The Idea of India


I have had and will continue to need the advice and support of many people for this work. And I want to acknowledge them because I do not take anything they have given and will give for granted.

In Stockholm, the woman who most defines who I am and what I want to become, Pernilla Rafiqui who has been my muse, my inspiration, my courage and my foundation.

In Delhi Rajib Das has fed me with too many ideas that I have had to include in this work, while Sanjit Das, and his beautiful girlfriend Suzanne Lee have honored me with their hospitality, laughter, cooking and a tolerant audience, becoming the reasons why I feel so much at home in Delhi. Photographer Amit Mehra, Aditya Arya, Dinesh Khanna and Prashant Panjiar have quickly become invaluable sources of support and guidance. In Luckhnow, Faizabad & Ayodhya, Pawan Kumar and Arshad Afzal Khan. In Jammu, the tireless photographer Mukesh Gupta. In Srinagar, Javeed Shah.

Other who have and are important contributors with advice, ideas, and suggestions include Glenn Bowman (Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Kent at Canterbury), – Glenn was one of the first people I spoke to about this idea back when it was no more than a poor idea. His work from the Balkans, particularly Macedonia, where he documented syncretic practices was a real inspiration, including this remarkable photograph he sent me that shows a Muslim couple saying their prayers in a Christian-Orthodox shrine. I was bowled over, and inspired. Then there is Professor Anna Bigelow (Asst. Professor, Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, North Caroline State University), Professor Ammiel Alcalay (Professor of Hebrew, City University of New York), Professor Yoginder Sikand and Professor Obaid Siddique of the Jamia Milli Islamia in Delhi.

I have to thank the many readers of the essays who have taken the time to send me edits, corrections and pointed out various errors. In particular I want to thankĀ Peter Lagerquist has not only been instrumental in clarifying my original thesis of this project, but remains crucial to defining its tone. And of course, the brilliant and inspiring, Ananya Vajpeyi, who read these essays, and tolerated many hours of debates and discussions with me. Her insights, and feedback, were amongst the most sensitive and I am forever grateful for them.

Photographer David Hobby of The Strobist fame who gifted a beautiful Leica M6 and a Leica Leitz 50mm/2.0 Summicron lens that is now being used for this India work. I am grateful for his trust in me and the work and can only hope that I rise to his expectations.

Which brings me to a number of people who have bestowed what I often thing is an unwarranted trust in my ability to get this work done and done well. Mamta Singh in Jodhpur, Nadia Shira Cohen in Rome, Karol Ketchell in Bangkok, Natalie Ayala in Paris, Linda Forsell in Stockholm, Yasna Sarwar in London, and Tewfic El-Sawy of The Traveler Photographer website. I can’t even begin to explain how crucial their belief and trust is in keeping me going and pushing this work.

Of course, the Aftermath Project and the support of founder Sara Terry who has believed and been patient with this work ever since I began it in 2008. And the juries Maggie Steber and Darius Himes who were generous enough to give it their votes which led to it being selected for the 2009 Aftermath Grant, the monies from which continue to allow me to concentrate on this Quixotic effort.

One Response to Acknowledgments

  1. Pingback: Natalie ketchell | Esicoatings