Worship colours: Hawker selling coloured powders used in religious festivity.

Seeing a man in India selling colours on the street in such abandon makes Sen totally crazy. 

He is used to filling his palette of colours in his studio with an array of different colour formats that come in tubes, jars, bottles or as chalk pastels, but never has he used colour powder for his art. 

This colour seller may be putting the coloured powder in little paper sachets for his customers to use it in performing various religious rites, or for making designs on floors or walls for different festivals, or using on people’s foreheads for some cultural purpose.

This man makes Sen stop to introspect on his approach to the colours he is selling.


When India was partitioned 1947 to create Pakistan, a new country for Muslims, about 20 million people of Bengal and Punjab were displaced and brutally victimized. Sen’s wealthy, literate family had huge landed property in erstwhile East Bengal, the present Bangladesh, which was carved out to be East Pakistan for Muslims. So for being Hindus Sen’s family was overnight evicted from their home. Without taking any possessions, they fled for their lives amidst people warring over religion, and so became squatted refugees in West Bengal.