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Image honouring women wins Indian Link photography contest

Check out the entries in Indian Link’s Independence Day photography contest #myIndianlink

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An image depicting the cherishing and honouring of young women has won the Indian Link Independence Day photography contest #myIndianlink for 2023.

It was taken by amateur photographer Pranab Basak during the Bhagoria Festival in Madhya Pradesh, central India. The event is sometimes called the ‘match-making festival’, because one of the main attractions is a local version of the ‘Bachelors and Spinsters Ball’, in which young people find their partners.

This week-long event has been held uninterrupted for centuries by the Bhil, Bhilala and Barela indigenous communities during the time of the Festival of Colours, Holi. It is essentially a ‘haat’ or market enterprise, with music and dance festivities thrown in, and the match-making is an inadvertent but happy by-product.

Nonetheless, the decisions made by young women at the event are particularly honoured, Pranab Basak told Indian Link, in what might seem at odds with popular belief about women’s place in society. As a woman announces her choice at the Bhagoria Festival, her family and friends place their hands on her head in blessing.

Coming at a time when issues regarding women’s safety have been in the national discourse, the joy in Basak’s image – and the connotations of care and regard – won the judges over.

“I’m thrilled to have won this award,” Basak said. “It was quite a unique tradition that I witnessed, and am pleased that I could capture the joy of the moment.”

Pranab Basak takes home a $200 prize.

Pranab Basak
Pranav Basak, First Prize winner (Source: Supplied)

 

The annual photography contest held by Indian Link to coincide with Independence Day, #myIndianlink, seeks images from participants that display their link to, or a feel of, India.

Entrants use the #myIndianlink hashtag to post their photographs on social media.

An agrarian scene from Purulia in remote West Bengal, captured by photographer Arpan Basu Chowdhury, claimed the second prize.

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When the kash phool blooms, by Arpan Basu Chowdhury (Source: Supplied)

Taken at the onset of autumn, it shows the banks of the Kangsabati river filled with kash phool (Saccharum spontaneum) of the wild sugarcane or kans grass, in full bloom.

“These flowers hold a special significance for us Bengalis, as they play a special part in Durga Puja,” Chowdhury told Indian Link. “The appearance of the kash phool means Puja can’t be far away.”

He took the shot from a bridge, and though he was chasing the kash phool, managed to capture a local fisherman casting his net.

Arpan Basu Chowdhury
Arpan Basu Chowdhury, Second Prize winner (Source: Supplied)

“The fisherman added a wonderful element to my image, a tiny representation of 60% of India’s population that continues to live off the land.”

Indeed, it is a statistic that we often forget here in Australia, amidst news of business partnerships, defence ties and education exchanges.

Chowdhury wins a prize valued at $150.

The two images were among 80 submissions received this year in the Indian Link photography contest #myIndianlink. The entries saw an over representation of monuments this time round, including the photographer’s favourite Taj Mahal, as well as the Golden Temple, Tirupati temple, Red Fort and Mysore Palace.

Holi images, always attractive and rich in colour, were plentiful again.

Captures of the Tricolour in a variety of settings were also popular, as were images of deities and of prayer. Life in rural India, snapshots of communal harmony, and boats on various water bodies were other popular themes.

READ ALSO: #myIndianlink 2022

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