Thursday, Jul 16, 2020 | Last Update : 07:11 PM IST

114th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra27564015261310928 Tamil Nadu1518201023102167 Delhi116993956993487 Karnataka4725318467933 Gujarat44648313462080 Uttar Pradesh41383257431012 Telangana3934225999386 Andhra Pradesh3545118378452 West Bengal34427206801000 Rajasthan2643719502530 Haryana2330617667319 Bihar2017313533157 Assam197551288953 Madhya Pradesh1964313908682 Odisha1489810476101 Jammu and Kashmir116666337206 Kerala9554463436 Punjab87995867221 Jharkhand4562248538 Chhatisgarh4556332420 Uttarakhand3785294850 Goa2951167418 Tripura228116043 Manipur170010800 Puducherry159688921 Himachal Pradesh134196610 Nagaland9023480 Chandigarh61945911 Arunachal Pradesh4911533 Meghalaya337462 Mizoram2381590 Sikkim222870
  Life   More Features  23 Nov 2019  Capturing the Parsi legacy

Capturing the Parsi legacy

THE ASIAN AGE. | TRISHA GHOROI
Published : Nov 23, 2019, 11:57 pm IST
Updated : Nov 24, 2019, 8:27 am IST

Photographer Shantanu Das’ exhibition in the city documents the lives, rituals, and customs of the diminishing Parsi community.

 The photographer spent more than six years, shooting Parsi community from different parts of the country.
  The photographer spent more than six years, shooting Parsi community from different parts of the country.

When photographer Shantanu Das visited the Gujarati town of Udvada, he was immediately drawn to the Parsi community living there. The photographer then did what he is best at: Capturing the moment. He then went on to publish the pictures in a coffee table book, encapsulating the rich culture and tradition of the Parsi community.

“As a photographer, I feel that you should not be satisfied. When you’re satisfied, you stop,” says Shantanu, who adds that this feeling of dissatisfaction drove him to push the project even further. The photographer, who is exhibiting his photographs in an exhibition titled Parsis - A Timeless Legacy, feels the project is still ongoing.

“After the Udvada book was published, I thought ‘Why stop here? Let me shoot more and more,” says the 47-year-old, who then went back to his hometown of Kolkata to find the local Parsi community. “During Durga Puja, I went home and started researching the other areas I could shoot. I asked people and found a contact of a Parsi club in Calcutta Maidan, so I shot Parsis in Calcutta, their homes, people, and club. Then I thought, ‘Let's shoot in different places’. I went to Surat and Bombay is the hub, so it’s ongoing,” he reveals.

mi

Talking about what drew him towards the community, Shantanu explains, “I feel Parsis are a very interesting community because they have the ability to laugh at themselves. It’s not easy, so it’s very interesting. They also have a ‘live and let live’ attitude.” Additionally, he finds that the community made a massive contribution to the country in terms of architecture.

On his journey, Shantanu was introduced to businessman Parvez Damania at the latter’s son’s Navjot ceremony, and the two instantly became friends. Thirteen years later, he encouraged the photographer to put up his pictures at the exhibition. Talking about why it’s important for the community, Parvez says, “We thought of this exhibition to enlighten people about the life and presence of the Parsi community, who may be small in number but have made a tremendous contribution to India. Few artists have dedicated time to documenting Parsi people, and fewer have had permission to document what are often very private and personal traditions. We wanted to take this opportunity to share the unique Parsi culture, rituals, and traditions with a wider population.”

Being a close-knit community, it’s not easy to capture moments in their lives. Although Shantanu was not allowed to step inside the fire temple, he was happy to click from afar. “As a Hindu, I am not allowed inside their fire temple, but I am allowed to click photographs from a distance. That’s fine because there are other places I’m allowed, so I can click their parties and other ceremonies,” he concludes.

The exhibition is scheduled for November 30 onwards at Tao Art Gallery

Tags: parsi community