|Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved|
Despite a sleepless night flight from Heathrow to Delhi, I was sufficiently stoked to meet with Dr Kaushik Ghosh who accompanied me for an afternoon/early evening photo shoot at Nizaam Uddin dargah, where I saw a few familiar faces. The mujjawirs/khadims, essentially the caretakers of the shrine, were represented in force, and some of the punkawallahs who fan visiting pilgrims, cooling them in the rather sultry evening.
There was a qawwal performance, and one of two women who entered into trances in front of the saint's shrine. It being a Friday, the dargah was relatively crowded but not as much as I would've expected it to be.
The fakir in the above photograph carried a bunch of padlocks and chains in a can. When asked what they were for, the onlookers told us that they were 'playthings'. In reality, these are rented out to men or women who enter in violent trances, and are used to secure them to poles in order to prevent them from hurting themselves or others.
One or two of the workshop participants have already arrived, and most will be in Delhi by the end of today.
(Posted on Saturday May 4)