Holy tiles

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Oct 15 2017

Tags: ,

Category: Asia, India

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Focal Length:5mm
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Compared to the ISKCON temple of last week’s post, this nearby little roadside shrine looks rather cheap and shabby. Still, it probably represents Indian popular aesthetics better than its majestic neighbour. It has taken me awhile but I have come to appreciate this kind of simple religious display. The daring colour combination (like so often seen too in rural women’s dresses), the cheap holy tile, … it speaks the visual language of the Indian common man: merrily chaotic, free, not inhibited by the aesthetic norms of ‘good taste’.

And did you notice the small Ganesha statue on the far right? Some discreet local Hindu must have put it there, respectfully outside the space of the Christian shrine. Or was it first inside – two religions happily sharing the same sacred space – which was then on second thought considered improper? Whichever is the case, I see it as a sign of delicate tactfulness which is so much lacking in Hindu nationalist India of today.

Photo of the week: Roadside shrine, Mumbai, India 2014

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