Documentary Photographer Sandeep Biswas is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the book ‘FAIRS AND FESTIVALS OF RAJASTHAN ’. For more info on FAIRS AND FESTIVALS OF RAJASTHAN click on any image.
Written By Madan Raajgarhia
Rajasthan is our home. When my ancestors moved from Rajgarh, in Churu district, they new let the bind of our native place loose importance in our lives. Through our upbringing, the culture & the festivals represented our deep connect to the land of colour, custom and warmth.
Hailing from a very large joint family, the traditions that defined us, our way of life was accentuated with celebration and small customs that were linked to relationships, seasons, religion and community. As my family grew, I decided to keep working from Rajasthan to keep my ties with my land. My wife and my children have been instrumental in keeping the culture alive.
The underlying intent of the book is to map the evolution of certain traditions in Rajasthan with a specific focus on festivals and fairs as themed public celebrations that act as locators of cultural production and community spirit. In 2012, Sandeep Biswas was invited to photograph twelve fairs and festivals across the desert state of Rajasthan with the intent of publishing them as a coffee table book that documented a selection of the surviving festivals in the region. Sandeep’s photographs most acutely reflected change, the festivals offering all the ingredients of a fantastical showcase of traditions to a rapidly burgeoning tourist audience, but those that were also sustained because of increased public interest. The changing formats of commerce and cultural production since India’s independence has resulted in the restoration and renovation thereof of tangible heritage like palaces and havelis into boutique hotels, while intangible heritage has evolved to accommodate the growing demands of urbanization and the tourism industry. With the decline in dependence on cattle and camels, fairs have largely been adopted by the state’s Tourism Department as regimented programs of cultural display, where the agenda of trade and community bonding rituals draw large numbers of culturally keen tourists. Music, folk theater, puppetry and storytelling are integral to the large majority of nomadic tribes and clans of Rajasthan; performed at almost all large gatherings. By placing these and other forms of popular culture at the heart of my study, and critically observing the ‘festivalising process’
Change is but a testament of the human condition, the need and the acceptance thereof to adapt to a revised context- temporal, spatial or spiritual. The book is designed as a journey, intended to take the reader back and forth in time, through the regions and people of Rajasthan, and the culture that was and is produced.
Of traditions and cultural production, I aim to capture the imagination or essence as it were, of the people of Rajasthan. The outcome is but a preliminary, largely visual engagement, but one that I hope helps lend better insight into a rich and diverse culture.
All images © Sandeep Biswas
BOOK COMMISSIONED, PRODUCED & PUBLISHED BY: Madan Raajgarhia & Rohan Rajgarhia ( Mana Hotels / Sheevam Group )
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sandeep Biswas
TEXT: Kanika Anand
DESIGN: Smriti Rajgarhia
PRINTER: Archana Press
Photographer Sandeep Biswas
Book available on Amazon India
By Sandeep Biswas
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