Hindu Muslim Unity: religious poster art shares similarities

Calendars, posters and street murals in India reveal much about the power of colourful images to entertain, inform, devote and inspire on a daily basis. Although Hindu religious posters remain a dominant sight in India’s public sphere, Islamic and secular themes are not far behind. Hindu images depicting gods and goddesses (such as Lakshmi, Ganesha and Saraswati), their attributes and myths and continue to utilise narratives handed down from ancient times.

None of the Indian museums or art galleries took them seriously enough to acquire or preserve them. However, some sociologists, art historians and private collectors have focused attention on them. Enthusiasts and scholars have already highlighted the development of Indian popular art with Hindu themes. But Islamic poster art is still relatively unexplored. What is most special about Indian Islamic posters is the ‘localisation’ of Islam and its practices in ways that probably cannot be found elsewhere in the Islamic world. For instance, if we were to highlight the locations of Sufi dargahs on a map, the Subcontinent would be densely dotted with these shrines, which date back to the 12th century.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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