The agony of Yama's sister

Nov 03, 2011, 09:28 IST | Rocky Thongam

River Yamuna is fed up with human apathy. In these 'media -savvy times' the tormented river teams up with her counterpart Elbe in Germany to lodge her protest with the citizens of the Capital

Yami or Yamuna, sister of Yama, the God of death, has been dying for long excruciatingly. The river takes care of 70% of Delhi's water demands and keeps alive around 57 million people who depend on her for various reasons. Not to mention the millions whose souls it frees from the torments of death on its banks. In return the city dumps almost 58% of its waste into the highly venerated river.

Atul Bhalla's work

Now the river is lodging a protest against the citizens of Delhi through the Yamuna -- Elbe: Public.Art.Outreach project. The main focus of the event is artworks of Indian as well as German artists along the river which will try to evoke awareness among Delhiites about the project. Starting on November 9, the project will also include several corresponding events like film screenings, river walks, interstate debate competitions and organic food stalls. Two evening concerts are also on the cards which will feature names like Suchet Malhotra and Vidya Shah. 

The project is a collaboration between the Government of Delhi and the city of Hamburg along with Goethe-Institut, New Delhi as a part of Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities. The art project is co-curated by artist Ravi Agarwal and Till Krause, a land artist from Hamburg. "Art is the framework which allows diverse ideas and imaginations to co-exist and helps in repositioning ourselves in relation to nature. The river is not only 'polluted' or 'clean', but is a beautiful landscape of the city, with many layers of aesthetic, social and political meanings," says Agarwal talking about the project.

Some of the artists involved in the project are Asim Waqif, Atul Bhalla, Gigi Scaria and Sheba Chhachhi. While installation artist Sheba's work will involve the audience crossing the river on boats and video shows which show the future of the river, Waqif's work titled Jumna's Satyagraha is about the river goddess launching a glitzy new-age campaign through a floating light-intallation made of submerged metal ropes with PET bottles, which will try and evoke attention in these 'media savvy times'. For long the malba, the chemicals, plastic and faeces and the polythene bags which contain flower offerings has saddened her. Bathing in its sacred waters frees one from the ordeal of death. Pity we cringe in repulsion when we think of her sufferings but do nothing. Who will provide her, her moksha?

On: November 9 to 23
At: Golden Jubilee Park, Old Yamuna Bridge
For details, Call: 8130586291, 8130586295

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