My conception of the Jagar here is not to interpret the narrative but as to share the essence of the narrative perceived and experienced by me.
Lachmi Jagar is a ritually enacted myth performed and sung mainly by women but there are a few male singers as well. The community or individuals between the months of October and February host this ritual performance. The general belief is to ensure the well-being of the living beings and the wealth. It has elements of entertainment as well. It is part of a complex set of oral traditions like the oral epic performed in the monsoon season in the area. But in some parts of Orissa, similar epics are performed in the hot season as well. The epic is an extended allegory of the rice production process.
Lachmi Jagar signifies the origin of the earth and the process of rice production. The Payali / the measure, used in the installation symbolizes the way everything in contemporary times is measured/ controlled, including water, earth, sky and the production. Seri graphed text–‘Chinese: square mirror symbolizes the earth’ on the mirror over the trademark of the manufacturers Modi Glass signifies the need for us to reflect on our relationship with land/soil/ environment and the impact of hazardous development... Mirror also signifies that while observing oneself in the mirror one is also being observed…
Strings of lights indicate the illusionary doors to enter the minds of the singers, Gurumai Sukdai and cheli gurumai Gagri.
Two short videos titled: Pawan Kumar and Myth
Pawan Kumar: a messenger to the king Meng (god of clouds) makes everything possible by performing the tasks ordered by the king. Is Pawan Kumar of our time any different?
Myth: belief that a payali /measure full of rice kept during the 9 day Jagar ritual starts overflowing symbolizes well being of the community/family and continuing process of production and consumption.
© Navjot Altaf. All rights reserved.