Publisher Indu Chandrasekhar posted this message on her Facebook page today saying:
The painting [above], which seems to have been shared widely by several of us as an “18th century Rajasthan miniature” depicting “Krishna sighting the Eid moon with a group of Muslim man & women”, has been wrongly cited. Please read Prof. B.N. Goswamy’s response below to a query raised by Prof. Gulammohammed Sheikh in this regard, which gives the correct details. Please also forward this to other friends who may be sharing the image with wrong details.
B. N. Goswamy:
“I must confess that I had not seen this image before, despite being quite familiar with the Bhagavata Purana and this series of paintings from the Tehri-Garhwal collection ( painted by one of the members of the first generation after Manaku and Nainsukh). However the present ‘reading’ of it is completely meaningless based as it is, chiefly I think, on the appearance of Nanda who is dressed like a Mughal courtier: with that kind of beard, and wearing a long jama and a sloping turban. The anachronic impossibility of a Muslim figure to be seen in the Bhagavata Purana or this series apart, this is the way Nanda appears in every single folio of this series whenever we see him! Even in this regard, if one notices from close the jama Nanda wears is clearly a Hindu style jama, tied as it is, in Hindu-fashion, under the left armpit. There is not the slightest doubt about this.
Topped by that is the silly statement that it is a Rajasthani painting! Of course it is not. It is a Pahari painting from the series to which I have referred above. I wonder why the name of a highly regarded scholar like Professor Harbans Mukhia has been dragged into the description.
The pointing towards the moon in the sky by #Krishna and Balarama seems to be from an obscure passage, possibly in chapter 28 of the tenth skandha, where Krishna, after rescuing Nanda from Varuna who had seized him and taken him to his dominions, leads him and other kinsmen, using his powers of illusion, to a vision of his domains.. There, after the rescue, the text says, Krishna “manifested to the cowherds his own realm” which is beyond the range of tamas … One cannot be certain, however; it is not unlikely that the episode occurs more fully in some other rescension of the Purana and not the one generally in circulation.
I have no idea where the present folio is. If it can be located, surely one will find a text on verso, like on other folios of the same series.
Long answer? But hopefully of some use.
On 16 June 2018, Gulammohammed Sheikh wrote:
Dear Dr Goswamy
The painting here which clearly seems to be a Bhagavata purana folio have made some viewers to read it as an instance of Krishna sighting the crescent moon prior to Eid. Can you please identify it to settle the doubts of many in the public domain?
Thanking you in anticipation.
17 June 2018