Portraits Of Ganga By Bhai Baldeep Singh


This year, the people of Bihar region are playing host to centenaries of various protagonists of our history who were hosted by the people of Bihar including Guru Gobind Singh, Mahavira Jain, the Champaran Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi, to mention just a few. The Anād Foundation, under its project Water Memoirs, with Sidharth Artist, has undertaken the Ganga Project. Sidharth is doing a series of drawings and paintings on the entire stretch of the river, approximately 2600 Kms, while Bhai Baldeep Singh continues to engage in its photographic and musico-literary mapping – something that he started in 1996 at Dev Prayag.
Both works, of Sidharth Artist and Bhai Baldeep Singh, will reflect all of these grand protagonists and others including Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Jaidev and Gautam Buddha as they all tasted the Gangetic nectar across millenniums.


Acknowledgements:
The Anād Foundation is grateful to the Government of Bihar, ZEISS Camera Lenses, TRANSVIDEO and Outdoor & Photography for their generous support to this conservation project.


A Note By Bhai Baldeep Singh:
The project will have a unique concept and a vital focus; Gange for me is a personality whose Dharte (the river banks and river bottom) is Mother, its Waters, the Father, in the words of Guru Baba Nanak —I want to map the memoirs of its vibrance, its cruelty, its beauty – its beastliness, its ugly truths, its solitude —the fairs around its myth; Seeking, as if, Bhairao’s justification of his Gange —is Gange his perspiration or perseverance? His Joy or Despair? Is it Shiva’s resilience and/or merely a show of his vitality? Is Gange his tear of melancholy, or of his eternal love —the sadā-suhāgini? I will be the seeker of Gange —wanting to walk around it, swim in it, drink its water, boat ride in it and fly over it!
I will also be continuing the audio-visual mapping of Ganga in Bihar: Intensive research of native songs on Ganga and their audio-video recordings from Folk, Classical and Semi-Classical song-lores. This will be one of a kind research and I plan to produce a book of notations and poetry.
Lastly, my intent is to take photos of #Ganges as it is —not to glamorise any individual nor river Ganges. For, I do not want to contribute to the tokenism and cosmetic, therefore futile, attempts at #Conservation of #Nature. I am hoping there are folks out there who wouldn’t think they know more than the Ganges’ innocence and even helplessness that these images have attempted to latch on to —these are for them.


A Note By Sidharth:
Ganga: the Eternal Brahma within Me
I had heard this tale inside the village Gurudwara
That to Haridwar did Baba Nanak go.
And early one morning had bathed at Har ki Pauri,
Others around immersed, anointed the rising Sun,
Baba turned his back, and started to offer water
The Pandits asked, What are you up to?
Replied Baba, I am watering my fields.
If Surya accepts, then it will reach my fields too for sure.
The Baba then laughed and said,
Hey Lokai (Oh, People) This body is body of water, and water is the body of life
It is alive like waters, alive water, the First Life
Paani pehla jeeo hai, Jit harya sab koi.
If your waters are pure within and that which flows without
Then it is auspicious/shubha
Life thinks like water, Life behaves like water and Life’s journey is like the waters.
It yearns to meet the Great Ocean, and then again wants to ride on the wings of the winds
To return to the pristine mountains.
Hey Lokai, let waters be consecrated to the waters themselves
It should consecrate Light, Awakening of Self, The body of waters
Ganga is Auspicious, Ganga is Pure
It has come from far
A Waterfall that flows downwards, making way through the mountains, going to meet the great ocean there
Life giving, moksha providing/facilitating
Hey Lokai, it lives within you, it flows within you
Its purification, is your beatification (is ka shudh hona, tera shubh hona).
So one day I too reached Haridwar
Took a Bath, even did Aarti accompanied with lots of Bell ringing
The ice cold waters cannot be polluted
The tirthas keep coming up along its bank.
The mahima singing mendicants never tie of praising it
God Almighty himself lives along with it
This, daughter of the Himalayas
Remover of Sorrow (dukh-harani), Bliss bestower
Comes from Gaumukh afar
Here there is the abode of the White Mountains.
It is said that only if there is a keen desire
Then there will be an intense calling
And that impels one to go.
Since then I walked along Ganga
For two times village to village
source to the merger in The Ganga sagar after Kolkatta
But this time as Bhai Baldeep Singh ji made a special efforts
along with the help of Bihar Govt to ride a boat from Bakser city to Patna
in the waters of Ganga was a great sipiritual experiene.
Gurubani sung by Bhai Baldeep Singh ji while on the voyage.
We could see the beauty of waters uglynes, innocence,poverty
myth and reality of being importance of human along flowing waters…..


Jasbir Singh, Samreen Shah, Keerat Kaur Chahal and Bhai Baldeep Singh have all volunteered time to post-produce images respectively.


 

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