Jhulelal (Calendar Illustration)
Client: Hindus for Human Rights
I was asked by HfHR, a US-based NPO to create an illustration for their progressive hindus calendar for 2024. The showcases art pieces inspired by multi-religious festivals, rituals, stories, and sacred sites from across South Asia and the global South Asian diaspora. The purpose is two-fold; to celebrate the living traditions that still draw adherents from diverse faiths, but also to highlight the many rituals that have been stopped due to pressure from religious fundamentalists. In a way, this theme is about preserving these memories of shared coexistence, in the hope that current and future generations will take inspiration from them.
For many Sindhi Hindus, Jhulelal is known as a manifestation of Varuna
Sindhi Muslims revere the shrine as the tomb of Sheikh Tahir
Over the course of decades, Jhulelal has become the representative diety of Sindhis
Being of Sindhi heritage, I've chosen to highlight the Cheti Chand festival, a relatively obscure celebration cherished by Sindhi Hindus worldwide. It is along the banks of the Sindhu River that wise sages have dedicated countless hours to pondering the mysteries of life and the cosmos. As per Zahida Rahman, a researcher, those who adhere to the Indus River cult are known as Daryapanthis, with their primary center located in Uderolal city, approximately 30 kilometers from Hyderabad. Devotees have personified their beliefs: Muslims refer to him as Khawaja Khizar, Zinda Pir, and Sheikh Tahir, while Hindus invoke him with names like Uderolal, Amar Lal, Uday Chand, and Jhulay Lal.
The concept behind this illustration was to depict the distinctive religious synergy of Sindh by visually portraying various avatars of Jhulelal, revered by both Muslims and Hindus. The background pays homage to Jhulelal Teerath Aasthan, while the illustration, with a touch of whimsy, showcases the iconic image of Jhulelal riding a palla fish to cross the Sindhu River.