Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Renunciation | Pooja Jain | Galli Magazine

Photo © Pooja Jain-All Rights Reserved- Courtesy Galli Magazine
A few days ago, I viewed Renunciation, a photo essay on the life of Jain nuns by Pooja Jain, a photographer based in Mumbai. It was particularly interesting to me, not only on account of Pooja's intimate photographs but because of the accompanying details that explain the hardship and devotion that's adopted by these Jain nuns.

I photographed Jain rituals at the main Palitana temples on Mount Shatrunjaya (Gujarat) which are considered the most sacred pilgrimage sites by the Jain community, and are the world's largest temple complex. There are more than 3000 temples located on its hills, all exquisitely carved in marble. I walked up and down its steps...approximately two hours to make the 2.2 miles climb, and 3800 steps to the top of Mount Satrunjaya...along with groups of Jain nun and devotees.

But back to Jain's photo essay: she tells us that she was influenced by Dalrymple's Nine Lives and who amongst us photographers hasn't? She introduces us to the hardships chosen by Jain nuns and its incredibly difficult life style, observing abstinence from various worldly basics, all in the name of adhering to a harsh asceticism. 

I was surprised to read that some Jain nuns don't use water to bathe as it should be conserved. They don't bathe all through their lives, and yet those I've come across were spotless and resplendent in their cleanliness.

Pooja Jain is a young photographer based in Mumbai. She studied at Sir JJ School of Arts, and was selected for the Young Asian Photographers Workshops at the 7th Angkor Photography Festival. She exhibited work at the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, at the Delhi Photo Festival (2013) and won the 2014 Toto award for Young Photographers.

Although Pooja has no website I could find, I viewed her work through the excellent Galli Magazine.