Pha(bu)llus: A Cultural History – 2021

Phallic symbolism is one of the oldest and most prevalent motifs in religion, culture and art: the earliest known representations go back to prehistoric times. Starting off as a symbol of fertility, the phallus has gone through numerous interpretations in the way it is perceived, and its symbolic significance varies across cultures as well. In the west, the erotic symbolism of the phallus is often emphasized, whereas in India, the most widely seen representation of the phallus is religious, in the form of the lingam, associated with Shiva. Pha(bu)llus draws on the intricate network of ideas and beliefs regarding the phallus to present a fascinating look at the most obsessed-with body part in human history.

Bihar Museum Biennale 2021:Connecting People, Connecting Cultures

Why a Museum Biennale in Bihar

A confluence of royalty, culture and learning, the vision for the Bihar Museum is to be a world-class showcase for the history and heritage of the lands now known as Bihar. Its mission is to celebrate this ancient past and to inculcate a sense of pride in the residents of one of India’s most significant states. Against such a rich and diverse landscape, it is a natural step forward to create yet another historical first-a museum biennale that valorises museum collections and what they present to the world. A book on the the path breaking initiative by Bihar Museum which will lead the dialogue on the museums of today, moving beyond their roles as repositories of knowledge and knowledge-creation, as they engage, spark inquiry, exploration and creativity. The Bihar Museum Biennale 2021 becomes even more emblematic as a result of the challenges of the life-altering pandemic.

Shakti: 51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess – 2020

This book is devoted to the understanding of the omnipresent and all-powerful Shakti and her sacred abodes known as Peethas. The story of Devi Sati and Lord Shiva ended tragically with the death of Sati. An angry and inconsolable Shiva took Sati’s lifeless body and started the ‘Rudra Tandava’ or the dance of destruction. To save the world, Lord Vishnu used his ‘sudarshan chakra’ to cut the body of Sati into 51 pieces and each part fell at different places on Earth and each become a revered Shakti Peetha. Renowned writer and historian Dr Alka Pande narrates that while the Shakti Peethas represent a single philosophical fold, they are a testament to the diverse legends of Shakti. Different peethas which became holy at the touch of Sati’s body have survived hundreds of centuries and have kept alive their local folklore of Shakti. Together they evoke the Mother Goddess as both the nourishing and the destructive force behind the existence of the cosmos. The 51 Peethas featured in the book can never be an absolute representation of the Peethas of the Goddess, since the Devi is anywhere and everywhere.

Celebrating Bihar Museum Collections 2019

Celebrating Museum Collections is a unique publication of the proceedings of the one-day seminar held at the Bihar Museum, Patna,on June 27, 2019.26 museum professionals attended the seminar and the publication includes the reflections and responses of the 26 resource people to the Bihar Museum. Designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Fumihiko Maki, the Bihar Museum is recognised as one of the most important contemporary museums in the country.

Jal Jungle Jameen: The Living Traditions of Chhattisgarh 2019

Jal Jungle Jameen: The Living Traditions of Chhattisgarh is not just a visual diary about the arts and aesthetics of Chhattisgarh. Through the reading of the cultural artefacts, it dips its feet into the insights of the Indic wisdom and knowledge systems, which emanate from the understanding and awareness of the interiority of people living in the bowels of the earth, namely the ethnic communities of the State. This book opens a window to the thoughtful, sustainable and organic lifestyle that shapes the unbroken traditions of the intangible wealth not only of the forest but of the country itself. From medicine to food, from ancestor worship to celebrating the everyday joys of living in the dense forests, this comprehensive reading of the life, times and rituals opens a window to the inner world of the forest dwellers.

Flower Shower Book – The Culture of Flowers in India- 2019

Flowers are part and parcel of our lives, from birth to death, as offerings, as blessings, as adornment, as medicine, as food and also as a sign of love and sharing. Over the years, with the critical readings of fragrances, we see how aromas can evoke memory, how they are responded to by different genders and how floral perfumes also become mediators of desire and pleasure. And it is through an exploration of the floral essence that new perceptions and interpretations of flowers can be read in the book. 

Body Sutra – 2019

Body Sutra celebrates the body by capturing both its beauty and divinity in an artistic-cum-historical journey. The book is inarguably the definitive and a truly authoritative work on the literary and artistic representation of the body, and combines rare Indian literature with the most stunning visual documentation of the body ever. It traces the shifting patterns of the representations of the body through 5,000 years of history, from the ancient to the contemporary.

Raja Ravi Varma – 2018

Discover the lives of ground-breaking Indian artists, from their childhoods, full of dreams, realised through passion, perseverance and personality. Inspired by the life of Raja Ravi Verma, born in 1913 in India to a princely family, this book tells the story of this journey and experiences as an artist. His paintings, steeped in Indian culture and iconography, gave the gods a face.

Amrita Shergil : The Immortal Girl – 2017

Discover the lives of ground-breaking Indian artists, from their childhoods, full of dreams, realised through passion, perseverance, and personality. Inspired by the life of Amrita Shergil, born in 1913 in India to Indo-Hungarian parents, this book tells the story of her journey and experiences as an artist. Her beauty, free-spiritedness, and courage won her many friends wherever she went, and her spirit is immortalised in her paintings, richly enjoyed by audiences even today.

Panchtattvas: The Road Ahead. Edited by Dr Alka Pande Niyogi Books, New Delhi – 2017

The book serves as a living document to the month-long photography exhibition Photosphere 2016. Sustainable development has its own constituency of thought in the Indian subcontinent. Since striving towards solutions was also key, five distinct and distinguished experts— Dr Ajay Mathur, Amba Jamir, Madhav Gadgil, Mike Pandey, Sunita Narain—from across the sphere of sustainable development have contributed their writing to the book.