Heritage Gatkha And A Riot Of Colours


1947-2014 (Archived)
Gatka and A Riot of Colours

For more than 13 years, Ambala-based mechanical engineer and entrepreneur, MS Sodhi, has never missed Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival that’s also known for the Sikh Olympics. Sodhi has seen and documented every session of the festivities — up, close and personal. The result: a collection of over 1,000 photographs. Forty of those have found find their way to a photography exhibition titled “The Spirit of Hola Mohalla”.

While one photograph evokes the enthusiasm and fervour with which the festival is celebrated at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib,with people indulging in martial arts, another captures their daredevil approach, with a man standing on a running bike. “I have tried to summarise the event and bring out its best in this photo essay exhibition,” says the 48-year-old, standing near the photograph after which the exhibition has been named — it’s a snapshot of nihangs as they climb on to a tree to get a glimpse of the festival.

Amongst other works are those of simulated mock battles, gatka moves and fun events. While a photo titled ‘Weapons of War’ showcases the historical weapons used by the Sikhs, ‘American Dream’ zooms in on a man with a scarf with an American flag on it. As for ‘Colours of Joy’, the picture captures people playing Holi. Also finding place in the exhibition are snapshots of the langar (community kitchen), of men indulging in sword wielding, jousting and other sports.

Sodhi has earlier showcased these photographs in Washington DC and also in Toronto, Canada. His short film by the same title was selected and screened at the “The Spinning Wheel Film Festival” in Toronto.

The exhibition is on at the Alliance Francaise Art Gallery, Sector 36, till September 26



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