Another Ongoing Idea
Ashim Ghosh on the Right to Education

audio by Ashim

Many-many years ago, the folks behind The IDEA were privileged to organize and participate in an event that still stands as perhaps the largest seminar on photography to ever be held in Delhi. This was "In Search of the Avant Garde" (1992 @ India International Centre, Auditorium & Conference Room) ~ an interactive jamboree structured around projected presentations by about a dozen photographers, two top AV units, one of India's largest photo-banks of the time, and India's largest membership organization dedicated to photography.

In the course of the two-day blast, one serious finger that was raised against photography in general was that a burgeoning population of ravenous and indiscriminate photographers was parasitically seizing and producing millions of images everywhere around us without ever even beginning to understand the least little bit of what such images did do, could do, and should do.

Accordingly, we immediately proposed an experiment to attempt to put together a book of images that would consciously and collectively seek to impact current attitudes and trends with regard to the concept of universal schooling for children across India. Three photographers took this up (Ashim Ghosh, Ravi Pasricha & Shankar Barua), and the very excellent Mohit Satyanand came in to attempt financing the project.

In the end, the original project itself never materialized but several rapid spin-offs did emerge in the form of (e.g.) images for a literacy campaign in the newspapers (Ravi's ), and posters produced by the pharmaceutical giant Cipla, associating the theme with 50 years of Indian independence (Ashim's and Shankar's images).

But the project also never really died in the minds and work of the four individuals who'd first thought to crystallize this concern at that seminar.

We're therefore delighted to carry this digitally updated address of the issue with images from Ashim Ghosh. His brief statement is unedited.

"Shankar Barua has initiated and followed through to the end, several inimitable projects spanning diverse media. I have been honoured with invitations to participate in several of them. My contribution to this volume of IDEA, stems from a project on the Right to Education, initiated and titled by Shankar ~ Schoolhours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years, (What was the title again??)

"My updated collection of images ~ Shabdkoshish ~ start with a primary visual base of B&W images I shot one weekday, between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm ~ i.e. the time for most children to be in school.

Lack of schooling and education in India has made the empowerment of many, inaccessible. Debates and interaction on various sociological issues ranging from governance, politics and religion to media and technology are limited to an alarmingly small percent of our peoples. The direct impact of education on empowerment of peoples in India has always shown through, whenever the written word transmutates itself from unintelligible hieroglyphics to a language with readable words and interpretable meaning."

~ Ashim Ghosh, July 17, 2001

to view a video of Ashim's last multiple-media exhibition, click here, and close the new window this will open in to return

Ashim Ghosh
C-6/6046 Vasant Kunj
New Delhi - 110 070

tel: (91-11) 689 9628, 616 3471