Sunday, April 6, 2014

A brief visual history of Boat Processions

Ruler on a boat with attendants
17th century, reign of Jahangir
British Museum
Jahangir's trip to Wular Lake
George Landseer (1834–78) painted it in 1881 but depicts scene from 1860 when he accompanied
Lord Canning, Governor-General of India from 1856-62, to Kashmir.
'The Viceroy's tour in Kashmir - The procession of boats with his excellency nearing the Sumbul Bridge (Sumbal in Baramulla district) on the way to Srinagar' -The Graphic. 18th December, 1891.
Lord Lansdowne (1888 – 1894) was the viceroy at the time and setting up of Durand Commission for defining boundary of British India and Afghanistan was one of the high-points of his career.



Maharaja's Boat
From Francis Frith's album. Around 1850s to 1870s.
via: Victoria and Albert Museum.


The State Barge
From an album by Bourne & Shepherd. 1880.
via: bonhams.com
A famous image from Maharaja's Procession
cover of Italian weekly newspaper newspaper 'La Domenica Del Corriere', 11 January, 1925.
This is from time when Biscoe boys also took up boats besides the boatmen of Kashmmir
Boat of Lord Irwin Viceroy of India [1926–31], 1927
By Franklin Price Knott for National Geographic

Russian Leaders Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev's boat procession, 1955
via: Indian Photo Division

"The picturesque river procession on the Jhelum (September 24, 1949) which was one of the festive items during the meeting of the Kashmir National conference. The boat carrying Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah appears at the centre of the picture."
via: Indian Photo Division
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Boat procession caught by James Burke
undated for Life Magazine
Based on the message "we convoke the constituent assembly"...it is probably 1951.


The is a welcome message for Nehru from 'Shri Bhairavnath Trust, Chattabal' !
Chattabal the place I come from was the usual start or end point of these later procession. And that trust was the pundit organisation associated with the Bairov temple of Chattabal, a temple which was later shut down in 1970s and burnt in 1990s. My grandfather was a member of the trust.

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The only boat frenzy I have witnessed comes from a land as rich in boat traditions but where it is not a thing of the past. It is still alive and celebrated.

Aranmula boat race, Kerala 2013


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