The Spirit of India

India’s Proverbs and Poems

PROVERBS have been part of every culture for thousands of years. 
Francis Bacon said that the wit, genius, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs. 

It’s difficult to find true love, but even more difficult to find true friendship

INDIA-10679NF2 Mumbai

INDIA-10307N Goa

One who is walking alone, walks fastest



 If you are noble you will find the world noble.


INDIA-10282NF Mumbai

One who believes in his own capabilities, is never unsuccessful

INDIA-11394 Goa

You cannot get knowledge without a teacher



POETRY is the language of the emotions.  Thomas Gray described poetry as thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.

You cannot take your boat across the sea
If you are afraid of the waves,
The one who tries
Never fails.
– Harivansh Rai Bachchan 


In the Bazaars of Hyderabad

What do you sell O ye merchants ?
Richly your wares are displayed.
Turbans of crimson and silver,
Tunics of purple brocade,
Mirror with panels of amber,
Daggers with handles of jade.
What do you weigh, O ye vendors?
Saffron and lentil and rice.
What do you grind, O ye maidens?
Sandalwood, henna, and spice.
What do you call , O ye peddlers?
Chessman and ivory dice.


What do you make, O ye goldsmiths?
Wristlets and ankles and ring,
Bells for the feet of blue pigeons
Frail as a dragon- fly’s wing,
Girdles of gold for dancers,
Scabbards of gold for the king.

INDIA-11183Palace Hotels

What do you cry, O ye fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate, and plum.
What do you play , O magicians?
Spells for aeons to come.


What do you weave, O ye flower-girls
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,
Chaplets to garland his bed,
Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.
– Sarojini Naidu


INDIA-10710 Darjeeling

In Praise of Trees
O Tree, life-founder, you heard the sun
Summon you from the dark womb of earth
At your life’s first weakening; your height
Raised from rhythmless rock the first
Hymn to the light; you brought feeling to harsh impassive desert…

-Rabindranath Tagore
Nobel Laureate in Literature, 1913
(Translated by Dr. William Radice, 1985)


India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition.
– Mark Twain


77 Responses to “The Spirit of India”

  1. What an amazing blog, keep up the good work!

  2. Love your work!

  3. Anjaria Says:

    AAWWSome and some more. natural pictures, and the art of photoGRAPHY

  4. Arun Vikram Goel Says:

    Beautiful images, and such apt potry!!

  5. daksh Says:

    simply magnificient
    have no words for ur work
    Seems like paintings by greatest artist of all

  6. degouvestz laurent Says:

    Fantastiques photos

  7. patel jayeshkumar shivabhai -vavdi-malpur-s.k.-gujrat-india Says:


  8. […] de diez años, a los pocos meses de haberme sacado el carné de conducir en España viajé a la India, mi amigo Javi, que llevaba algunas semanas en Prune me dio las siguientes instrucciones: […]

  9. sant maskeen…

    […]The Spirit of India « Steve McCurry's Blog[…]…


  11. roberto sambrano Says:

    magnifico…. un viaje fantastico en pocas fotos

  12. roberto sambrano Says:

    magnifico !!!! un viaje a lo exotico y lejano en pocas fotos

  13. Marcelo soto Says:


  14. Your skill with the lens is matched only by the heart that guides your vision.

  15. Momento…superb captured

  16. spectacular job. Many learn only by seeing their works. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Always new and deep sensations
    Steve can find the right way to give soul and test to an image.


  18. Great job Steve !!
    and beautifully u have captured the vivid n vibrant culture n notions of India through pictures, proverbs and poems.
    The spirit of India is really reflecting from the snaps.

    Nice work..

  19. Excellent series!

  20. Quintelier Guy Says:

    Beautifull pictures !

  21. JAIPUR photo,the last one in the series is something special in it..
    Another legend Photographer Raghubir Singh is also from Jaipur

  22. Vicent Borràs Says:


  23. Natalia from Polish. :) Says:

    wow, You’re really amazing. Everything is great, I like it.
    I greet:)

  24. Sugandha Thakran Says:

    Quintessiantial India is obviously a pet muse of Mr McCurry. I can see his love and admiration for the land and her people in his pictures and it is almost eerie to have someone see things so the way I do. Thank you Sir. You rock!:)

  25. this is very special on Independene day Steve. you are a wonderful inspiration to us. u have taught us to appreciate beauty in everything. bless u

  26. Sandesh Kumar Says:

    U reminded me of a Great Photographer of India Mr.Satyan.. T.S.Satyan was a god in photography..A gentleman..His works have made him immortal… Keep up the good work… Awesomeness !!

  27. Marietta Yandoc Says:

    Your work isn’t just about pictures, Steve. You really, deeply, hit the great themes! Lest we forget.

  28. Truly spirit of India ….

  29. Thank you for such a beautiful post steve!:)

  30. Says:

    As always breathtaking and very beautiful

  31. I wish your pictures could inspire our bigot politicians and members of establishment in Pakistan to think first as Human Being.

  32. Very simple but very Indian !

  33. this was lovely steve:)

  34. Yara Al-mohaimeed Says:

    It’s difficult to find true love, but even more difficult to find true friendship

    The one who tries
    Never fails.

    It is the truth

  35. Hey Steve the pictures reflect what the spirit of India is-never defeated ,always shining through the darkest clouds

  36. Ashok Nath Dey Says:

    Mind Blowing Sir !!!!!!!!

  37. The last photo is the best for me😉 Great stuff.


  39. You are simply the best, Steve! I enjoy your blog and your pictures enormously.

  40. natwar bung Says:

    i love your work
    good job…..steve

  41. Steve,

    It is amazing! A whole world of colors and spirits!

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Incredible. Amazing. Your photos just thrill me, thanks for sharing this images with us. its an honour.

  43. Kaushal Kumar Singh Says:

    Speechless!!! The one above where two girls are swinging; two calf and a man in white dress sitting on grass looks like they all are in conversation – I can hear the girls are singing, calf are talking to each other, the man is asking the girls to take care on the swing…It’s complete music.
    Speechless color symphony in every other shot. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Great pictures Steve… Regards

  45. Profoundly luminous images. Steve McCurry’s portraits are testament to a deeply poetic mind, all the more enhanced in this collection that is annotated with moving poetry from India. It was a beautiful experience this morning to wake up to this presentation.

    (There is a typo in the presentation: in the last poem by Tagore (translated by Radice), the line “…At your life’s first weakening; your height..” should actually read, “…At your life’s first wakening; your height..”)

  46. tskraghu Says:

    Enjoyed the pictures and the captions.

  47. Caro Sr Steve
    Nao tenho palavras para poder espressar o que senti no momento que vi estas fotos e estes proverbios.
    Mas de uma coisa tenho certeza, da beleza de sua alma, da pureza de seus sentimentos , de sua crença que um dia o mundo será melhor.
    O Mundo seria diferente se todos o olhassem através de seus olhos
    abraço do Brazil

  48. Madhu Sudan Modha Says:

    You have captured the Essence of India….through your incredible images and the sayings…….because you have been blessed with a heart that….sees…….the magic of the moment. Your eyes perceive…the ordinary….and transforms it into….something….unique and everlasting!

    May your work……continue to amaze and entertain…..all…. for years to come,Steve!

  49. lovely…so lovely. thank you for sharing

  50. Anonymous Says:

    always fascinated by steve’s lenses!

  51. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful and moving images! Thank you! ♥

  52. La mejor forma de permanecer en silencio… la contemplación de estas fotos y la comunión con estas palabras, gracias

  53. Anonymous Says:

    amazing as always. I hope do make it to India some day.

  54. touching.. your images are always full of life.

  55. As an Indian , I truly say, you have seen the spirit of India and shown it to the world.. All my hats off to this wonderful and moving post, Steve!! may your works never die…

  56. Great picture stories as always

  57. Amazing work. Timeless photos.

  58. Amazing images, I cant tell you how badly I want to visit India…its a burning desire I can’t shake!

  59. You are incredible!

    You most famous portrait is the little Afghan girl but, everytime I look at another portrait from you, I realise ALL your portraits are that good!

    You are one of my favourite photographers.

  60. absolutely stunning work! for me, photography and proverbs/quotes go hand-in-hand. it’s just enough information to get the viewer to think beyond the immediate image and fall deeper and deeper into the power of a captured moment in time. i certainly understand the value of an extended cutline but a quote or even a simple sentence can reel someone in so much more and allows their minds to piece together the story behind the photograph.

  61. Steve McCurry you are the best… I love your job, incredible, expressive… Simply wonderful.
    Thank’s for sharing.

  62. Well Done again Steve. I love your work. Your depiction of life in India is perfectly poetic. Thanks for sharing.

  63. Great pictures. Wonderful. Increíble. Thanks Steve for sharing.

  64. Another great collection form you ! Nice to see all pictures from India in a single post. Great post Steve !

  65. No words ! Coming from India I can so connect with your masterpiece pictures.

  66. Since I can not be in India right now, your pictures and words always bring me there on another level. Thank you!!!

  67. Amazing as always Steve – love them x

  68. Running out of adjectives to describe your work. Brilliant is too inadequate a waord

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