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Photo-Essay: Archery and its Aesthetics in Meghalaya

By Anand Sachin

Note on photography: A photograph is a threshold of two worlds, man himself exists in a threshold of inner and outer worlds, of which he needs a balance. As the conscious balances the unconscious, the inner world balances the outer wolrd. A photograph is not an aesthetic end. It’s a starting point of apprecioation, what is really appreciated are memories of those subtle and semi-conscious experiences of  felt fragrances, flavours and warmth, those sounds and silences. The colours take you to the memories of your felt experiences. The photograph is a map, towards within, to the archives of the self.

Photography technique: Aesthetic of raw images, where the glitch itself becomes part of aesthetic. The raw image opposed to the refined high quality images, captures the rawness, the gentle rhythm in the chaos of ordinary life.

Note on archery festival: Archery has been a favourite past-time for the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya. In the past, each village sent its best archers to the neighbouring village for a friendly competition called U Thingiong U Thingsaw. Then there were competitions that were held on festive days, while also in the memory of Meghalaya’s freedom fighters. This is unlike the archery that has today become an Olympic sport; it is more of a tradition in Meghalaya that draws crowds for their dose of legalised betting. Unlike the serene calm that engulfs an archery arena, this one features the hustle and bustle of a marketplace, which even offers the archers a fix of tobacco before they focus on the task at hand.

Archery and dream interpretation: In Shillong, time is set aside to take naps and dream. These dreams are then interpreted and bets are placed on archery. Their dreams, they believe, are a window to their subconscious and they interpret them to place bets later in the day on a game of archery, popularly known as thoh tim or teer among the locals.


magic door /shillong/2016


Bow and bow string


Childhood of an archer


Solitude of an archer


Archer’s dream


Archer meditates


Dream of warrior


Otherworldly warriors


Archer in the crowd

Anand Sachin is a student of philosophy currently pursuing MPhil in Cinema Studies in JNU, New Delhi. His areas of interst include philosophy of shamanism, roots of tribal cultural philosophy. Heartfelt traveller, he finds inspiration in far away places from home, yet holds a passionate nostalgia for Home.


For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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