Such a Long Journey

Vijay Kranti’s exhibition “Buddha’s Homecoming” is a panoramic view of the Tibetan refugee community in India over the years

Written by Parul | Published: April 25, 2013 2:02 am

Vijay Kranti’s exhibition “Buddha’s Homecoming” is a panoramic view of the Tibetan refugee community in India over the years

The images are a tribute to the human spirit,its resilience and the ability to smile against all odds. The absence of a homeland and its repercussions is what media professional,photographer and author Vijay Kranti has captured in his work of 40 years on Tibet. Now,a part of the journey that Kranti has captured on lens is on view in the city as part of a travelling exhibition titled “Buddha’s Homecoming”. The works focus on the Tibetan community in India.

“Their achievements,in light of what they have faced,should be lauded. Despite the political struggles,their energy is focused not only on the freedom movement,but on the progress of their community by reviving art,culture,crafts and education,guided by the Dalai Lama,” says Kranti,who has travelled extensively inside Tibet and also translated an autobiography of the Dalai Lama from English to Hindi.

The exhibition captures the community in India,from Dharamshala to down South,with various images of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan art and culture. Beginning in 1959,when about 80,000 Tibetan refugees followed their deposed monk ruler and spiritual leader to India,to now,when the community is making strides in various spheres,Kranti has captured it all. The exhibition,he says,is a result of an extensive research on the ground realities. It’s also a salute to the magnanimous hosts,the people of India,for providing a friendly and supportive environment to the Tibetans.

The photographer says he began his work in the ’70s,when he interviewed the Dalai Lama and was touched by his grace and vision. “They came here without any assets and language skills,but are now a part of a growing and progressive community,” says Kranti,pointing towards several black-and-white images of the refugees in their early days,as they were trying to make sense of a new environment.

The exhibition is a collection of various series of works,and includes photographs of the young as well the elderly of the refugee community, even children,their arts and crafts,with some striking pictures of the sand mandalas created by them. There are also shots of the artists at work — doing wooden block printing,wood carving,butter sculptures and also varied shots of Tibetan performing arts. Prayer flags in the Himalayas,the monastery life and some rare images of the Dalai Lama also form a part of the line-up.

The exhibition is on at the Museum of Fine Arts,Panjab University,Chandigarh,till April 27

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