Archive for June 22, 2010

Where stones breathe

stones breathe click here to see pictures.

In his eternal quest for immortality, man has been continuously struggling with various mediums to lend an aura of permanence to his creative expressions which seeks to capture that elusive idea called “The Absolute”. Long after the physical frames turn to dust and much after they fade away from the memories of their loved ones, the kings and emperors of the yore used these mediums to remind their ideals and aspirations to generations on end. Through the verbal traditions of folklores, through stylistic prose and eloquent poems set to haunting music and through colourful and enchanting murals, these rulers deployed myriad techniques to communicate to posterity, the values they cherished and the valour they displayed in fending and fostering a culture and thereby a civilization. Without the active royal patronage of these art forms, most of them would have been extinct by now leaving us poorer of many a rich and vibrant tradition.

But when seeking an awesome permanence that outlives the onslaught of invasions, the battering of natural disasters and the silent ravages of time, the rock has remained the chosen medium to tell a thousand tales. The sturdy granite imbibes in it the carefully crafted carvings, the chiselled figures and the intricate ornamentations to capture every shade of human emotions and a canopy of animate and inanimate objects that together communicate, in grand eloquence, gripping stories of a bygone era.  In these sculptures are chronicled the triumphant march of kingdoms, the conquest of hearts and minds through philosophical ideas and also etched are efforts to answer searching questions on existence here and hereafter.  Though they show signs of withering, the sublime thoughts they invoke are as profound today as they would have been centuries ago as these stones silently breathe a vital life force that leave one invigorated.  

But behind these panoramas of supreme craftsmanship are the untold tales of sufferings, of humiliations and of corporal punishments meted out to the thousands of artisans and workers who toiled to bring them to shape and to life. They worked as slaves for their masters who administered inhuman treatment and were kept on bare minimum requirements for existence. Morsels of food were the only remuneration and more often death was the punishment for any lapse on their jobs. There could be exceptions, but the physical and environmental conditions in which these crafts were created   all point to a high degree of authoritarianism that brook no lenience.

As we pay tribute to their crafts through these pictures, they also remind us of the human tragic stories to which these stones are totally silent.

Yours

Narayanan

June 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm 5 comments


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