India, like many other countries, is rooted in its culture, traditions and religion. Everything you do in your daily life has something to do with either of these three factors. But when it comes to religion, it trumps everything. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to revering our gods and goddesses. We build big temples, designate special holidays and celebrate them with full fervour.
But when it comes to our women, we fail, and we fail hard. On one hand, we call upon the goddesses to bless us with wisdom, prosperity and wealth, while on the other, we suppress our women and keep them tied down.
Victoria Krundysheva, a Mumbai-based photographer, is challenging the hypocritical way we treat our women in her powerful photo series titled, 'Lost Indian Goddesses'.
Speaking exclusively to ScoopWhoop, Victoria shares the inspiration behind the theme of the series.
"This series wasn't inspired by a particular incident but daily incidents every woman goes through. The hypocrisy of worshiping goddesses yet degrading women around you struck me in the recent years. So much power is given to women in mythology and vedas, yet in life, they are frowned upon for taking any decision for themselves. It hasn’t been a sudden insight – more of a journey towards a boiling point. I believe Indian Goddesses (whether we take religious side of it or take it as a metaphor) were meant to reflect the significance and internal light of every woman, which is being reduced to merely an accessory now."
Here are some of the photos from the series:
Your goddess Kali is naked but you ask your girlfriend to cover up, criticize that woman in crop top, make your daughter conscious of her body. Instead of conquering evil she is fighting herself.
You worship all-powerful Durga, but tell women to know their place.
You welcome Laxmi at your home, but frown upon bahu who's making a career and expect your daughter to leave work after marriage.
You praise Saraswati but don't consider that girls can be in a rock-band and art is not a serious enough profession for you.
You call women who drink indecent yet have a Varuni- goddess of wine in vedas.
These goddesses you worship are walking daily among us, but you choose to humiliate, harass, rape, disrespect or simply discriminate them. It is time you open your eyes to the actual goddesses till it's your head in Kali's hand.
It's time we start treating our women like we treat our goddesses- with respect and adoration.
Concept, text and photography by Victoria.
Outfits by Mirage by Paarul Bhargava.