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Postcards from the past

Documentary filmmaker Tarun Bhartiya will hold a unique exhibition of his photographs which will focus on the unaddressed postcards from Khasi-Jaintia Hills.
The exhibition at the Welsh International Festival of Photography, scheduled from October 1 to 31, will have 100 picture postcards reflecting on faith, colonialism and history.
The untold stories, the forgotten facts, the history of the hynniewtrep (seven huts) and its indigenous beliefs will be part of the exhibition.
Khasis believe that they originated from the seven families who remained on earth when the tree connecting heaven and earth was cut down. The tribe had its own Niam, or faith, rooted in their land, clan and family.
The exhibition will have historical anecdotes from the Welsh missionaries. On June 22, 1841, a Welsh miller’s son arrived in Cherrapunjee. He wrote home, “When you receive this you can venture to tell all our friends at home that we have arrived safely at Cherrapoonjee… My address will be Revd T.J. Missionary, Cherrapoonjee, Cassia Hills, Bengal’.”
Thomas Jones would manage to baptize nobody. And translate only a part of the Gospel. It is believed that he taught the locals how to brew alcohol, use a saw, purify lime. And then got involved in defending the Khasis from exploitation by the British East India company. Under pressure, Mission headquarters threw him out of the church and cancelled his missionary license. Attacked and chased by company soldiers out of the Khasi-Jaintia hills, Jones died a lonely death in erstwhile Calcutta.
All these will be part of the exhibition in Cardiff, Wales. Bhartiya’s photographs will also be exhibited at the Chennai Photo Biennial 2021, the dates for which are yet to be announced.

~ Team Sunday Monitor

(Photo by Tarun Bhartiya)

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