Monday, May 30, 2005

Making a God

Speaking of poster-art and what it represents, one of the posters got me really curious.

This was a poster of some goddess that, at first glance, looked like any other - red saree trimmed with gold, lots of gold jewelry, a golden crown, six arms with each hand bearing different objects; she was fair-skinned, smiling a soft, amused smile...

I assumed she was Durga/Lakshmi/Saraswati, until we noticed that she rode, not a tiger or lotus or swan, but a black goat!

And one of the objects she held was a bottle - unmistakeably, a bottle - and you could argue that you have all sorts of things sold in bottles, but it looked like a daaru (alcohol) bottle to me.

Which makes a lot of sense, I think.

Because this is a predominantly tribal area, and goat-grazing is a very common occupation. Besides, the majority of people here are reputed to have a great fondness for daaru.

I guess, somewhere down the line, the tribal self-image, and the locals' idea of divine benevolence and joy, sneaked into the homogenized pantheon.

Which brings me back to the belief that people make (and arm) the Gods, and not vice versa.


R. said...

I've seen a bit of this in the South too. We also have coconuts cracked on foreheads, spears pierced through the tongue & other parts of the body, alcohol drunk in copious amounts. Its interesting how ancient practices have mingled with modern religion. A lot of these i think are derived from pagan worship, which essentially meant worship of the tools of trade, the harvest and pretty much everything around infact (not too sure if mother in laws were included though, come to think of it im sure pagans had their devils too).

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Where is this place?

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