In December last year, Dr Ishrat Syed, a city-based surgeon, captured the silhouette of a woman carrying firewood on his camera early one morning.
On returning to the city, Dr Syed realised that the photograph taken along the coastline of Diu, bore striking resemblances to the description of the Indian coastline in Italian travel writer, Ludovico de Varthema’s book, Itinerary.
The book, which recorded Varthema’s extensive travels across India, was published in Rome in 1510. Dr Syed maintains that the scenic beauty of the Diu coastline has not changed over the past five centuries.
“According to Varthema’s book, Indian women ventured out of their homes to collect firewood for cooking even then,” said Dr Syed, who is exhibiting his photographs at a fortnight-long exhibition, ‘Persistence of Memory: How Travel Bookends History’, in the Premchand Roychand gallery at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya starting on Saturday. The exhibition has been curated by Dr Kalpana Swaminathan and Dr Syed.
Across the exhibition hall, there will be another exhibition of passages and photographs produced by the National Archives in Rome from Varthema’s book. The second exhibition is titled Voyage to India of Ludovico de Varthema (1470 – 1518). “Varthema visited India between 1502 and 1508. The book (Itinerary) talks about Varthema’s experiences in India,” said Roberto Bertilaccio, cultural attaché with the Italian embassy.