Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gunhegar Baba and Me .. Ismail Shah Baba Urus 2017

I was not aware of the Urus of Ismail Shah Baba Parel I was in a bus going to shoot Lalbaugh Chya Raja I met a Sufi man who thinking I was a Sufi too told me about the Urus was the last day and Sandal of the Holy Saint of Parel.
On my return from Lalbaugh I was barefeet I caught up with the Rafaee s led by my old friend Shahenshah Baba Rafaee the procession starts from the Dargah of the Saint Parel to Dadar Hindmata and back to the Holy Shrine.
I was meeting the Rafaees after the Mahim Urus so they were highly surprised to see me shooting them.. I bought cold drinks for all of them as they were performing Zarb rituals of Sufi body piercings ..they were really very tired and Mumbai is frickin hot and humid .
There was another Malang we had both walked from Delhi to Ajmer he was the guest of the Rafaees he and I bonded because we had both undertaken the Delhi to Ajmer momentous pilgrimage called Chadiyan .
As a photographer documenting grassroot Sufism Chadiyan a mindblowing journey through Gurugram Haryana Rajasthan..
I shot over 10000 images 91 videos ,,,all in 13 days and a few days in Ajmer I had to return to Mumbai because of a serious leg injury and I am diabetic always end up injuring my leg as I mostly walk barefeet.
After the procession returned to Ismail Shah Baba Dargah Parel I met the Khadiims and this is a huge Shrine ..they have an enclosure for the monks malangs rafaes it is called Fakiri Chowk that was presided by a Bawa from Nagpur Dargah.
Also a Khadim from Ajmer Sharif ,,I had a specially brewed sugar less tea and took their leave .
The Dargah of Ismal Shah Baba has a lot of old memories about 20 years back when I began documenting the Chancawalli Rafaes of Mahim Dargah their Murshad late Sikandar Wali Baba had invited me to Parel Dargah after I had shot Makhdhoom Shah Baba and Fakhruddin Shah Baba Urus .
It was Late Sikandar Wali baba who supported and encouraged me as the Rafaees did not want me to shoot them as most of them smoke hash ganja or their private moments ..but despite a few dissenting bawas I was given permission .
It was Sikandar Wali Bawa Rafaee who introduced me to Haji Malang Holy Shrine I shot it for many years it was here I met Guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi we were earlier connected through Bollywood and with her blessings began documenting the Hijras their Relationship to Sufism and Dargahs this is a huge collection that I have disabled from public view ,,,a few videos on You Tube .
It was the Rafaees that introduced me to Ajmer Sharif through Peersab Fakhru Miya and his Maulaiee Son Gaddi Nasheen Syed Farid Chishty Sabri sab. Hujra no 6.
From 2005 I documented the Mafarriya Silsila of Zinda Shah Madar but actually became a part of their Order in 2011 it was more to shoot them and had nothing to do with my spirituality .
I was given the Khilafatnama by Syed Masoom Ali Baba in 2017 with my Murshad Syed Rafiq Ali Baba felicitating me ..for this gift of Humility .
I stopped shooting Haji Malang as it clashed with the Urus of Zinda Shah Madar Makanpur ,..
I will be documenting the Qalandari Silsila as it was their Head Haji Masoom Ali Baba Qalandari Bu Shah Qalandar Panipat who first invited me to walk with them from Panipat to Ajmer Chadiyan but I could not make it to Panipat so my Malang Murshad Syed Rafik Ali Baba asked me to join Mustaqim Baba from Ma Sahiba Mehrauli and I did the Chadiyan journey the first time in my life.
As a photographer my genre is Sufism Hinduism Shiasm ..
Again within Hinduism it is Kumbh Mela Aghoris Naga Sadhus and the Kinnar or Hijra Akhara founded by Guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi at Ujjain 2016 ..I have shot 3 Kumbhs and 1 Maha Kumbh Allahabad.
The Naga Sadhus have a very cordial relationship with the Rafaees and Malangs ..they both are caretakers of the Dhuni.. in their respective orders .
The India I shoot is very different from the India you see or shoot .
and photography has never been my source of income ,, my camera or my photography is not for Sale ..
I shoot with my vision..I am my own master and not yet a slave to my camera or your shortcomings as how you interpret my visuals .
My photography is the books I read my photography is Dickens Balzac Dostoevsky Maupassant
Happy Morning From Bandra ..

I Want to tell a Story ..a 18 Month Child And An Artist Called Ranjit Dahiya

My granddaughter Nerjis was 18 month old when she shot my dear friend Manuela Nessi against an iconic Bollywood Mural of Madhubala Anarkali at Chapel Road Bandra ..I always wondered about the artist but I had no clue I asked a person living across the wall but he was no help either .
When Nerjis was 3 year old she shot Mr Amitabh Bachchan a wall painting at Waroda Road it was done by the same artist Ranjit Dahiya .
Many years later I met Ranjit first time when he was painting the wall with another Bollywood icon Mr Devanand Taxi Driver we became friends and I told Ranjit I had documented his art at Flickr ..I am not an artist but I love shooting wall art ..I shot the wall art from Dadar till Mori Road ..walking barefeet .
This evening I was sitting idle at home I decided to visit Ranjit at his house at Chapel Road and his 2 dozen cats ..
He was making tea for me while I had taken jalebis and hot bhajiyas for him..
I started asking him what gave birth to the artist in him..he used to draw actors on his gate he was 7 at Sonepat Haryana ..his humble beginnings on his dads farm taking care of buffaloes than an uncle taught him to pain white wash walls ..he was not crazy about studies and spoke Haryanvi..smattering of English.. but he was a natural born artist he painted Saraswati at a school and began to get a lot of work..highways mostly ad related .
However someone told him to take up Fine Arts and he decided he would give it a try ..he was selected to NID Ahmedabad he went through the tough interviews and his father took a personal loan so he could study he spent 4 years in Ahmedabad .
He took up a job in Delhi than later came to Mumbai about a few years back to work as a graphic designer but he was not happy he was restless he wanted freedom to paint and be himself.. he did his first wall painting of Amitabh Bachchan Sab at Waroda Road .. that Nerjis shot when she was 3 year old .
He did Amit Ji s iconic Deewar painting off Bandstand next to that of Mr Rajesh Khanna .
When he was doing the huge wall painting of Dada Phalke on the MTNL building another Swiss wall artist Maya was painting a huge mural near my house a building that housed the office of Advocate Ashish Shelar Bandra Reclamation and both my granddaughters Marziya and Nerjis were shooting Maya her husband Thomas was documenting his wifes Art....on camera.
However nothing remains of that Art as it was erased last month but Mayas wall is alive on my Flickr set called Painted Walls .. I shot most of the graffiti artists that visited Bandra .. to add color to our dead walls .
Cut back to Ranji Dahiya .. Ranjit was doing the mural of Mr Dilip Kumar and Sair Bano ji above the Shiv Sena Bandra Hill Road Shakha I shot him and his assistants at work.
Ranjit and I became close friends .Ranjit has painted all my mystical sticks about a dozen of them in vivid colors and so my persona as a Sufi Malang carries a part of his Art or should I say Heart.
Ranjits Bollywoor poster Art is on display in America and France ..
So both Nerjis now 6 and Rajit are cosmically connected through my camera..
Ranjit is a very soft spoken person but as a child he was boisterous always getting into trouble he has come a very long way and has made Mumbai his home ..
He is still trying grab a fistful of Sky..
Har Koir Chahta Hai Muthi Bar Asman..
And Nerjis has come back from the Shia mosque she distributed 80 cakes to the children her gift to them on Eid E Mubhaila ..