From January to April 2019 Dipesh Pandya will be carrying out a new research project in Gravesend and Northfleet in Gravesham, and Kochi, Amritsar and New Delhi, India.
Within this three month period there are crucial dates of historical and cultural importance – especially so for Gravesham’s communities of South Asian origin.
The first of these significant dates is 13 January 2019 when Lohri, a Punjabi folk festival celebrates a midpoint in the winter season and start to the harvest. This day is of equal importance in Sikh culture, marking the birth of the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Closely followed on 14 and 15 January by other festivals celebrated separately in north and south India, similarly marking an end to the north-east monsoon and annual astrological shifts affecting climatic and seasonal changes.
The final important date in Pandya’s research period is April 14 2019 marking the celebrations of Vaisakhi, commemorating the formation of the Khalsa Panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699. This date also corresponds to the birth of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement, campaigning against social discrimination towards Dalits (untouchables) while also supporting the rights of women and labour. He was independent India’s first law and justice minister, the principal architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India.
This period includes many other key dates for people of South Asian origin, particularly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pandya’s research will explore ideas around memory, identity and dispersion of culture. This research will be used to create text, image, sound and performance based installations and interactions in the Gravesend area, and for work to be shared digitally through the Whitstable Biennale website.
Key Dates for the project:
Sunday January 13 – Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti / Lohri
Monday January 14 – Makar Sankranti
Tuesday January 15 – Pongal / Ardh Kumbh Mela begins
Saturday January 26 – Indian Republic Day
Sunday February 10 – Vasant Panchami
Tuesday February 19 – Guru Ravidas Jayanti / Shivaji Jayanti
Friday March 1 – Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti
Monday March 4 – Maha Shivaratri / Ardh Kumbh Mela ends
Wednesday March 13 – Udham Singh shoots dead Michael O’Dwyer
Monday March 18 – Imposition of Rowlatt Act
Wednesday March 20 – Holika Dahan
Thursday March 21 – Dolyatra / Hazarat Ali Jayanti / Holi
Saturday March 23 – Bhagat Singh Martyrs Day
Monday April 1 – Udham Singh formally charged with murder of Michael O’Dwyer, and remanded in custody at Brixton Prison
Saturday April 6 – Chaitra Sukhladi
Thursday April 11 – First phase of 2019 Indian general election
Saturday April 13 – Ram Navmi / 100 years since Jallianwala Bagh massacre
Sunday April 14 – Ambedkar Jayanti / Vaisakhi