Friday, May 10, 2013

To Benares

“Get out of your head and live in your heart"

is what I did this week when I painted a tribute to the brave ladies of Benares.

I love painting faces…and I gave in to my love this week.

Reading about the widows of Benares led me to reflect
on the plight of these ladies.  

These women, when widowed, became burdens
 on their families and the holy city of Benares is where they went.

Ostracized from society, prevented from wearing colorful clothes or jewelry,
not allowed to participate in any auspicious functions,
their mere shadow considered an ill omen, and,  
condemned to live their lightless lives in bleak ashrams in Benares, these women live
and die unwanted. 

Although the situation has improved a lot, there are still thousands of such
abandoned women, living by earning a paltry sum, singing bhajans for
hours every day. Very often they are left to beg on streets.


Deepa Mehta’s film “Water”, set in 1930’s, brings out the plight of these brave

This song, “Naina neer baha” from "Water" quite poignantly evokes the lives of these women.  'Naina' means eyes...eyes that shed tears...

Looking out of my painting are eyes that mirror the pain…blue veil, not the customary
white that widows are made to wear, evokes Ganges, the
holy river, flowing by unperturbed.

Silent, shadowy existence...

(A note about my painting, it is on up-cycled paper which was originally packing for a new shirt.)
A big "Thank You"  to Patricia from Magenta Matters who felt my blog was good enough to be on her list...I am so happy to be appreciated!

Photos by my son.

Linking up with PPF


  1. Wonderful work, I love the layers of colour. and Thank you for highlighting the plight of these women. happy PPF

    1. Thank you so much! I am glad you liked it!

  2. Great work Zafaran and I like the quote as well !

  3. Beautiful painting and wonderful if sad story to it. Thanks for educating me. I will have to give credit to my son for some of his beautiful photos too, your son does a great job!

  4. terrific painting. Happy PPF, Annette x

  5. I would like to ask you, if I can link to this post from a blog I am about to build for teaching purposes. I had learned about the women of Benares earlier. You created a wonderful piece of artwork to express their fate. Thank you for sharing!

    Have a peaceful day!


  6. Please do link it, Ilona, ...I will be happy if it is used for teaching purposes! Feels great to be of some help!

  7. beautiful work...happy ppf

  8. What a beautiful tribute to those women. . .her eyes are haunting

  9. Such striking eyes - they kind of follow you :)

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  10. She is so soulful, just beautiful. Happy Art Journal Every Day and PPF

  11. I am crazy about her- she is fantastic. Happy PPF.

  12. Water was such a powerful movie!! Not enough attention is brought to this sad. Wonderful painting I think you captured the emotion of fear, longing, and sadness in your lady! Well done, both you and Mehta! I haven't seen her latest movie, but this was a great reminder! Thanks

    Hugs Giggles

  13. This song is beautiful but too sad!
    Your painting is fantastic, beautiful tribute!

  14. Powerful and deeply touching art...such a beautiful piece in tribute to Benares and the women cast in the shadows...! Amazing to gaze at and absorb..gorgeous colors, symbolism and such soulfulness..Outstanding work..very healing.
    Such beautiful music too..

  15. That is a very powerful portrait - volumes spoken in those eyes.

  16. This is indeed full of emotion, how very sad for these poor souls, your painting is beautiful and full of strength.

  17. HPPF, I really like this painting, especially knowing more an=bout the inspiration behind it. Thank you for sharing. Dxx

  18. I love your strong use of color and shape in your compositions and how it tells a story. Blessings!

  19. Magnificent painting, That look speaks for itself,

  20. Beautiful, very symbolic and with great meaning painting. Well done. Love and blessings to you!

  21. Hi Zafaran,

    You have truly captured the sad soulful emotion in this composition, especially in her eyes that speak of deep loss and longing. A very beautiful portrait!!!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Annabelle O,O

  22. Beautiful, very expressive and poignant. Also beautifully painted, love the colors and brush strokes! <3

  23. What a sad story! Thank you for sharing it. Your portrait shows the beauty of these women, without special adornments. I'll have to learn more about this.


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