Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Articles of Faith

A shop selling trinklets at Garh Mukteshwar, Uttar Pradesh, has these religious amulets dangling from its ceiling. With a good strong sun, I decided to play with the depth of focus.

The past few weeks, I found myself travelling to the banks of River Ganga twice. One of the trips was planned while the other was not, and I was so surprised to find myself standing on the submerged bank of the river in September when incessant rain caused floods across various parts of the country.

My planned trip to the river was courtesy waterman Rajendra Singh, a Magsaysay Award winner for his work in conserving water resources in the desert state of Rajasthan. His work over two-and-a-half decades resulted in the revival of many rivers that were dead and now some of those rivers have so much water that these have become perennial. Seems, I am digressing from my topic of the day, so more about Rajendra Singh in another posting later. As the TV networks say: "So, don't go away. Stay with us (me)."

Rosaries for a holier soul. The same shop at Garh Mukteshwar.

Only want to mention that my photos on the bank of a river that was in spate, have come out wonderfully well. Most are inspired, of course, either by the subject of water and pollution or faith which the Hindus show towards the river. The faith, mind you, does not make them clean the river, it just makes them pray to it undeterred by its filth and pollution.

I wonder that if the same unreasonable faith, I say unreasonable because people still bathe and drink that water thinking that it will cleanse them of their sins, could have been better harnessed, could that not have helped heal the river and revive many associated things with it - the culture, a sailing tradition, an alternative transport system, toursism and, maybe, adventure water sports. As of now, the only thing I notice, and so do other people, is an abundance of faith around the river.

One more trinklet (many can be worn as amulets around the arm as well) at the same shop.
Benaras, on the bank of the river, which is as much a tourist city as a holy city is the most photographed city in India. It was the city's holiness that attracted all varieties of photographers - from the amateur one to the cellphone shooter and the first-timer to the foreign professional. Photography, it seems, began here very soon after its invention. The underlying attraction - FAITH.

I have not visited Benaras as yet. I am sure not much has been left for me to click, I will probably still visit it to introduce its sights to my sensor. Till I do that, you will have to settle for these photos from various little-known untouristic destinations along the river. But do remember, these small towns and villages also contribute to the unending pollution as much as the cities do. Yet the intensity of faith remains the same.

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