Newsletter October 2009

Dear friends

Welcome to Tasveer Ghar, the house of images – a digital network of south Asian popular visual culture. Our journey through the visual culture of India continues to grow. We are now pleased to announce several new features and visual essays on the website

In our series of visual essays on the theme of religious pluralism, we present the last 2 essays that have evolved out the research conducted by Tasveer Ghar fellows:

“Kottokka Devathallu: One Crore and One Goddesses”
by Joe Christopher and Alice Samson

The vibrant festivities of Bonalu are unique to the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The shrines of the mother goddess around which Bonalu is centered, and the rich tradition of myths and legends that have sustained them through the decades, provide definitions of community organization, religiosity, and belief that are yet to find a place within what has now come to be understood as the modern way of life in India. In this essay, we explore the Bonalu festival and subaltern shrines of Hyderabad as a contemporary critique of the hegemonic yet popular understanding of religion, secularism, and other modern formations in India. Read more…

“Exploring Ravidas: Understanding the Meeting Point of Faiths and Resistance”

by Daljit Ami

This is an exploration of the 14/15th century Bhakti poet-saint Ravidas as depicted in popular posters, calendars, book covers, and other printed materials in north India, especially in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Read more…

“The Priya Paul Collection of Popular Art at Tasveer Ghar”

An Introduction by Yousuf Saeed

In its endeavour to locate and archive valuable collections of popular Indian art, Tasveer Ghar received an opportunity in 2008 to digitize the personal collection of Priya Paul, the well-known Indian entrepreneur and art connoisseur. Her collection of old posters, calendars, postcards, commercial advertisements, textile labels and cinema posters, painstakingly accumulated over several decades, is one of the finest archives of such ephemera in India. Based on these timeless images, we are soon going to host many interesting visual essays written by eminent scholars and art historians from all over the world. Read more…

Tasveer Ghar Image of the Month:

“Gama Pehlwan Rustam-e Zaman, World's Champion Wrestler”: A 1940s popular print from the Priya Paul Collection. Visit here…


We would also like to make two important announcements about our website:

   All our visual essays now feature an interactive system for the visitors to write in their comments. We would recommend you to visit and use this feedback form (located at the end of each essay) to tell us what you think of our features and essay. You may write about how you read or interpret certain images or text posted on our website. Your comments would help in the nurturing of a dialogue about popular visual culture.

   Our website recently went through a tough time when it was infected with “malware” that may have stopped you from visiting. We would like to announce that our website is now safe, and is also available from the following addresses if you are unable to visit the usual

Hoping that all of you visit our website more often and leave your comments and feedback using the interactive features. (If you find any loopholes or possibilities of improvement on the website, please do not hesitate to write to us).



Sumathi Ramaswamy

Christiane Brosius

Manishita Dass

Yousuf Saeed

Suboor Bakht


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