Is that even possible?
However, no matter how much of an oxymoron that may sound, I have to say that I was first-hand witness to this “phenomenon”.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, north India, where the shot above was taken is a place of contradictions. The holiest of shrines for all Sikhs, the 300+ year old site is located in one of the more crowded cities in India (and for those, who haven’t been to India you have no idea what I’m talking ’bout – take downtown Manhattan and multiply it a few items, and then add in generous portions of chaos and *maybe* it will come close).
But once you walk into the Golden Temple complex, everything changes. Yes, there are still plenty of people around, as you can see. But there is an uncanny presence of peace everywhere. Men and women from all walks of life and all religions come and worship together, creating an underlying feeling of brotherhood that is hard to describe. It is perhaps this sense of community and coexistence that lends to this atmosphere. Who knows?
Whatever it is, it was perhaps because of the many such contradictions that exist in Indian society today that this image was the fitting cover image for Nobel Laureate V.S.Naipaul’s New York Times bestselling book simply titled – “India”. I have not read the book yet, but would like to someday.
Ashok Sinha is a photographer and Meeting of the Art Waters Co-Producer. ashoksinha.com