“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Rajib Singha
The Gajan festival is associated with Hindu deities like, Shiva, Nil and Dharmathakur and begins during Chaitra Sankranti when the Sun enters the Pisces sign in the Bengali month of Chaitra, continuing till the end of the Bengali year and culminating with Charak Puja. The word Gajan in Bengali comes from the word garjan, meaning ‘roar’ and signifies the noises that Bhaktas emit during the festivity.The Gajan festival is primarily linked with the agricultural community, directly or indirectly praying for rain and a better harvest. People believe that the festival will usher in prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. Although it is a predominantly a folk festival celebrated throughout rural Bengal, it is also celebrated in some areas of the city of Kolkata.During Gajan, devotees dress up as dieties such as Shiva, Parvati, Krishna and Kali. I spent a day with the Gajan artists at Krishnadevpur, West Bengal and chronicled their activities and performances.