Thursday, January 14, 2010
THOSE NAKED ASCETICS - MELAS IN INDIA
This is a very strong subject to write about. Naga sadhus are seen in a big group during melas where a dip and bathing are synonymous with cleansing of sins ! That brings into my mind a painting by my wife Ruby.... not of sadhus, but two ordinary souls. I asked her , have been clean of their sins.She replied : 'Decide yourself !'.
Here is the picture I like most among the ones of 'Naga Sadhus ' in the Internet. The lean body of the sadhu wielding a stick to keep the 'herd' in a row has a body language and a glare that I just could not ignore.
These naked ascetics are a great attraction of our 'Melas' to the professional photographers. They behave in a wildly manner in such 'melas'...... I have heard stories their being rude and cruel to those who would come in their route to the bathing 'ghat' when such congregations were less controlled during 1960s and 1970s.
Even to-day, the going can be rough.I admire the photographers who catch such actions as seen here :
These photos in the internet give one hardly any chance to view the details of the faces and bodies of the naked ascetics. Some are young and lithe , others old and obese. These people have renounced clothes and their genitals are noticeably small.
I have three photos of these ascetics , when they are not among a crowd,.which deserve a place in this blog ! 1st one is that of a smoker... see the relief on his face. I do not know if the photographer was aware or not.... the nude ascetic's face does not have the aura of a renouncer!
It , in fact, has a harshness that attracted my notice before I selected and down-loaded the same for a mention in my blog. ( I thankfully acknowledge the photographer's posting this photo in the internet ) .
The next photo that caught my eyes may or may not belong to a sadhu as the upper part was framed... his eyes are glittering, intense and if one is facing this sadhu, it will not be easy to stare at his eyes for long !
The last photo is that of a boy, a young recruit .... the fear of unknown in his eyes ...... one day, perhaps, he will the stick-wielding sadhu like the one at the top of this blog.
Note - I do NOT take any credit for these photos.That of the painting, as stated earlier, is by my wife Ruby Chatterji.The rest are down-loaded from the Internet and pasted here .