he began traveling more, exploring more, photographing everything that ‘engaged’ him and in the process, enjoying every moment of what he was doing. From Street photography, to portraits to interiors of homes and hotels, travel pictures, photo stories, editorial and food photography, Dinesh’s work spans a varied mix, with many a common aspect… a love for life, a love for colours and a love for people being a few.

His photographs radiate a powerful and positive resonance which is why we want to stop and stare. Not just to admire the sheer beauty of the image, but also to appreciate seeing things the way he sees them. It’s what you call ‘insight’ in advertising terms. For example his iphoto series on ‘kissakhursika’, is a series on chairs. A simple everyday object that we may not even give a second glance to. But the way Dinesh has interpreted this very khursi, as he takes us on a visual journey portraying the significance of the chairs common people sit on (be it watchmen or barbers or children) and the ironic symbolism of a ‘khursi’ in the political context is so basic yet so bold and captivating.

Dinesh’s ‘Incredible India’ series that was created to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal earned him much fame. So did his solo exhibitions and pictorial books ‘Bazaar’ and ‘Living Faith’ which were born from his many travels and beautifully captured images from various melas, markets and sacred sites in small towns and rural areas.

His works also include stunning portraits of “Artists, Musicians, and Writers” “Mothers & Daughters” and a series on common man at work called “Earning Dignity” which all capture expressions and emotions in a stark yet subtle manner. His photos have also been published in monthly columns like ‘Double Take’ and ‘Urban Trivia’ for First City magazine, which display India’s ironic ‘Tryst with Urbanity’ and also ‘Cellphone Diaries’ for Better Photography.

Dinesh is also the co-founder and managing trustee of the Nazar Foundation in Delhi, a non profit trust that promotes the art of photography through various workshops, interactions and exhibitions. Doing this is his way of sharing his passion with budding and even experienced photographers. This organization also sponsors the biennial ‘Delhi Photo Festival’ which is an incredible platform for photographers to showcase their works.

Dinesh Khanna has displayed his work at several solo and group exhibitions, nationally and internationally at The Habitat Center, India International Center, Palette Gallery, Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi, Oxford Gallery, Kolkata, NCPA, Mumbai, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, The Asia Society, San Francisco, Mondavi Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, Whitechapel Gallery, London and at FotomuseumSwitzerland.
A few of his photographs were also recently featured in an exhibition of paintings titled Soul of Asia Art – an exhibition curated by Sushma Bahl as part of the 44th International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013.

Based in New Delhi, Dinesh is currently working on his next pictorial book ‘Benaras: Everyday in Eternity’ apart from various other assignments. Whether he is taking pictures of martinis, majestic hotel suites, of a teenager on a terrace or bangles in a bazaar, his work exudes emotions that every viewer can relate to at a very simple level. And we look forward to more.

Dinesh will be reaching Tiruvannamalai on 30th November 2014. During his stay, he will also be presenting his works with our rural audience (the dates will be announced at a later stage). Thank you Dinesh Khanna, for being part of project 365 and visiting this ancient town.

WELCOME.

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi Nadar / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

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Mukhamukham – Bangalore

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photograph on the screen ‘Life in cycles’ by Biju Ibrahim / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The next stop for traveling Mukhamukham, was the much favored garden city, Bangalore. THALAM, a partner of PROJECT 365 was organising the event at their space at Domlur on 15th November 2014. By that time, the project 365 team had different experience having met with diversified audience. The audience weekly presentations at Kalai Illam, were a mix of local rural audience, informed artists as well a few international visitors who were passing by this ancient town. Children from neighboring villages enthusiastically ask for and participate in the event. MUKHAMUKHAM – Tiruvannamalai by Vamsi books had a gathering of about hundred local audience, many of whom had seen photographic art presentation for the first time. Also, seeing photographs of their town, and oftentimes their own photographs was received enthusiastically. This is an important dimension of Project 365 and one of the project photographers Senthil Kumaran Rajendran mentioned during his presentation, “Photographs will be taken. Printed and then exhibited in urban galleries / art spaces or shown to the potential collectors, and sold or stored for selling…. photographs of rural India, often become exaggerated exotic presentation, created specifically to cater the needs of urban International buyers and audience…. Photographers never get an opportunity to show our photographs with our own people… the land in which the photographs were taken… the one who is photographed never knows what the photographer does with the photographs… But in project 365, photographs of a town are collectively taken, shared with the residents of the town, and more than that, the prints will eventually be exhibited and preserved by the public…That is the profoundness of this project that encouraged me to join this initiative. I am proud to be part of this vision.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Selvaprakash Lakshmanan / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Pee Vee, Project 365 Photographer and co-founder of Thalam / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shibu Arakkal, Photographer Biju Ibrahim also seen / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The audience for MUKHAMUKHAM – Thrissur were art students, who had remained silent for the presentation to be completed and soon after which, long discussions were held one on one. Armed with this diversified exposure, the team was looking up for the upcoming event with the urban audience. Pee Vee, co-founder Thalam and Project 365 photographer had taken complete charge of the event, which also gave the team an opportunity to explore other galleries and art spaces. The intimate space of Thalam shared by forty photo enthusiasts was indeed ideal to fully present the vision of Project 365. Noted designer and Photographer Ramu Aravindan, one of the leading photographers of the project was present. Photographers Shibu Arakkal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim, Iqbal MK, Bhagyashri Patki, Vinay DV, Pee Vee, Jiby Charles and Shiv Kiran presented their works and their journey as a photographer. The audience stayed back long after the event was over and engaged in lively conversation with the photographers. The team received enough energy to move on with the next MUKHAMUKHAM event to be held at Andhra Pradesh, thus covering the four modern states of tri-sangam period Tamilakam. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad said, “A photographer is always behind the lens, and rarely do they get the opportunity to present and speak about their works, their life and journey as a photographer. Mukhamukham is a platform for the upcoming photographers to share their emotions and dreams, learn together and grow. Developing the culture of appreciating the life and works of a photographer is important aspect of this event. I am happy with the overwhelming response MUKHAMUKHAM event has been receiving. Many are approaching us to present MUKHAMUKHAM at their institution / space. We will somehow manage our time between proceeding with our shooting work in Tiruvannamalai and traveling to different parts of our country.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Vinay DV / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Biju Ibrahim / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
The audience – Photographers Ramu Aravindan (second row left) Bhagyashri Patki, Iqbal MK, and Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi) / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Jiby Charles / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Iqbal MK / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

Mukhamukham covered by Bangalore mirror http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/Coming-face-to-face-with-near-extinct-techniques/articleshow/45153216.cms

Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives

If you are interested to host MUKHAMUKHAM at your institution /  art spaces / organisation, do contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi, Manager Project 365

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Project 365 partners
Project 365 partners

Dosa, a photograph and an esoteric zen master

Gaundaramma / Lo-fi photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Gaundaramma / Lo-fi photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Two days back Abul Kalam Azad showed me a very short interesting video and photographs of Mookupodi Siddhar he had shot and asked me to find his name, detail of birth place, etc. My birth village is near Rajapalayam and Abul thought I would be in a better position to find. The search on net didn’t reveal much. I recollected a conversation that we had a few months earlier with a local person who had traveled with Mookupodi Siddhar to his birth village. This conversation happened between Abul and a local person at a dosa shop in Girivalam which is our regular breakfast spot. The shop keeper, a Gaunder lady is very welcoming and her home-made chutnies are a delicacy. This is also a hub were Saddhus eat and is one of the reason Abul goes there for breakfast as part of his ongoing project ‘unknown gods’ (Agni Shylam series). Today morning, we decided to go the long stretch along the girivalam path to have breakfast at the dosa shop. I noticed Abul was talking with somebody, but didn’t keep track of the conversation, until he alerted me and said, “This is Mookupodi Siddhar’s son. Get his details”. I was surprised by this unexpected flow of information coming our way for Project 365.

The people of Tiruvannamalai call him ‘Mookupodi siddhar’. This name was given to him as he was snorting tobacco (mookupodi) everytime. The sadhu community and devotees in Tiruvannamalai has this practice of giving a name based on their physical or emotional attributes, outstanding behavior traits, etc. A few people start calling by that name and eventually their real name is forgotten. Niether the sadhus nor the visitors are interested in revealing their real names. Their past is left behind, often without any mention. Occasionally, the sadhus do visit their family. During rare occasions, a member from their family might come to visit them. Some mystics are permanently here, whilst others travel to other pilgrim places. There is a strong community fold and news about each others’ whereabouts and well being is communicated with everybody else. Offlate, there has been one such topic that seems to be the subject of every conversation…. Mookupodi Siddhar and his unfathamable zen master practice and activities. He beats people with his lathi… which is in a way is his blessing as well his teaching. Every morning, several people gather near the Ner Annamalai temple to get beating from the mostly silent Mookupodi siddhar. They wait, some times hours, to get his dharshan and blessings. Alongside, the public will also keep watch. There are times, he would ask a certain visitor to pull out all his money and put in his towel. HE would then wrap this towel with money in his hip. There are certain days when several bundles hang in his body. At a later time, he would give this money to somebody else who is courageful with him. The sadhus think that his actions are strange, esoteric and at the same time shakes the shackles of the people.

Mookupodi SidDhar / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives
Mookupodi Siddhar / Lo-fi Photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Mookupodi siddhar has been in Tiruvannamalai for almost twenty years now. He has become popular only during the last 8 years. He must be in his early 80s. A few months ago, he asked one of the local devotee to accompany him for a short trip. Soon, they both embarked on a journey to East Rajapalayam, near Salem. Near the lake, at Shivan Kovil street, he asked the taxi to stop in front of a house…. and waited. A man in his fiftees, came out of the house, looked at the old man in the car and recognised him as his father….. he asked Mookupodi Siddhar to to come inside the house… The locals informed that this was the ancestral house of Mookupodi Swamy whose birth name was Mottayan Gaunder. Farming is the usual practice of Gaunder community and they are in general powerful landlords. During his young age, Mottayan Gaunder used to spend most his time at the Veerapathiran temple where he served as the priest. He used to tie garlands for the presiding deity. At the age of 25, his mother forced him to marry Chadachi. The couple had a son, Periyaswamy. A little while after Periyaswamy’s birth, Mottayyan Gaunder left his birth village, only to return after twelve years. It was as if he knew what was going to happen. Within few days of his arrival, his wife Chadachi passed away. He stayed there for three months and whilst leaving, he asked his son to come with him. Mookupodi Swamy’s mother refused. She was quoted to have said, “You took that path. Atleast let me have my grand son with me…”. Last year, the villagers urged Periaswamy to do the last Kriyas for his father, as he had not return for a long time. Periyasamy had gone ahead with the kriyas, and was planning for the second year kriya when mookupodi siddhar appeared in front of his house. Periasamy, now in his fifties, with folded hands, requested him to come inside the house, once again. Saying nothing, the Mookupodi Sidhar had continued with his journey.

Periasamy, son of Mookupodi Siddhar / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives
Periasamy, son of Mookupodi Siddhar / Lo-fi Photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

This story that was briefed by the Sadhu who had accompanied Mookupodi Sidhar was confirmed by his son Periaswamy who is right now in Tiruvannamalai visiting his father. “To my father, I am not any different. He is treating me like the way he does you…”. In the backdrop of the ever growing popularity of mookupodu sidhar, this claim by a farmer from the nearby area was received with a lot of speculation by the Sadhu community. However, a photo of young Mottayan Gaunder wearing a white attire like any shaiva saints, mudhra in both the hands and thiruneer in the forehead, which was carried with Periyasamy helped revealing his identity as his son. “I have come to be with him for few days. I have two chidlren, one boy and one girl waiting for me in my village”, said Periyasamy. For Project 365 / EtP, this is an interesting anecdote, protraying the specialness of photographs. The story of a photograph that stands as the only evidence of a family bond of a zen master is indeed an important dimension to capture and preserve. Since Mookupodi Siddhar’s last visit to his birth home, the villagers have geared up. The house which was once fondly called as ‘Mottayan Gaunder’s house’, is being reverred as ‘Swamy’s home’.

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

5th November 2014

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Director’s Anecdote II

Agni

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014

The word agni is the Sanskrit word for fire and light. Agni is called as Thee in Tamil. Agni occupies a prominent place in the Vedas and vedic Brahmanas works as a Hindu and Vedic deity. The ancient Indians recognized it as the power of heat and light and the will-power united with wisdom, they knew the human will-power to be a feeble projection of this power which they believed could be strengthened by the Rig Vedic chants to Agni. The Vedic people developed the worship of Agni, personified and deified Agni as the sacrificial fire, the priest of the gods and the god of the priests, who through yajna carries the oblations to the gods, the celestial controllers of the mysterious and potent forces of nature, to ensure the continuance of conditions favourable to mankind.  In Vedic deities Agni occupies, after Indra, the most important position. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, yet he is also immortal.

Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rigveda (Sukta I.i.1) revealed to Rishi Madhuchchandah Vaishvamitah in Gayatri metre. The Rig Veda begins with a prayer to Agni, the receiver, holder and distributor of energy, who leads the devtas to victory in their battles against the asuras, and confers wealth of various kinds to the performers of yajnas. According to Agni Purana, which is the eighth in the list of eighteen Puranas, no god is approachable without the medium of Agni, and no divinity is without the presence of Agni; his element is earth. At the command of Bhirgu, Agni was brought down from the heavens for man’s use by Matarishvan in the later writings Agni is described as a son of Angiras who happened to discover fire and its uses. Agni as the immortal guest is the witness of all actions, supremely powerful, all consuming and irresistible but who commands all earthly and heavenly riches i.e. all temporal good. As the most potent and visible form of energy, useful but destructive at the same time, fire was both revered and at the same time feared by the Vedic people. Cow’s milk and its derivatives such as ghee (clarified butter) are integral parts of Vedic fire sacrifices, which are conducted by Brahmin priests; That’s why the Vedic priests who are the keepers of fire worshiped the cow that provide ghee to feed the fire.

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365