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Sunil Janah's Home Page - Photographs of India

Boatmen on the Ganga (Ganges)

Preface

Welcome to Sunil Janah's Home Page. Mr. Janah has been physically unable to review all the material at this website, but supports it in spirit. This site is still evolving. We hope that you will find something of use here. Your comments and questions are welcome. With your help, we hope to make this a useful resource.

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The photographer, Sunil Janah, has the copyrights for the images on this website. Please respect the need for copyright, and obey copyright laws.

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<H3 ALIGN="center"> Contents </H3> <UL> <LI> <A HREF="#top">Preface</A> <LI> <A HREF="#intro">Introduction</A> <LI> <A HREF="review/index.htm">Reviews</A> <li> <a href="#exhibitions">Exhibitions, incl. online</a> <LI> <a href="#publications">Publications</a> <LI> <a href="#video-slide">Slideshow &amp; Video</a> <LI> <a href="#photographs">Photographs</a> <LI> <A HREF="personal.htm">The Eye</a> <LI> <a href="#email">Contact <LI> <a href="credit.htm">Credits</a> <LI> <a href="hist-biog.htm">Historical &amp Biographical</a> </UL> <HR>

Introduction

(  to his photography:   for captions, slide mouse pointer into image area )

Famine in Andhra (South India), 1945 Starting in the forties, when India was in the throes of famine and mass struggles against British colonial rule, an Indian photographer, Sunil Janah, began producing some striking pictures, that touched many Indians' lives. Through the drama of the peasant and labor movements, the horrors of partition, and the years of rapid industrialization and urbanization that followed India's independence, Sunil Janah continued to photograph India and her people, traveling all over the subcontinent.

Devnati (Celestial Dancer) These photographs, the work of a gifted craftsman, can be enjoyed, by all, for their strong visual impact, and appreciated, by photographers and others, for their composition and technical quality. They were taken, mostly, in natural lighting, often under difficult physical conditions.

While many of his photographs reflect aspects of India that seem timeless, Janah also captured India in transition. He recorded many tumultuous and critical events that changed history, as well as ways of life that have, unfortunately, become history.

For all these reasons, these images should be of interest not only to those interested in photography, but also to students and scholars of Indian history, politics, arts, anthropology and archaeology. His pictures of famines, of the independence movement, of partition, of remote tribal peoples, of dance, and of temple sculpture, constitute a powerful educational resource.

Muria tribal girl:  the belusha 
(headgirl) of Markavera ghotul. 
Dance drums in background.
Bastar, Chhattisgarh,
Central India, 1950's.

These, however, are but the backdrop for Sunil Janah's main focus, which, has remained, steadfastly, on the ordinary people of India - on her factory workers, miners, artisans, and peasants - on her city dwellers, villagers and tribal folk. His skills as a photographer bring the warmth and personalities of these individual human beings to life, as it were. It is worth noting that he was one of the first photojournalists to turn his camera from the rich and famous of India towards the common people, and to portray them, with affection and respect, as individuals.

In the course of his work, Janah did, of course, repeatedly encounter the movers and shakers of his place and era. Thus, his photographs of the salt of India's earth are complemented by portraits of luminaries. These range from men and women of politics like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Subhas Bose, P.C. Joshi, and Indira Gandhi, to a galaxy of personalities from the literary and artistic fields, to the physicist Satyen Bose (of Bose-Einstein statistics), the sage Jiddu Krishnamurti, and India's "great soul", Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

[ Text continues below photograph of Gandhi at a prayer meeting, 1946. ]

Mahatma Gandhi at a prayer meeting,
Birla House, Bombay, 1946

[ To see captions for images, slide mouse pointer into image areas. ]

For those who have experienced the sights of India, these photographs will have emotional appeal. Given their geographical and temporal range, they will reveal aspects of India that may be unfamiliar even to many Indians. For those who have never been to India, these photographs will open a window to another, parallel, human universe, seen through a practiced native eye.

  - Arjun Janah, 1998


We thank all of you who came and saw Sunil Janah's photographs at the recent exhibitions in New York City (1998) and San Francisco (2000). Please see the exhibitions links for more on these.

Contacts

If you have questions, suggestions or criticisms, please e-mail: SJanah@aol.com

Credits


   17,168 visits (on members.aol.com) from 1998.08.22 to approx. 2004
   Counter visits (on suniljanah.org) since 2012.06.23
   Stats Counter
 

--   website, page design, coding, & text:     © Arjun Janah 1998-2000   <HR> Back up this page (Sunil Janah's Home Page) to the: <b> &nbsp; &nbsp; <a href="#top"> Top</a> &nbsp; &nbsp; <a href="#index"> Index</a> &nbsp; &nbsp; <a href="#intro"> Introduction</a> </b>

In Memoriam -- Sunil Janah, 1918-2012

 


Reviews

 


Exhibitions

Recent Exhibitions

Other Exhibitions

  <table border cellpadding="8"> <tr><td>Back up this page (Sunil Janah's Home Page) to the:</td> <th><a href="#top">Top</a></th> <th><a href="#index">Index</a></th> <th><a href="#intro">Introduction</a></th> </tr> </table>


Publications

Recent Publications

  • Shadowing a Philanthropologist [print and web]
    - Sunil Janah's review, in The Times Higher Education Supplement (Aug 20, 1999) of Ramachandra Guha's biography of Verrier Elwin:   Savaging the Civilized: Verrier Elwin, His Tribals and India.
  • Virtual Exhibition (SF 2000) [web]
    - section-texts for the San Francisco exhibition (2000), providing the historical context for each section, along with photographs of panels, with the individual pictures captioned and cataloged.
  • Context to Exhibits (NY 1998) [web]
    - section-texts for the large exhibition in New York (1998), giving the historical context for each section, with a bit more detail than in the SF (2000) exhibition; but panel shots are not yet ready.

Books


<table border cellpadding="8"> <tr><td>Back up this page (Sunil Janah's Home Page) to the:</td> <th><a href="#top">Top</a></th> <th><a href="#index">Index</a></th> <th><a href="#intro">Introduction</a></th> </tr> </table>


Audio and Video Interviews and Slideshows

  <table border cellpadding="8"> <tr><td>Back up this page (Sunil Janah's Home Page) to the:</td> <th><a href="#top">Top</a></th> <th><a href="#index">Index</a></th> <th><a href="#intro">Introduction</a></th> </tr> </table>


Photographs

  <table border cellpadding="8"> <tr><td>Back up this page (Sunil Janah's Home Page) to the:</td> <th><a href="#top">Top</a></th> <th><a href="#index">Index</a></th> <th><a href="#intro">Introduction</a></th> </tr> </table>


Website images:  (c) Sunil Janah, 1939-2004.
Site includes attributed text by:  Sunil & Monua Janah, Ram Rahman, many others.
Copyrights for these texts remain with the authors.
Site design, coding, image editing, unattributed text:  Arjun Janah, 1998-2004.

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