Love flowers, love for them: Flowers and the Indian people

by Amit Kumar Kumar, Business Standard (India), 26 October 2018 –  Indian people have a special relationship with flowers.

It is a deeply rooted feeling that goes back centuries.

They are an essential part of the cultural fabric of this land, and the culture that binds us all. 

But they are also a symbol of grief.

According to the Indian National Archives, between 1740 and 1810, over 40,000 people died from poison-related incidents in India.

Since then, flowers have been a major part of our cultural fabric. 

When people are unhappy, flowers can be an important symbol of love.

As part of a project that has examined the history of the relationship between flowers and the modern Indian, I have collected the stories of flower-worshippers, from poets, to musicians, to artists, to academics, to the people who love them, who have written about them. 

The stories are told in the words of their subjects. 

They are the love stories of people who, at a deep level, love flowers, and love to be with them.

They tell us that flowers are a symbol that connects us to each other, that we share a deep bond.

I have chosen poems, music, photographs and interviews that have been collected by people from across the country, and these are the stories that I am trying to tell. 


Viva Gita (1936) Katarin, a poet, is a widow in rural Maharashtra.

Her husband died of tuberculosis, leaving her and their three children penniless.

Her son-in-law, Anand, had left home for the job of a carpenter.

In a way, Viva Gitta became the guardian of Anand’s son, Kaju, who is now a student.

Kajy, who was then 11 years old, said, ‘My father and my mother have not seen each other since my father’s death.’

His mother said, ‘I have not spoken to my husband, but I will talk to him.

He is not here.’

Kaj, a widower, had a very simple way of making friends: ‘If he was here, I would be able to make love to him.’ 


Nasrukham – The Story of a Family – The stories of the women who love flowers are often a reflection of the fragility of the family unit. 

A man who works in a factory, a widow, who suffers from depression, and a couple who have two sons, a father and a mother, are all among the many stories that show how a family, with its strong ties to the community, can heal from a difficult time. 


Kala (1869) When I was a child, my family lived in a house near a river.

My mother said to me, ‘When you grow up, you will come and go.

But you must not leave the house.’ 

As I was about two, I was born in a village, in which there were a lot of beautiful flowers, the most beautiful of all.

I would sit and watch them bloom in the garden.

My grandmother, who had just died, had been working for a tea-maker, but her husband died.

My father, a tailor, had retired to his cottage, where he was staying, and was very fond of the flowers, even if he could not see them.

It was at this time that I started learning to love flowers. 


Rajan (1925) The author, the poet, the painter, the architect Rajan is one of the most influential poets of India.

He was born on January 3, 1923 in Madras.

He studied in Bombay and studied under the renowned painter and sculptor M.G.G., whose works include The Flower Garden (1933), The Last of the Sun (1937), Lakes of the South (1941), Daughters of India (1946), Fountain of the North (1947), Birds of Paradise (1950), Rani (1952), Majra (1953), Sun Dance (1954) and Prayer for the Dead (1956). 

He was also known for his poems such as The Largest Man in India (1920), Kalyan (1920) and his other works, including A Prakriti, a Memoir of the Life of a Child (1930), Gurbaksh Singh (1932), Sri Aurobindo (1931), Vinayak Swamy (1935), Chikha Vigyan (1938), Tulip Girl (1939), Hari (1940), Arundhat