Prashant is one of our outstanding photographers and has taken the courage to make a selection of what he calls the definitive images of India from the mutiny of 1857 to the new century. He starts with the very obvious Henri Cartier-Bresson image of Kashmiri women on Hari Parbat in the Srinagar Valley, in an evocative, almost Greek pose, looking at the far hills. The McCurry pictures of steam engines against the Taj, and the Rajasthani women with empty pitchers in a desert storm, the seductively wet bunch of women in a monsoon rain, village children at play, boys diving into the river, and naked Naga sadhus dashing for the Ganges, all evoke the many recognised faces of India.\
The historical photographs are fascinating; that familiar one of the Maharao of Bundi with his remarkable beard and coal-black cobra eyes frightens me. If death has a face, this is it. We all know the famous picture of the last moghul Bahadur Shah in exile in Rangoon. I look at the eyes and see in those defeated orbs the end of Babar’s endeavour. Curzon’s shikar picture by Lala Deendayal has everything of the Raj—the tented camp under the banyan tree, the saheb and his mem standing over a dead tiger looking the conquerors.