“India’s school infrastructure has significantly improved in last 10 years. Construction of new schools has gone hand-in-hand with the provision of additional classrooms, drinking water and toilets.” -Naveen Nara, Deputy Education Officer, Sonepat, Haryana [C].
Despite these efforts from the government, I noticed that the infrastructure was mostly lacking.
a. The government school buildings appeared old and in need of major repair work. All the rooms were damp and musty. [B] [D]
b. In some cases, school boundary walls were missing.
c. Toilets were either locked, not functional or unclean. At most places, there were no separate toilets for girls.
d. No playgrounds in the rural schools. [B] [D]
e. Infrastructure (quality of building, range of teaching aids, etc) in urban/semi-urban areas tend to be significantly better than in rural areas.[B] [C] [D]
We saw rural GPS children sit on floor over dirty carpets. [B] [D], where as Sonepats’s GPS had desks and chairs for children. [C]
The absolute number of illiterate persons year after year is still rising probably pointing to fact that construction of new schools has lagged behind.
2. Access to Primary Schools:
A majority of people I interviewed said that it takes a child just 10 minutes to reach the nearest primary school. While primary schools are reasonably accessible, the majority of villages do not have upper-primary schools. In rural India as a whole, 43% of the population lives more than 1 km away from the nearest upper-primary school (The PROBE Report, 2006). This is a serious problem and the main reason why parents are often reluctant to send their daughters to school. In villages without an upper- primary school, girls often drop out after class 5, even when their parents are otherwise able and willing to continue supporting their studies.
3. Incentive Schemes:
a. Elementary education is free: Under Right to education act of 2009, elementary education is compulsory and free for the children of the age group 6-14.
b. Free textbooks:Free textbooks are one of the two centrally sponsored incentives given to all the children. Few kids I interviewed at Sonepat’s government school, confirmed they had received the textbooks [C].
However, there were few articles in newspapers blogs that complained about the untimely or, no delivery of the complete set of books.
c. Mid-day meals:Mid-day meals play an important role in boosting enrollment and attendance. Food attracts children to school on a daily basis. Children in government schools, in rural and urban areas alike, tend to be from poor families and one nutritious meal at school can enhance their health. The weekly menu is painted on school walls. This helps parents keep track of whether their child is getting what she/he is entitled to.
Although, the reality seems to be very different. At the Bulandshahr government school, I found that the class room for standard 1st has been turned into a kitchen and there was no sign of the cook. [B]
d. Scholarships:Certain state governments offers scholarships and free uniforms for specified vulnerable categories (SC/ST groups).
For example, Uttar Pradesh Government Scholarship awards Rs.25 every day to kids in class 1 to 5. However, the procedure involves a lot of paper work which makes it hard for illiterate parents to actually get the scholarships for their kids. (India Scholarship Directory 2010). Also, these schemes are not implemented in all the states. At Sonepat government primary school, I saw two mothers pleading the teachers to help them get the scholarship money without going through all the paperwork.[C]
4. Parent’s Attitudes towards Education:
a. Popular demand & Educational aspirations:Contrary to the common notion that poor parents are not interested in education, Dasra - a NGO indicates a massive popular demand for schooling.
“But the right to education has to be understood as a right to education of a certain quality.” - Anurag Chaturvedi, Manager, Due Diligence Team, Dasra
The few parents I interviewed, both father and mother were very keen that their children should receive a good education. [D]
If anything, the parents from PPES seemed to have some aversion towards manual work at school. The main concern, for most parents, is that children should develop their intellectual abilities — manual work at school is seen as a diversion. [A]
What they aspire to is not very different from what we are likely to want for our own children— ‘quality education’ in the common sense of the term. This contrasts with the notion, common in elite circles, that privileged families need one type of ‘quality education’ while poor families need another type.
Thousands of private schools have sprung up across rural UP in last 10 years, indicating a demand for quality education. Government statistics show that 73 per cent of the rural schools at elementary level are run by the government. Unfortunately they are expensive and not every parent can afford them.
b. Aspiration for Govt. Permanent Jobs:Poor parents have good reason to yearn for better employment opportunities, and to think that education may help in that respect. To a large extent, education is seen by poor parents as an opportunity for their children to join the ranks of government employees.
c. A Tool to Defend Rights: One of the parents said education helps ‘not to be scared of officers’, ‘to get information about what benefits are available’, and ‘to fill forms’.
d. Daughter’s Education: North Indian parents tend to think of a daughter’s upbringing mainly from the point of view of her marriage. For boys parents expect that education will deliver good employment and higher income. For girls, schooling is thought to bring better marriage proposal better decision making skills as mothers. Most of the parents interviewed, consider at least some education as an important part of a daughter’s upbringing, even if their ambitions in that respect continue to be modest.
e. Social Norms and Role Models: If schooling is a social norm for the community, girls are sent to school. To illustrate, when asked why all the daughters in Jalalpur village community went to school, some parents simply say ‘girls go to school in our community’. [A]
In other words, they are following what they see as a social norm. The social influence of role models depends a great deal on what people see as the relevant ‘reference group’. For instance, in the same village people have started sending their children to cities to earn after seeing that a lower- caste boy in a remote village gets a good job after completing his studies. This is likely to raise the perceived value of education for a lower-caste boys.
f. Powerlessness, Class & Caste Biases:The bulk of teachers were from socially advantage group (general caste). Some parents from socially disadvantaged groups complained that teachers behavior revealed discriminatory attitude toward their children and have no sympathy for the predicament of poor pupils.
5. Absence from School
a. Bad School Infrastructure:Uttar Pradesh has extreme weather conditions. It gets really cold in winters and hot during summers. Absence of all- weather rooms makes it really hard for children to sit on floor during extreme weather conditions. Along with it separate functional toilet facilities for boys and girls pay a big role. [B] [C] [D]
b. Poverty:The vast majority of child laborers work as family laborers at home or in the fields, not as wage laborers. At times of peak agricultural activity, poor families are under great pressure to mobilize children as full-time laborers. And that may be enough to exclude them from the schooling system altogether. This becomes more and more serious as the focus moves to progressively to older age groups.
c. Care Takers: When both parents work outside the home, child care is a real issue. Children run errands, assist in chores, stand in queues for water and kerosene, look after siblings. This specially effects eldest daughters in rural families who often have to forfeit both their childhood and their education. Govt. tried a possible solution to this problem by arranging collective arrangements for child care, such as ‘Anganwadis’* but the performance of the north Indian states in this respect is very poor.
For example, at the Bulandshahr government school, when I asked the anganwadi teacher: why are there no kids in her class at 11:30 am, she made weird excuses like: “I have let them go home because it is harvest time.” I then asked her how many kids are enrolled under her. She very hesitantly said “16”. [B]
*Anandwadi is a free govt. run play school for kids from age 6 months to 5 years.
d. Family Member’s Prolonged Illness:There were cases where children had been withdrawn from school for long periods on account of a family member’s prolonged illness [A]. Further, girls were the first to be withdrawn when a family member’s illness increased the work-load in the house.
e. Large Families:When I interviewed families of few children, I realized that families tend to be so large (>6 kids) that parents end up not paying attention to any of the individual kids (specially if it is a girl child). They think that if one or two of their kid can study it is good enough for the family. [A]
f. Caste Issues, Religion Issues, Gender Biases: Generally, literacy rates vary a great deal by region, class, caste and gender. Some parents and children simply feel that the schooling system is ‘not for them’. This feeling can arise in various ways. There may be no tradition or culture of schooling in their caste or community.
For example, Kanjar Community in Anupshahr, Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, is historically associated with prostitution.
“ The community haven’t not seen any sucess story yet. Girls from the community drop out and don’t come back. How do you make a kid from sex worker community intersted in some other profession. Selling their bodies for sex is easy money for them and their families.” [A] - Sam Singh
Also, the fear of their children may be discriminated, treated with indifference, contempt or even hostility - discourages a ton of parents from sending children to school.
g. Lack of Role Models:People are extremely poor in villages. Parents see so many of those who do go to school get very little from it and hence see importance in small every day tasks, which are immediate incentives driving their lives.
I felt that kid, parents and teachers lack belief that they can break out of status quo (endless cycle of poverty driving their lives) and hence they have sort of resigned to living life as it is. Their is no real equivalent of “american dream” in rural India. Kids don’t have role models to look up to and parents/teachers don’t see a real return on their investment. Parents are much less likely to give up the struggle to educate their children if they feel that the village school provides quality education.
h. Primary Education is Not Absolutely Free:Not all the families & states get targeted incentives like free uniform, workbooks etc. Which means that education in govt. schools involves expenditure for the parents.
6. Levels of teaching activities:
a. One of the schools had no teaching activity at the time of visit. Some of the teachers were absent, other found to whiling away time simply chatting. [B]
b. Teaching methods are dominated by mindless rote learning, for example, chanting endless mathematical tables or reciting without comprehension. [A] [B] [C]
c. 1 teacher is allocated to one class and she/he teaches all the subjects. This happens till 8th standard. Most of the times a teacher is not equipped to teach all the subjects. [B] [C]
d. Involving the children in activities with music, drawing, dancing and organized play was not observed anywhere.
e. Multigrade Teaching: Children of UP Govt. school of the classes 1 to 5 where all sitting together in one room and being taught ABCD... [B]
f. Most teachers I met were speaking and teaching grammatically wrong English. [A] [B] [C]
g. Operation Blackboard (OB):OB was launched in 1987 with the laudable aim of ensuring that every primary school had a minimum quota of facilities and aids, described as follows:
(1) At least two reasonably large all- weather rooms along with separate toilet facilities for boys and girls.
(2) At least two teachers, as far as possible one of them a woman.
(3) Essential teaching and learning material including blackboards, maps, charts, a small library, toys, games and some equipment for work experience. (Department of Education, Annual Report, 1997-8)
However, the schools I visited the overall achievements of Operation Black- board were well below target.
When I asked about OB from the teachers, I got to hear the following :
(1). Principal complained that the original items were non-functional, and could not be replaced or repaired as Operation Blackboard is a one-time grant. [B]
(2). DEO of Sonepat school said- “The school has the toys and teaching kits, but are kept locked up because classes are held in the open and we don’t want to disturb regular teaching. We never receive any musical instruments and the science kit.” [C]
Hints of corruption may be??
7. Teacher’s Background:
a. Contract & Permanent Teachers: In 90’s the vast majority of teachers were regular government employees with permanent service. But over the years, state has also started recruiting contract teachers (para-teachers, shiksha karmi, shiksha mitra, shiksha sahayak), young people with 10 years of schooling is eligible to be appointed as a volunteer teacher. Thisminimum qualification was relaxed to eight years for people in remote mountainous areas and women. They are recruited locally by the panchayat or village education committee or school management committee to a particular school. Recruitment through local bodies has made the teacher cadre even more politicized. By and large, contract teachers are underpaid, they get a fixed contract of usually one year. No pre-service training is required, hence most of the time they are not equipped to fulfill expectations of teaching primary school children.
Advantages: “Contract teaching has reduced the teachers shortage. Low salary has enabled govt. to recruit more teachers. Recruitment and payment through village bodies potentially make better accountability to the community. Being local recruits, they are not likely to be under pressure to get them selves transferred. They don’t even have to travel long distances, which contributes to lowering the rate of absenteeism.” -Naveen Nara, Deputy Education Officer, Sonepat, Haryana [C].
b. Salaries of Permanent Teachers: The sixth pay commission, in 2009, has almost doubled the salary of primary school teachers. The salary of starting teacher in primary school was Rs. 8370 per month in Uttar Pradesh, which became Rs. 17996 in early 2009 with about 115% of the increase.
c. Charity/ Social biases:Teachers feel they are doing some charity by teaching these “poor” kids [C]. Teachers haven’t seen many success stories in years. They don’t really believe that they can improve kid’s life (because of the factors outside their control). For them, if these economically challenged kids are eating, learning basic ABCD/numbers that is “good enough”.
The social gap between teachers and students can be felt in GPS[A] [C]. Community prejudice and social attitude plays a major role in shaping willingness of teachers to teach the children from poor and marginalized communities with love and empathy. This is one of the reasons that has declined the social status of teachers.
8. Teacher’s Concerns:
a. Migrant Families:Teachers claimed that since many residents are migrants, they retain strong ties with their village communities, the families often return to the village for festivals and functions, or for the harvest season. This can cause absence from school for as long as two months. [A] [C]
This disruption causes major problems for the child: catching up is tough because of the adverse home environment, and in extreme cases the child may even have been struck off the rolls during his or her absence.[C]
b. Child Labour:Child labour is also mentioned by teachers as a major reason for pupils leaving school or not attending regularly.
c. Paralyzing curriculum: Teachers at Sonepat govt. school complained that the school curriculum which teachers are expected to cover is highly demanding for most young children. “Every class-5 pupil is expected to master subjects as diverse as ‘the progress of man from early times to the present age’ ‘the present schemes to increase and improve forest cover, cleaning rivers, tanks and etc.’.” [C]
d. No Parental Help: Most of these children are first generation learners. Teachers complained that there is no parental help what so ever. So they have to keep repeating the same topics a lot of times. [C]
9. Teachers job satisfaction:
“In the rural govt. primary schools, it is rare to find a teacher conscientiously teaching a class.” - Sam Singh [A]
Most of the potential incentives have lost their sharp edge. This can due to a combination of few factors:
a. Social Status:Decline in social status of govt. teachers in the society due to organized resistance on the part of the teaching profession. Achieving a status in society might be considered an achievement by an individual and could be consider as a satisfier, as defined by Herzberg’s Theory (1972). Especially in India where teachers were considered equivalent to God and parents and communities approached them to get suggestions even on day to day issues. Teachers in primary education are tagged as grade three employees now, and that can be a cause of low morale and dissatisfaction.
b. Promotion:Teachers move up the ladder according to seniority. Government’s ignorance regarding their promotion and professional development has created a sense of discrimination in teachers. [A] [C]
c. Non-academic duties:The excess of non-academic duties ( like: preparation of voter lists, identity cards and election related duties, economic survey, population and animal survey and even medical related work like pulse polio immunization, responsibilities of mid-day meal) has worsened the condition. These duties deter teachers from teaching and learning activities, hence declining the level of education.
d. Irresponsible Interference of Village and Village head in Schools’ Academic Works:
The village head known as Gram Pradhan is the Chairman of VEC (ref. 12 (i)). He has the authority to monitor the development and maintenance funds allocated to schools. They also receive the funds for Mid-Day Meal program in the joint account with Head teacher of the school, thus they can monitor its utilisation as well (MDM Program: Annual Work plan and Budget 2011-2012).
Naveen Nara complained about illiterate villagers not supporting school teachers rather they interfere a lot in school management. [C]
e. Political Interference: The community of teachers are both victims and vehicles of the complex dynamic that plays out on the ground.
Discussions with teachers revealed that selection for awards now rarely depended on performance on the ground and was more a function of a teacher’s ability to lobby with the decision-makers. [A] [C]
f. Salaries:Most of the teachers demonstrated satisfaction with their pay band. However not crediting the salary in time demotivates the teachers. [A] [C]
g. Professional Development Opportunity:The eligibility to become a primary school teacher is just 1 to12 years of general education and a diploma (B.Ed) or a degree in education (BA).
Most teachers felt that the opportunities (within the system) for upgrading professional qualifications were poor and opportunities for in-service training just average. They pointed out that the trainings for professional development are too theoretic and are far away from the daily work experience. [C]
Discussions revealed that while teachers have attended training program, they do not always view these as opportunities to upgrade their skills. Interestingly few of the ‘para-teachers’ were currently studying to upgrade their qualifications (outside the formal in-service training set up). [C]
g. The Missing Motivational Factors: People like challenging work with reasonable amount of range, freedom to implement own ideas to get the task done; get a chance to utilize one’s knowledge, ability and skill; set challenging goals, and get feedback for self-evaluation. But this to some extent depends on the nature of the employee. Apart from employee’s nature, overall workload, autonomy, safety, physical nature of work environment, comfort, relatively modern facilities and adequate equipment motivate people to work and make them satisfied (Theron, 2003; Furnham, 2005; Schultz andSchultz, 2002).
All these factors can be motivational but were missing from GPS structure.
10. Child’s Reluctance:
The discouragement effect applies not only to parents and teachers but also to children. The initial disposition of children towards schooling is usually positive.
In a school like Pardada Pardadi Educational Society [A], when things functions, child’s motivation is easily sustained. In fact,it is a joy to see children’s enthusiasm and drive to learn. Even when classes are far from exciting, children often look forward to going to school: it is a chance to interact with other children, a welcome change of atmosphere, and a liberation from the chores of family labour.
Interviews with children made it clear that many of them had learned very little at school.
a. Terror in the Class: It is not uncommon for a child to actually drop out after being terrorized by the teacher. Beatings from classmates, lack of comprehension and plain boredom are possible causes of discouragement.
Social discrimination at school (e.g. neglect of dalit children by upper-caste teachers) is another common cause of child reluctance, especially among dis- advantaged families.
b. The Burden of NonComprehension:In traditional reverence to the divine utterance of the teacher (who in turn follows the tenets of the textbook), children continued the incantation as if under an awesome spell of these chants. This raises a question of does singing helps in understanding or is it only good for memorizing information? [B] [C] [D]
Also, written exercises are the predominant teaching method. Written exercises usually mean copying from the blackboard, or from textbooks, and in some cases from guide books without comprehension. [A]
c. Un-educated Parents:“A large portion of currently enrolled children have difficulty understanding their teachers. Even a large portion said that they had difficulties understanding textbooks. This is not surprising in the light of the fact that many teachers don’t speak local dialects. The problem in comprehending the text is aggravated by the fact that many children live in an oral culture and majority of them have no educated person in the family to turn to when learning related quires arise” (Early Literacy Project (ELP))
11. Evaluation and Examination:
Automatic promotion of children until class 8 or even class 10 has become an accepted practice in many states, and so is mass copying when exams do take place. All these policies allow children each year to move the next grade without ensuring that children are learning satisfactorily. Hence learning deficits accumulate over time.
Also, it makes a teacher’s performance difficult to observe: his or her work has no clear-cut ‘output’, though some indirect indications of teaching standards can be obtained from spot- check inspections, pupil’s exam scores, and so on. School examinations give parents important information about the performance of teachers. For instance, if all the pupils in a school fail the Board exam in class 5, parents are likely to ask pointed questions about what the teachers were doing in the classroom.
12. Accountability mechanisms and their weaknesses:
a. Permanent teachers:Once you get a job in govt. service, its permanent. And no one can take it away from you. But an employee can be transferred to different state. Some of these teachers have paid a huge amount of bribery to get this post.
b. Teacher promotions:Promotions are seniority-based and its difficult to assess teachers in a fair and objective manner.
c. Transfers and other sanctions:Unwanted transfers are resisted by teachers’ organizations.
d. Inspection system:Lack of follow-ups. Most of the time inspectors don’ t consult parents.
e. Supervision by the head teacher: Head teacher post in primary schools effectively abolished in many states.
f. Teacher concern for reputation:Due to the social distance from the parental community, teacher may not be too concerned about their reputation. [B] [D]
g. Corroded work culture: You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, policy with in teachers. Proxy attendance is a very common thing.
h. Community Accountability & Parents Powerlessness:Parents have little power. The most common pattern is one of scant interaction between parents and teachers. Parents, even if unhappy, see little scope to influence the teachers. Also, a lot of time they find it difficult to judge what goes on at school.
i. Village Education Committees (VEC) & PTA: Formal institutions aimed at promoting greater interaction between teachers and parents. Parent-teachers are teamed up in Parent-teacher associations’ (PTAs) and in ‘village education committees’ (VECs) teachers are teamed with local leaders and parents. These committees require to have a certain composition, so that they could be representative of wider community and include socially disadvantaged groups.
Teachers companied that no to hardly any parent comes to attend meetings. PTAs that did exist seldom went beyond formalities. Some meet only on 15 August and 26 January for snacks or a brief celebration, following an earlier tradition of inviting parents to the local school on those days. [C]
THERON, L. A. 2003. Attitude and Values. In: Z. C. BERGH and A. L. THERON. 2003. eds. Psychology in the Work Context. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
SCHULTZ, D. AND S. E. SCHULTZ. 2002. Psychology and Work Today. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
RADHA V. 2012. Early Literacy Project. Why Can’t Children Read & Write? Building Blocks of Early Literacy.
FURNHAM, A. 2005. The Psychology of Behaviour at Work: The Individual in the Organisation. New York: Psychology Press.
HERZBERG, F. 1972. Work and the Nature of Man. London: Staples Press.
ANURADHA DE. 2006. Probe Revisted: A Report on Elementary Education in India. Oxford University Press.
Project: An ethnographic research based project on understanding the environment, culture and visual symbolism of Pan (betel leaf) in the holy city ofBanaras, where life and death gets celebrated together. The research culminated into a visual book with a collage of words, photographs and illustrations that documentsactivities around pan with the flavour of the Banarasi culture in it.
Background: Pan - Literary works have been devoted to this rare magical leaf. It is the symbol of auspicious beginnings, the seal on alliances and invitations. It represents the deity in religious ritual; it is the inspiration of verse, legend & painting. It is an addiction and social nicety. The Tambool or pan tradition is all this and more. And the Indian fondness and devotion to this tradition is eloquently revealed in the magnificent way on the roads of Banaras.
My Research: https://taranagupta.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/pan-pilgrim-banaras/
Design Degree Project at IDC, IIT Bombay
Year: Jan'09 to May'09
Advisers: Prof. GV Sreekumar (IIT Bombay), Prof. Deepak Kannal (Dean MSU Baroda)
Project: This project was an attempt to discover the cultural meaning behind mythological visual forms. Shaped by informed interpretation, ornamented by the living imagery of the land and spiced by the flavors of the Indian diversity this research took the form of a documented book.
Book attempts to go into depths of the spiral unconscious of the Hindu tradition which is rich in ancient memory. Since very little documentation is available on female figures such as Parvati, through my visual book I hope to lift the veil of the Hindu woman a little higher.
It contains four distinct sections which were synchronized via text and visual dialect. The first section talks about a general understanding of the word ‘Consort’ with reference to the Vedas, “Puranic” texts and epics. The second section explores the visual of Parvati - seated to the left as the divine ‘Consort’ of Shiva (the Ling Yoni), the concept of “Ardhanarishvara” and Parvati- manifested as source of power or “Shakti” (Gauri-Durga-Kali) with relevant symbolical meaning. The third section illustrates Parvati’s birth and marriage story in a graphical novel format. The illustrations used are contemporary in style with a touch of ethnicity infused in them. The objective is to enrich this book visually for an entertaining appearance with enhanced cognition.
Book is also interspersed with ‘after thoughts’ which are my reflections on the formal text and visuals.
The fourth and the final segment is called “Halla Bol” (Voice of people) in which the concept of ‘after thoughts’ is extended further. I have gathered opinion from different sections of the society on transition from liberal past of Indian women to her current role in a patriarchal society. Here I have highlighted diverse understanding of the Indian mythology and particularly individual level belief about Parvati. These opinions are followed by my interpretation and analysis.
The visual explorations range from the basic Calendar Art to the voguish Graphic Novel. The distinct segments of this explorative project have correlation and synchronization of the segregated text with the visual dialect. Due diligence has been taken for the holistic Visual Communication of this project. They are neither too loud or too settle, so that the concept behind the subject stands out.
Background: The basic metaphysical concepts behind Hindu Mythological images and the profound significance and symbology is generally unknown. The images of deities are found to be a useful device to achieve success in meditative concentration. It became the most important element of worship in Bhakti Marga. Only worship was not the aim but these images were made to express the concepts behind them, which were supposed to reveal themselves in the act of meditation and worship.
Myths and mythology are a medium to express these concepts indirectly to those who can’t understand the conceptual meaning behind it. Since pre-Vedic period the form of deities have changed from nature worship to abstract symbols like ‘linga’ to the anthropomorphic image worship, which is in still in existence but in their different forms. An image is a visual symbol (pratika) of a concept or idea. What is seen in the form of the image is not only that matters – the meaning transcending the form is equally significant, the external form of god, as in an image, is basically composite in nature in so far as it is informed by an idea eluding the form, the image is thus the visual interpretation of the ultimate reality as the synthesis of what can be expressed and what cannot be.
Indian mythology is full of mystical characters such as Shiva, the god of desctruction. Over years, Indian artists have drawn inspiration and have simultaneously inspired numerous visual forms of Shiva and Parvati. I conducted research on understanding Shiva’s consort – Parvati.
As I unravelled and learned more about mythology the character of female in it fascinated me a lot, in particular that of Parvati. Parvati represents the householder ideal in the perennial tension in Hinduism in the household ideal and the ascetic ideal, represented by Shiva. In classical Hindu mythology, the “raison d’être” of Parvati, and before that of Sati, is to lure Shiva into marriage and thus into a wider circle of worldly affairs. Parvati civilizes Shiva, the “great unpredictable madman” with her presence. When Shiva does his violent, destructive tandava dance, Parvati is described as calming him or complementing his violence by slow, creative steps of her own Lasya dance. In many myths, Parvati is not as much his complement as his rival, tricking, seducing, or luring him away from his ascetic practices. Again, Parvati subdues Shiva’s immense sexual vitality.
In this context, Shiva Purana says: ‘The linga of Shiva, cursed by the sages, fell on the earth and burnt everything before it like fire. Parvati took the form of a yoni and calmed it by holding the linga in her yoni’.
She is considered a perfect daughter, an ideal wife and a perfect virgin mother. Her saga ranges from the manifestation of the very beautiful Gauri to the fears Kali. My work focused on exploring metaphysical concepts embedded in these visual forms and their impact on the modern society.
Reflections Of A Nascent Mind
Advisor : Prof. Raja Mohanty (IIT Bombay)
Project: An illustartive art journal.
This project was exhibited in Nehru Center, Mumbai, India in July 2009.
In this work I have tried to weave together my small personal experiences to form an art journal. It can perhaps be viewed as a woman’s quest to find her place.
Manas Mithya captures the journey of female gender, an embryo growing up to be a woman mangled in a network of relationships.
Where does she belong? Whom does she belong to? It’s her quest to find her place, caught in the nature of love and lust and residing in several dilemmas at once.
My journal is an effort to break from conventional straight forward narrative structures with beginning and end. I embrace a genre of artwork against the cultural and intellectual conformity in society. Its more than a series of charcoal drawings and ink splashes. I have tried to put together a story that has references to different books and media joined through my experiences. Manas Mithya emerged from my acute response to the world around me.