French Musings On India

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Pascal Bernard

Pascal Bernard

Pascal Bernard is no stranger to India. Basically from La Rochelle in France, this photographer has been visiting India since 1977 and almost all states from Kerala to Kashmir is familiar terrain to him. Pascal was once again in Trivandrum for the inauguration of Une ville, une personne, un lieu, an exhibition of photographs enhanced with short poems of Anupama Raju.

His voyages are always a continuation of his photography work and this time it is no different. In France if his work involves all the practical aspects of photography, his travel lets his creative side surface. L’Inde nous regarde is one such project which has been, and is still, continuing since 10 years.

Having travelled extensively in India by train, car, bus and all forms of transport for the last thirty years, he still feels like he is discovering this vast country with its diverse climate and scenery. He cites the example of Pondicherry “which was once a sleepy old town. In 2010 everything has changed, the French quartiers, the people. India is really advancing. There is more awareness among people. People make up a place. And that is why I like capturing people in photos.”

All the symbols of India’s magnificent splendour like Jaisalmer, Humpi and Mahabalipuram fascinate this man with a third eye, the eye of the camera. If the citadel of Jaisalmer has indeed a soothing ambiance, the site of Humpi holds magic for him. Mahabalipuram is another place which is very old and venerated. But he finds it strange that people do not really pray there in the true sense of the word. Yet modern India continues to build more and more temples.

He is equally intrigued by the power of superstition over Indians. “I think that people here do all sorts of rituals in the temples more out superstition”. He has also noticed that the number of crows in recent years has increased alarmingly, a fact that he attributes to more and more pollution. “It is a bit disconcerting to wake up to the  cawing of crows instead of the chirping of birds”says Pascal.

With due respect to India he feels strongly that it should not fall into the trap of over-nationalism. Yes, India has a lot to give to the world, but it also has a lot to learn from the world. India should follow its education development plans but not have a closed outlook. “More cultural exchange programs would be an effective way to open up. I would be happy to organise something  in Delhi as it is the capital.” He is all for the cultural programs of the Alliance Francaise network, the bridge between India and France.

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...