We are a patriarchal society that worship goddesses. This is arguably one of the greatest ironies of being Indian. But what are the origins of female idol worship in India? A lecture, titled “The Goddess and the Buffalo: Art, Mythology and Ritual of Goddess Worship in India” by renowned art and culture historian Dr Jyotindra Jain on Saturday at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum will address this question.
Jain, director of the Centre for Indian Visual Culture in Delhi, will put forth a comparative analysis of the goddess myth in the religious texts and the arts.
He will talk about the representation of the goddesses in Sanskrit Devi Mahatmya, the Hindu religious text, with its subsequent visual representation in art. An interesting feature will be the inclusion of one of the most popular motifs in Indian art — the goddess killing the buffalo and Goddess Kali or Durga trampling upon the body of her consort, Shiva. Dr Jain notes that a large number of regional myths that survive in oral traditions and living rituals speak of the buffalo as an object of the goddess’s initial infatuation.
“We’re expecting a packed house. Dr Jain is adept at pushing the boundaries of how different communities interpret culture in the light of their own traditions,” says Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, honorary director, Bhau Daji Lad Museum.
The lecture will be held in the education centre at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla, on April 18 at 6.30 pm