Flowers are a hugely important part of Indian culture, used in everything from temple rituals to festivals and parties – and Malik Ghat flower market is the largest of its kind in India. Located in Calcutta, next to the Hooghly river, it attracts more than 2,000 sellers each day, who flock to peddle their blooms amid frantic scenes.
I got the idea for the project when I was there on another assignment some year before. I had a spare day in Kolkata and went to the flower market, its a beautiful and at the same time very stressful place – the market it one of the biggest flower market in Asia and is very busy.
I got really fascinated by the place, especially the flower sellers got my attention. I really like the way they transport/carry their flowers, sometimes it almost looks like they were wearing big flower dresses. I like all these, sometimes strong and masculine men handling the flowers with so much care like it was their precious things.
I wanted to do the portraits on a plain and simple background so the Flower sellers really stand out, I like the way the different man pose with there different flowers – the masculine man and the beautiful flower.
Most of the people didn’t mind to have their photo taken, as long as it didn’t take long. All of the flower sellers were very busy selling their flowers and where very focus on not losing too much business while having their pictures taken.
Hopefully, people find the portraits interesting, even though some of the flower sellers are poor they are still very proud of what they do and I like that very much and hope people can see that.
More info: kenhermann.com
From the mid-10th century ce, one of history’s great scientific eras began to flourish across Islamic lands.
Like the European Renaissance, it was marked as much by cultural exchange, synthesis and dialog as it was by individual discovery. Connections forged among scholars and scientists of Islamic lands with contemporaries and predecessors beyond their own borders led to an unprecedented pooling of knowledge over generations and continents. The Indus Valley and the wider Indian subcontinent proved to be deep wells of the scholarship that gradually came to be known westward via translation into Arabic as well as Persian. From the observations of philosophers to the calculations of mathematicians, from the models of astronomers to the treatises of physicians, these works helped shape the era that became known as “the golden age of Islamic science” and—much later—our own.
After the Muslim conquest of India, several rulers, including most notably the Mughal emperors of the 16th and early 17th centuries, beginning with Akbar the Great, facilitated translations of Indian literature into Persian and Arabic. Several well-known Indian books such as Mahabharata, parts of the Vedas, Yoga-Vasistha, Bhagavad-Gita and Bhagavata Purana were thus translated. The most fundamental views contained within these texts express the crux of natural philosophy: a universe in constant transformation, wherein elements are interconnected, sharing in absolute unity and having a sequence of creation. The Yoga-Vasistha, for example, a collection of stories and fables nearly 30,000 verses in length, was appreciated for its “realities, diverse morals, and remarkable advice.”
Under Dara Shukoh some 50 major Indian works were translated, among them the Upanishads, the pinnacle part of the Vedas script, which he considered imbued with the power to make people “imperishable, unsolicitous and eternally liberated.” His rendering was later translated into Latin in the 18th century by Anquetil Duperron of France. It was read in turn by the eminent 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was so impressed by the universality of its message that he kept a copy open on a table near his bed.
Much of what Akbar and his successors learned to value, however, had already been observed centuries before. During his years in India in the 11th century, Abu al-Rayan al-Biruni, an all-around erudite from Kath in Central Asia, studied Sanskrit and researched the arts, literature and science. He analyzed meta-physics in Vedic texts and translated a number of them into Arabic, including selections from Patanjali’sYoga-Sutras, a philosophical compilation, and the 700-verse Bhagavad-Gita. In his own book, Kitab Ta’rikh al-Hind (Book of Indian History, popularly known as Alberuni’s India), he introduced Muslim readers to Indian scholarly culture. Al-Biruni admits in the introduction that despite cultural and linguistic barriers, his book is an attempt to offer “the essential facts for any Muslim who wanted to converse with Hindus and to discuss with them questions of religion, science, or literature.”
He also identiﬁes crossovers between Indian sci-ence and literature, notably Kalila wa Dimna (Kalila and Dimna), a celebrated book in the Middle East since the early medieval period. Based on an earlier Indian work, Panchatantra (Five Principles), it was written down from the oral tradition in the third century BCE, and it uses animal fables (Kalila and Dimna are jackals) to tell stories about human conduct and the arts of governance.