medieval forts and palaces, long abandoned even 100 years ago; new cities of Bombay and Kolkata, unspoilt and uncrowded; Red Fort’s Diwai-e-Khas and the Jama Masjid of Delhi, ‘only’ 28 years after the mutiny/revolution; the Nizams of Hyderabad, their noblemen and their families in all their royal splendor; the hunting parties; the foreigners who traveled to catch a glimpse of the exotic; the Kings and Queens and Princes lording above the poor natives who sadly still remain in more or less the same condition- all of this seen through, photographed and recorded for posterity by the keen eye of India’s pioneering photographer, Raja Deen Dayal.
this Sunday, i went to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) where an exhibition of Raja Deen Dayal’s extensive oeuvre is on till February. for three hours i roamed amidst these hundred of images framed on walls, images of a distant yet vaguely familiar India, because the more India changes, the more it remains same.
the Kings and Princes are long gone, but a new royalty is seated in their place; these days tigers are not sported as trophies, business deals are the sport; SUVs are the new elephants; corporate houses and political parties are the new kingdoms; and still, the common man is as common as he was a 125 years ago.
only the veneer has changed, the world Raja Deen Dayal a hundred years ago still is the same, bafflingly contradictory, sanely insane.
created a slideshow out of the images i clicked there. do keep in mind that the image quality is quite low as there was a lot of reflection and all these were clicked by my Nokia C-6 only 🙂 and here you can watch it full screen
Raja Deen Dayal’s Wikipedia page