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Sunil Janah Exhibition of Historical Photographs of India San Francisco, USA 2000 Sep 15 - Oct 15

Tentative List of Photographs

-- as of  2000 Aug 11

This was a tentative list, as of 2000 Aug 11.  For the actual exhibition that followed, in San Francisco, between Sep 15 and Oct 15, Mr. Janah made some changes in selection and grouping.  The virtual exhibition reflects these changes, and so may differ, in places, from this list.


  1. FAMINE, 1943-45
    1. Bengal and Orissa (Eastern India), 1943-44
    2. Andhra and Karnataka (South India), 1945
    1. Political Leaders
    2. Quit India Movement, Protests and Struggle, 1942-1946
    3. Partition and the Great Calcutta Killing, 1946-47
    1. National Leaders, 1950's-1970's
    2. Arts and Sciences
    3. Industries old and new
    1. Dance
    2. Temple Sculpture
    1. People in Cities and Villages
    2. Tribal People

A) Famine, 1943 - 45

A1) Bengal and Orissa (Eastern India), 1943-44

  1. An old woman in a village in Midnapore district, Bengal
  2. Mother and child on a pavement in Calcutta.
  3. A Muslim peasant family leaving their village.
  4. Queues of women at a ration shop distributing grains, Calcutta
  5. Dog eating a corpse - Orissa, 1944
  6. A field strewn with skeletons of the dead dumped in a field in Orissa. No resources were available to cremate the bodies.
  7. People, finding the relief centre closed for the day, bang on the closed doors.
  8. Orphans waiting for their meal at a relief centre in Orissa.

A2) Andhra and Karnataka (South India), 1945

  1. Groups of men leaving their villages for the relief centres in the district town. Andhra, 1945
  2. The women follow.
  3. A famished mother in tears in a crowd waiting for food.
  4. Woman with her grandchild in front of an empty cooking pot.
  5. Steps leading to a deep well in Rayalseema, Andhra - a permanent drought area.
  6. A woman by the roadside at a relief centre.
  7. Margaret Bourke White, Life-Time photographer, in a field in Andhra.

B) History in the making, 1939-47

B1) Political Leaders

  1. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Panchgani, a hill resort in the Western Ghats, where he was taken for resting after being released from prison for the last time.
  2. Gandhi at Panchgani.
  3. Gandhi at Panchgani.
  4. Jawaharlal Nehru in his family home, Anand Bhawan. Allahabad, 1939
  5. Subhas Bose at Haripura Congress, where he was elected as president of the Congress -1939. Vallabh-Bhai Patel, who opposed his election, is in the background.
  6. Mohammed Ali Jinnah at a Muslim League conference in Bombay
  7. Jawaharlal Nehru speaking in Calcutta.
  8. Abdul Gaffar Khan - the "Frontier Gandhi" from the North West Frontier Province on the Afghan border.
  9. Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir, Abdul Gaffar Khan of NWFP, and the Sher-i-Baluchistan (Tiger of Baluchistan) at the head of a procession during the Kashmir National Conference in 1945.
  10. Gandhi with Sarojini Naidu in Bombay, 1945.
  11. Kalpana Dutt- served a life sentence for participating in the Chittagong Armoury Raid.
  12. P.C.Joshi Secretary, Communist Party of India till 1946.

B2) Quit India Movement, Protests and Struggle 1942-1946

  1. Police van set on fire by protesting crowds at a street corner in Calcutta.
  2. The R.I.N. (Royal Indian Navy) Mutiny- victims of police firing on demonstrators on the streets of Bombay.
  3. All India Peasant Conference in Bezwada (Vijawada). Andhra Pradesh, South India.1944
  4. Procession of farmers during the Punjab National Kishan Conference 1945.
  5. 'Tonk' movement by the Hajang tribals in N.E.India - a protest against the structure of the prevalent system of taxing.
  6. Village school-teacher being arrested for anti-government speeches.
  7. Political meeting at the Calcutta Maidans, where police take down notes of the speeches made by the different speakers.
  8. Gandhi travelling by his usual mode of transport - in a third class compartment of the Indian Railways - to attend the Simla Conference in 1946.
  9. Leaders of the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress on the lawns of the viceregal house at Simla, in the Himalayan foothills, in 1946.
  10. Lord Wavell, then Governor general of India, talking with Rajagopalacharya.
  11. Gandhi and Jinnah in front of Jinnah's house in Bombay, during their historic talks.
  12. Election Meeting in Andhra, South India.
  13. People in Bombay queue to cast their vote for the General elections held in 1946.

B3) Partition and the Great Calcutta Killing 1946-47

  1. Villagers fleeing in boats under cover of darkness during communal riots in the eastern districts of the then undivided Bengal.
  2. Refugee children asleep on a railway platform, waiting for relief trains to carry them to safety.
  3. A refugee woman with her children - one family among the thousands, fleeing from the riot-stricken eastern part of the province, who had to make their homes on the platforms of the big railway terminuses of Calcutta, where they remained for the next twenty years or more.
  4. Makeshift camps for refugees at the border at Nadia district.
  5. Gandhi quieting the crowds at a prayer meeting for communal peace and harmony in Calcutta, on his way to Noakhali, where the riots were among the worst.
  6. People respond to Gandhi's appeal by taking out peace processions throughout the city.
  7. In a moment of optimism, Hindus and Muslims attempt to promote communal harmony by jointly flying the flags of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, from trucks patrolling the city. These flags later became the national flags of India and Pakistan.
  8. People of different religious communities queuing for the weekly rations at a fair price shop in Calcutta.
  9. The same area three days after the Great Calcutta Killing, strewn with bloated bodies of people killed in the riots.
  10. Crowds pour onto the streets of Calcutta as the news of Gandhi's assassination reaches the city.

C) Independence and After

C1) National Leaders, 1950's-1970's

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime minister of India. 1959
  2. Sarojini Naidu, poetess and Congress leader.
  3. Vijaylakshmi Pandit, Congress leader and sister of Jawaharlal Nehru.
  4. Rajagopalacharya, Congress leader and later Governor General of India.
  5. Jayaprakash Narayan - leader, Congress Socialist party.
  6. Dr. Ram Monahar Lohia -leader, Congress Socialist Party.
  7. Krishna Menon, independent India's first Defence Secratary.
  8. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. 1972
  9. Refugees from Bangladesh coming across the border during the Bangladesh war in 1972.
  10. Ditto
  11. Ditto

C2) The Arts and Sciences

  1. Satyajit Ray - film director.
  2. Manik Bandopadhya - Bengali writer and left wing novelist.
  3. Vallathol - poet from Kerala, South India
  4. Dina Pathak, actress.
  5. Kaji Najrul Islam, whose poems and patriotic songs inspired the young generation of Bengalis.
  6. Jean Renoir, film director, talking to actress Suprova Mukherji during the making of his film "The River" at a location in Calcutta with local collaboration..
  7. Bade Golam Ali Khan, Indian Classical singer.
  8. Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Urdu poet - whose verses are loved in both India and Pakistan
  9. J.K. Krishnamurty- philosopher and author.
  10. Satyen Bose - physicist. His work on the statistical dynamics of a gas of free photons (light-particles), sent by him to Einstein, led to "Bose-Einstein Statistics" and the division of the universe of elementary particles into "fermions" and "bosons".

C3) Industries old and new

  1. Tea pickers, on their way to work in the tea plantations in the Darjeeling hills, below the Eastern Himalayas.
  2. Tea plantation workers going home at the end of the day in the Dooars - at the foot of the Darjeeling hills.
  3. A water tank gets hoisted into place at Burn & Co's steel works, near Calcutta..
  4. Steel melting shop at the Tata Steel Works, Jamshedpur, Bihar, Eastern India.
  5. Train dumping slag outside the steel plants of Tata Iron and Steel Company.
  6. Women workers carrying materials in baskets during the construction of the Bokharo Thermal Plant, part of the Damodar Valley project.
  7. Santal women working at a constuction site.
  8. Coal miners in an underground pit-Bihar, 1952.
  9. Santhal tribal girl working in a coal-mine.
  10. Hindustan Steel Plant - Rourkela, Orissa Bihar.
  11. Indian Aluminium plant -Bihar.
  12. Locomotive engines get built at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works

D) Dance and Temple Sculpture

D1) Dance

  1. Shanta Rao, performing Bharata Natyam, a classical dance from South India.
  2. Ditto
  3. Shanta Rao, Kathakali dance from Kerala, South India.
  4. Shanta Rao.
  5. Indrani Rahman, Bharata Natyam.
  6. Ditto
  7. Ditto
  8. Indrani Rahman.
  9. Rita Devi, Manipuri dance from Eastern India.
  10. Ditto
  11. Bharat Natyam by a guru from Kerala.
  12. Bala Saraswati in New Delhi1957, at her first public performance after a long period of retirement.
  13. Asoka and Sujata, presenting their version of the Indian Classical dances on stage in Calcutta.

D2) Temple Sculpture

  1. Devnati (Celestial Dancer), Lingaraj temple, Orissa, South-Eastern India.
  2. Devnati.
  3. Detail of sculpture from Konarak temple, Orissa.
  4. Ditto
  5. Ditto
  6. Ditto
  7. From Arjuna's Penance, the world's largest monolithic sculpture, in Mahabalipuram, Tamilnad, South India..
  8. Carved Brick Temple, Bishnupur-West Bengal.
  9. Detail
  10. Panels of sculpture on a wall in Khajuraho temple, North India
  11. Details of erotic sculpture.
  12. A girl holding a parrot, sculpture from a South Indian temple.
  13. Details from a wall in Kanchipuram temple, South India
  14. Udaipur city from the city palace.
  15. Ellora Caves, Western India.

E) The Land and the People

E1) People in cities and villages

  1. Howrah Bridge, spanning the river Ganges at Calcutta. This bridge connects the city and port of Calcutta with the industrial plants and factories of Howrah. Goods are carried by rail, steamer and barges, some of which are here being loaded by a long line of porters.
  2. Painting the side of a ship, Calcutta riverfront
  3. Boatmen on the river.
  4. The skyline of Calcutta in early morning mist, with a country boat on the river in the foreground.
  5. Hilsa (Indian Shad) fishing boats on the Ganges.
  6. Country boats and buoys on the Ganges river.
  7. Children play in a flooded Calcutta street after a heavy Monsoon downpour.
  8. Basket sellers in Park Street, Calcutta.
  9. Girl under an oleander tree.
  10. Connaught Circus in New Delhi,1972.
  11. Textile workers from Rajasthan, in the slums of Delhi, in 1938
  12. A lane in Benares, the holy city in North India
  13. Workers' tenements, Bombay, Western India
  14. Rajasthani shopkeeper doing his accounts, Udaipur.
  15. Fisherwomen in a village,Gujerat.
  16. Gujjar girl in a field - Lolab valley, Kashmir, Western Himalayas
  17. Priests in Ladakh, on the Tibetan Border, in Kashmir.
  18. Mahasu girl being adorned with a tilak- Uttar Pradesh Hills (now Himachal), Central Himalayas.
  19. Gypsy women with water pots, North India.
  20. Grinding corn in a village in Punjab, North India
  21. Women chat with neighbours, sitting by their backdoors - Punjab.
  22. A group of Sikimese girls, Sikkim.
  23. Girl in a vegetable stall in a market in Darjeeling, in the Eastern Himalayas
  24. Peasant girl reaping in a field in Uttar Pradesh, North India
  25. Hindu and Muslim farmers relax after the day's work, Bihar.
  26. A mud-splattered son adds his weight to his father's plough, Bihar.
  27. Fishing from an old coconut tree dugout, in a village in Bengal.
  28. Fishermen with traps, in the early morning light - Bengal
  29. Mending a fishing net - Bengal.
  30. Two girls against their mud-hut wall, in a village in East Bengal.
  31. Treshing paddy in a village - Malabar coast, Kerala
  32. Young girl picking shells on the sea shore for local lime factory-Malabar coast, Kerala.
  33. Midday break in a farm-Malabar Coast -Kerala
  34. Girl in Malabar village-Kerala

E2) Tribal people

  1. Garos fishing in a mountain stream - Garo hills, Meghalaya (North-Eastern India).
  2. Elderly Garo woman, in Shillong Bazar, Meghalaya.
  3. Group of Kachari women fishing -Assam, North-Eastern India
  4. Mishmi boy from Nizamghat-Arunachal (Tibetan border, North-Eastern India)
  5. Miju Mishmi girls from Arunachal.
  6. Miju Mishmis carrying water in bamboo poles.
  7. Mikir couple-Assam
  8. Zumi Naga Boy-Nagaland, Myanmar (Burma) border, North-Eastern India
  9. Ao Naga schoolgirls -Nagaland.
  10. Girl on a waist loom-Nagaland.
  11. Dafla chieftan and his wife with their heirlooms of ancient Tibetan bells -Arunachal.
  12. Abor young man from Arunachal.
  13. Garo home on stilts.
  14. Chakma women making home brewed rice beer - Tripura, Eastern India
  15. Chulikata Mishmi family ginning cotton for their colourful textiles.
  16. Ho children playing against an outer-wall mural by a Ho painter - Jamshedpur, Bihar.
  17. Rajasthani gipsy family on the move.
  18. A Persian wheel in the Bhil country - Rajasthan, North India
  19. Bhil father and son in a grain market in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
  20. Bhil sisters greeting each other.
  21. Toda old men. Nilgiri hills, South India.
  22. Muria "motiari"(young woman) - head girl in a ghotul, Bastar, Madhya Pradesh, Central India.
  23. Muria girls and boys in a courtyard inside the ghotul.
  24. Muria "cheliks" (young men).
  25. Muria girl.
  26. Muria boy against wall with mud sculptures of animals.
  27. Young Muria girls dancing.
  28. The young boys play games - 'Bander Nach' (Monkey Dance) inside the ghotul.
  29. Muria cheliks beat on their pitorkas to call their friends to the dance.
  30. Hill Maria mother with her two boys, Bastar.
  31. Gadava Dance- Orissa, South-Eastern India
  32. Gadava mother working on a loom.
  33. Gadava young woman in all her finery.
  34. Saora young girl - Orissa.
  35. Saora girl fetching water.
  36. A Santal dance, Bengal-Bihar border, Eastern India
  37. Santal girl carrying firewood.
  38. Santal boy and girl.
  39. Tribal workers dancing during festivities in a tea plantation in the Doars, Eastern India.

Total no. of pictures = 184

This was a tentative list, as of 2000 Aug 18. In the actual exhibition that followed, during Sep 15 - Oct 15 in San Francisco, the subject matter remained essentially the same, but the section groupings and their headings were changed slightly by Mr. Janah. The virtual exhibition reflects these changes, and so may differ in places from this list.

Sunil Janah's Home Page PHOTOGRAPHS Page Virtual Exhibition, SF 2000 Exhibition, SF 2000
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Print selection by Sunil and Sobha Janah, 2000
List arrangement by Monua Janah, 2000
Web page by Arjun Janah, 2005