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Monthly Photos February 2018

Photos taken by ILCAA staff and associates are posted here once a month; most of them are taken during their field research in Asia and Africa.

(The copyright belongs to the photographers.)

Vasant Panchami festival at the Asiatic Society of Kolkata

Vasant Panchami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the incoming of spring and Hindu female deity of learning and art, Sarasvati. The festival falls in the late January or early February in Gregorian calendar every year. During the festival, Hindus visit Sarasvati temples or set statues of her in many places for the purpose of celebrating her or offering a puja.

Even at the plot of the Asiatic Society of Kolkata, the erstwhile center of European Oriental studies founded in 1784, Sarasvati’s statue welcomes a number of Hindus who live around the park street. A Brahmin wearing a tank top offers a puja with awkward Sanskrit; his unfamiliarity with Sanskrit was possibly because he was usually occupied with other business. Here, Hindus set images of Sir William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Society, and Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet laureate, on both sides of Sarasvati. I asked a Hindu who visited the site “Do you venerate Sir Jones?” He replied me with cheerful smile “Yes.”

8 FEB 2011
Kolkata, India
Photograph by Satoshi OGURA

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