Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ideas for art installations in Kashmir



1. With Love

Put a nail on the white wall. Draw a sketch of a turbaned man around it so that nail forms the tilak. Under the sketch the name is given "Premi". On the nail hang the "welcome" board, just enough to cover the eyes and "back" to cover the mouth.

2. Paradise or Kashmir

An empty room. With a line in white outside the threshold. the board outside the room reads, "Only muslims allowed".

3. Plebiscite

An empty room with empty AK-47 casings engraved with "Allah" and "Bhagwan". Put the one you like in a dice shaped white box whose surface alternatively read "U" and "N". At a given time a screen in the room, randomly shows the result of the voting. The viewers, can anytime take the casings from the box and throw them back on the floor, but they can't again put it back in. That is for the next set of visitors.

4. House

An empty shell of a wooden house half buried under the ground. A cement frame of a house next to it, growing out of it.

5. Pandith

Put a threaded man in a glass casing. The man counts money and sits in front of the idol of a Hindu god. Just let people watch. Project the live happening of the room in the room next to this room that people enter on exiting the previous room. People can watch their own reactions.

6. Doon of Language

Although aazaan sounds with interfere with all sound based installations in Kashmir, still this is sound based woodwork installation. A large egg shaped hall that from outside resembles a walnut, the symbol of brain in kashmiri idioms. The hall has four chambers, in such a way that two rooms, mimicking a walnut, sit on top of each other. People walk through it. In each chamber are playing sounds of a particular language, words taken from poets of these languages. Sanskrit. Persian. Hindustani. Urdu. Outside the shell are lines "Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar", wrongly attributing them to Agha Shahid Ali.

7. Imagined Past and Imagined Present

Visitors walks into a room, walk along a wall while archival footage of Kashmir is projected onto them. In the chamber, only soundbites of encounters in Kashmir in heard. In a chamber far away to it, viewer chamber, the people can see bits of old Kashmir on these people and the sound played is only traditional Kashmiri soufiyana kalaam.

8. Jammu

A room of tin walls kept at 47 degrees. On the roof is projected snowfall. On the floor, snakes. In a corner, a melting snowman.

9. Rebuild Srinagar

A giant statue of Laxmi next to a painted image of Sridevi. Put a hammer next to it.


I can go on and on. Put a water hyacinth in a glass and call it Dal. Take a pot of sand on a jar and call it Jehlum.

Put a water hyacinth in a glass bottle and call it Dal. Take a pot of sand in a jar and call it Jhelum. Put an empty glass jar, with nothing inside and call it Wular. Take a hammer and call it a statue. Call temple a park. Park cars on the mosques. Replace the wooden cones of the shrines with the cone of the loudspeakers. Take a Kangri and call it Kashmir, ask people to put ash in it. Call it all humanity.

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saruff






First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Pit Temple of Bijbihara


The pit temple next to the river is said to be ancient Shiv temple of Bijbihara mentioned by Kalhana as Vijeshvara. The sculptures found at Bijbehara are considered the earliest ones done in distinct Kashmiri style of sculptures. A lot of material from Bijbehara was moved to SPS museum in around 1898 by Captain Godfrey.



"Brashib" in Kashmiri or the Taurus. A Lion actually.
John Siudmak calls it influenced by Gandhāra style and dated around 5th century A.D.



Although lot of old fragments can be found in the pit, Siudmak mentions that this standing Ganesha is the oldest and from around early 7th century AD. Although, Siudmak had seen it in late 1980s, in his book "The Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Ancient Kashmir and its Influences" (2013), he reports the statue to be missing. [Is above the same one?]



fragments in the wall











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20th Feb, 2016

As I stood photographing, some security men came to check up on me. They asked some basic questions and left me alone. Then a young boy came asking. He belongs to the muslim family that now takes care of the temple. He mentioned that no one told him to expect a visitor, otherwise he would have made some preparations for tea. It seems the visiting Pandits always come after making pre-arrangements. I could see a dilapidated hut in a corner.

Much through the 80s the site was a regular victim of religious strife. People would break in and vandalize. Soon, a dozen more security men arrived. It was not normal. The security was on extra alert. Sensing that I was a pandit, these men started mentioning their own woes. "It is freezing cold here. We don't ask for much, just a proper toilet." I looked at the open pit in which the guards took dump. A pit dug in the ground with some jute rugs around as walls. They persisted, "Don't pandits have any organization that takes care of these spots. Inform someone. Have a toilet built. Look as this."The snow in the pit was melting.

Later in the day, there was a terrorist attack on a government building at Pampore about 30 Kilometer from the place.

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Previously, the 11 stone that went missing from the temple

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Video Dastangoi: Episode 2



Video Link

In episode 2, we look at the stories associated with the Kashmiri proverb "Kasheer Kah Ghar" (Only 11 houses in Kashmir) that has its origins in the beginning of the Islamic rule in Kashmir.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vijeshwer Temple, Bijbehara

February 20th, 2016



The new temple built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 19th century.


Relics at Bijbehara Shiva Temple. Then-Now.


From 'Vaishava Art and Iconography of Kashmir' (1996) by Bansi Lal Malla
Feb, 2016

From 'Vaishava Art and Iconography of Kashmir' (1996) by Bansi Lal Malla
2016. 



John C. Huntington, L. Susan. 1970.


2016. Called "Brashib" in Kashmiri.

Inside of Bijbihara temple. From "Kashmir" (1977) by Francis Brunel.
Notice the Ganesha at the right, in corner. both eyes intact.
Present location. Outside the temple. Under a tree. The statue was attacked by someone in around 1990. One eye destroyed.


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Details of the trip and temple: Bijbehara Shiva Temple
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