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Nine Rasas

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Navarasas
Human life is a rich fabric that is given colour and texture by the many happenings that shape it. The mundane actions that characterize every day as well as the extraordinary happenings that make and keep our lives interesting are all threads that get woven together to form this tapestry. The one thing that is common to all these threads is the fact that they evoke feelings in us, we respond to them with our emotions before they can become a part of our internal life. Indeed, life can be thought of as a continuous sequence of emotions that arise in various contexts and circumstances. These emotions, or rasas, are what give life different hues, shades and colors.
Thus it is not surprising that most performing art, which tries to present to the viewer a slice of human life focuses precisely on these rasas, or emotions in order to appeal to the audience. That rasas are the mainstay of performing art, or natya, is a fact that has been well-recognised for centuries now. The NatyaShastra is an ancient Indian text dated between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD which analyses all aspects of performing art. It is often called the fifth veda because of its importance. In it one finds a thorough exposition on the rasas, or emotions that characterise Life as well as Art. The NatyaShastra describes nine rasas or NavaRasas that are the basis of all human emotion. Each is commented upon in detail. It is useful to keep in mind that a rasa encompasses not just the emotion, but also the various things that cause that emotion. These two things go hand in hand and are impossible to treat separately. This duality is part of every rasa to varying degrees. Today we try to bring to you a flavour of each of these nine rasas, explaining what each one means and presenting it to you through some Indian art form.
Shringara
Shringara means love and beauty. This is the emotion used to represent that which appeals to the human mind, that which one finds beautiful, that which evokes love. This is indeed the king of all rasas and the one that finds the most frequent portrayal in art. It can be used for the love between friends, the love between a mother and her child, the love for god or the love between a teacher and his disciples. But the Shringara or love between a man and a woman is easily the most popular form of this rasa. Rich imagery is associated with this love and it gets portrayed at many different intensities esp in Classical Indian dance. The sweet anticipation of a woman as she waits for her lover is as much Shringara as the passion she feels for her first love, a passion that so heightens her sensitivity that even the moonbeams scorch her skin. In Indian music too this rasa finds wide portrayal through beautiful melodies.

Hasya
Hasya it the rasa used to express joy or mirth. It can be used to depict simple lightheartedness or riotous laughter and everything in between. Teasing and laughing with a friend, being amused and carefree or simply feeling frivolous and naughty -- these are all facets of hasya. Lord Krishna's childhood, when he was the darling of all Gokul is filled with many stories of his naughty activities. This mirth, which endeared him to all, is one of the common sources of hasya in all ancient Indian art forms. Clearly, where there is hasya, all is well with the world, there is joy all around and all are of good cheer.

Bhibatsya
Bhibatsya is disgust. The emotion evoked by anything that nauseates us, that revolts or sickens us is Bhibatsya. When something comes to our notice that is coarse and graceless, beneath human dignity, something which revolts or sickens us it is Bhibatsya that we feel. When Prince Siddhartha, as a young nobleman, saw for the first time sickness, old age and death, he was moved to disgust which later metamorphosed into sorrow, deep introspection and peace, as he transformed into Gautama, the Buddha -- or the Enlightened one. Not surprisingly, this emotion is usually represented fleetingly. It usually acts as a catalyst for higher and more pleasant emotions.

Rowdra
Rowdra is anger and all its forms. The self-righteous wrath of kings, outrage over audacious behaviour and disobedience, the fury caused by an offense, the rage evoked by disrespect and anger over injustice are all forms of Rowdra, probably the most violent of rasas. Rowdra also encompasses divine fury and the fury of nature which is used to explain unexpected calamities and natural disasters. In Indian mythology, Lord Shiva, the Destroyer, is thought of as the master of all disharmony and discord. Shiva performing the tandav -- a violent dance -- is what creates havoc in the three worlds namely the sky, the earth and the nether world.

Shanta
Shanta is serenity and peace. It represents the state of calm and unruffled repose that is marked simply by the lack of all other rasas. Because all emotions are absent in Shanta there is controversy whether it is a rasa at all. According to Bharata, the author of NatyaShastra, the other eight rasas are as proposed originally by Brahma, and the ninth, Shanta, is his contribution. Shanta is what the Buddha felt when he was enlightened, when he reached the higher spiritual plane that led him to salvation or nirvana and freed him from the cycle of life and death. Shanta represents complete harmony between the mind, body and the universe. Sages in India meditate for entire lifetimes to attain this state. In music it is often represented through a steady and slow tempo. Shanta is a clear and cloudless state. Shanta is untroubled steadiness. Shanta is the key to eternity.

Veera
Veera is heroism. It represents bravery and self-confidence. Manliness and valiance are the trademarks of a Veer or a fearless person. Courage and intrepidity in the face of daunting odds is heroism. Boldness in battle, the attitude with which martyrs go to war, and the valour with which they die are all aspects of heroism. Rama, the hero of the Ramayan, is typically the model for this Rasa. His confidence and heroism while facing the mighty ten-headed demon king Ravana is part of Indian legend, folklore and mythology. A somewhat different type of heroism is displayed by characters like Abhimanyu, who went to war knowing fully that he would be severely outnumbered and almost certainly die and yet fought so bravely as to earn accolades even from his enemies. In Indian music this rasa is represented by a lively tempo and percussive sounds.

Bhaya
Bhaya is fear. The subtle and nameless anxiety caused by a presentiment of evil, the feelings of helplessness evoked by a mighty and cruel ruler, and the terror felt while facing certain death are all aspects of bhaya. The fear for one's well being and safety is supposed to be the most primitive feeling known to man. Bhaya is the feeling evoked while facing something that is far bigger and more powerful than oneself and which is dead set on one's destruction. Bhaya is the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless. Dread, cowardice, agitation, discomposure, panic and timidity are all aspects of the emotion of fear. Bhaya is also used to characterize that which causes fear. People and circumstances that cause others to cower in terror before them are as central to portrayal of this rasa as those feeling the fear.

Karuna
Karuna is grief and compassion. The feelings of unspeakable tragedy and despair, utter hopelessness and heartbreak, the sorrow caused by parting with a lover, the anguish caused by the death of a loved one are all Karuna. So also, the compassion and empathy aroused by seeing someone wretched and afflicted is Karuna. The sympathy and fellow feeling that sorrow engenders in the viewer is also karuna. Karuna can be of a personal nature as when one finds oneself depressed, melancholy and distressed. More impersonal sorrows relate to the despair regarding the human condition in general, the feeling that all human life is grief and suffering. It is Karuna of this sort that the Buddha was trying to overcome on his path to salvation.

Adbhuta
Adbhuta is wonder and curiosity. The awe that one feels when one comes across something divine and supernatural, some power or beauty that is remarkable and never seen or imagined before is Adbhuta. Adbhuta is the curiosity of man regarding the creation of the world and all its wonders, the astonishment caused by seeing something unusual and magical. The appreciation of a marvel that goes beyond the routine and the mundane is Adbhuta. The glory of a king returning from a successful battle, the magical feats of a god are both adbhuta to a common man. Adbhuta is when divinity makes a surprise appearance in the world of men.

INDIAN PAINTING ROMEN PALIT Indian painting, like all things Indian, reflects his character, his nature, his life and his aspirations. It has a definite form of its own like the Chinese, the Japanese and the European paintings. Although all the four have Life as their base and source, each takes a turn which is unique and is revelatory of its natural spirit. The Chinese and Japanese artists have a rare and unparalleled vision of beauty and, though they are not divorced from life’s realities, they transmute all they see and feel, not by gaudy and massive details, but by essential, revelatory outlines. They reveal great reticence on one hand and an unparalleled mastery and skill (which they veil by their utter simplicity) on the other. They reveal their own world of beauty and never fall back to lesser level of perfection. There is a magic in their brushstrokes, a wizardry in their vision. The European artist is enamoured of the physical form: he omits nothing, fills in his canvas with gorgeous details, missing nothing, excluding nothing, giving the full expression of his love for life. To him life is in the bodies of men, women, children and animals as he views them, in Nature as he finds it. All his paintings reveal his boundless vitality, exuberant robustness and great force. It is only when he attempts elements which are beyond the mere physical that he fails. His Christ is a muscular hero; his Adam or Moses, in fact any of the religious entities, become studies in anatomy. He has physical life as his model, physical beings as his standpoint, where then can he sour to the realms of the spirit? He is too tied to matter to look beyond. The Indian painter is of another genre. He looks at things or persons not with the physical eye alone. He has affinity to the Chinese and the Japanese artists in this respect. He tries to see what is behind the form, attempts to seize the symbol, the essence that is behind this physical reality. But he does not stoop to meaningless abstractions, arbitrary surrealism, of futile ugliness that goes in the name of life. We can say, while he is rooted to the soil, he looks beyond into subtler regions of truths that escape the common human sense. He is not a photographer recording physical details, but a creator in his own right who creates his own world of forms of beauty taking stand on actualities. In the Beginning There seemed to have been a wave of growth everywhere on this earth, be it in Altamirah in Spain, or cave-paintings in Kaimer range in Central India, or in Bhim-baiyatka in Bhopal or Singhpur in the Madhya Pradesh or in Mirzapur. Central India, it seems, had been the centre of these primitive peoples, at least in India. Elsewhere too this first creative pulse is felt in Morocco, Algiers, Turkistan, or Australia. The theme of these early artists was the same – hunting scenes, animal running, hunters rejoicing over their success, etc. There is no national character in these paintings. The medium employed were earth-colours, plus dyes from barks or leaves or semi-precious stones were used right up to the 7th century inAjanta, Bagh and Sirigiya frescoes. We have evidence of early man mixing or grinding their colours on stone slabs. In 100 B. C. in Jogimara caves it Raigarh in Madhya Pradesh were found patterns on walls, of fishes and other aquatic monsters. Also hieroglyphs. Much it defaced by weather and time. These could be taken as fore-runners of the cave-paintings in Ajanta which came later. But traditions of Indian painting go much earlier than 100 B. C. In the Puranas and in Buddhistic times there have been definite indications that painting flourished in ancient India. Legends speak of the creator, God Brahma, teaching a king to bring to life a dead boy by first painting the boy’s picture and then instilling life in him. In another legend in the Puranas we have the following myth: Princess Usha dreamt of a beautiful youth. She narrates her dream to her friend Chitralekha who was an artist. Chitralekha executes several portraits of gods, one of these was Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna. Indian painting did certainly flourish in ancient India, but it is Buddhism which gave new life and orientation, as Hinduism gave to sculpture and architecture. There is a legend which speaks of a painting on the walls of Gyantse monastery in Tibet, representing an artist doing a portrait of the Buddha from life. A copy of this painting was later sent to a neighbouring kingdom. This had such an impact that the king of this kingdom was converted to Buddhism. In Vinayaka Pithaka (300-400 B. C.) there is a reference to Chitragarh (picture gallery) adorned with figures and decorative motifs. Such galleries were said to be in existence in the Ramayana age. Later we have Ajanta in India, Ankhor in Siam and Borobudur in Java. These must have been done by kings to please and educate the people. More than that, those artists who executed these works, were dedicated persons. It is in this way they served God. Certainly they did not crave for fame or money; for their names are unknown. A Tibetan historian Taranath (it is doubtful how much was history and how much was tradition and myth) was of opinion that there were four ages of Indian painting: (a) Prior to the advent of the Buddha excellent paintings were done by gods themselves. (b) In the next age, the age of Ashok the great, we find paintings done by Yakshas – demi-gods. That is, Gandharvas and Kinneras, who lived in the realm of beauty and harmony (the last statement is mine for such concepts were unknown in the time of Taranath). (c) The next age was the age of good people (Punya-Yanas). (d) The last age is the age ofNagas, half-human entities. Their age lasted up to 200 A. D., that is, the beginning of Ajanta-era. The Indian artist of that age considered that the source of his creation was Viswakarma, the Lord of all arts. In later ages the concept has changed according to his growth. Treatises on Indian Painting There are numerous works on this subject. But perhaps three texts can be taken as the most representative. The first is Shadanga, the six limbs of Indian painting. The second is Chitralakshana, the modes of painting. And the third is Shilpa-Sastra, canons of art. It is not exactly known who wrote Shadanga. But that it is very old is a fact, for all artists down the ages, the Hindus and the Buddhists and also the Chinese artists, followed the laws laid down. It is curious that these rules were not written down, but followed by artists as per tradition. It was Vatsayana who set them down in his voluminous treatise, the Kamasutra. The six “limbs” are as follows: 1. Rupa-bheda: the knowledge of appearance of forms; 2. Pramaanam: Correct perception measure and structure; 3. Bhaava: Action of feeling or forms: 4.Laavanya-yojanam: Infusion of grace, artistic perception. 5. Saadrisyam: Similitude; 6. Varnika-bhanga: Artistic manner of using brushes and colours. These precepts we shall see, are fundamental to all artists. Without them no true art is possible. These form the framework, like the grammar and syntax in a language, which upholds the artistic creation. Since the beginning of this century, many new waves of art like Surrealism, Cubism, Dadaism, etc., invaded Europe and is coming to India as well. All these movements, in the name of new-creation, try to break these basic principles of art, creating ugliness and monstrosities at which a true art-lover would be repelled. We now come to the second treatise: “Chitra-lakshana.” These are the rules laid out; the painting of gods and kings must be massive and taller than ordinary human beings. A typical example can be taken of Bodhisattwa in cave No.1 in Ajanta. The standard face should be quadrangular and sharply outlined. It should be beautifully finished. In no case it should be made oval or round or even crooked. Men’s faces may be painted in triangular pattern. There was freedom in painting the female form. Only their flesh must be of harmonious proportions and in an upright posture. The Shilpa-Sastra is a book of Sanskrit aphorism on the artistic code. The following details have come down from Indian poetics and art-concept: The eye of the woman is like a lotus-petal (Padma-paalas), or like a fish (safari or meena) or like a doe or slit like “Patal” an oblong vegetable. Her ears are like a drooping vulture (gridhra-sadrisya); her nose is like a flower of “tila”; her lips are like a flower called “Bimbaadhar”; her throat is lined like the conchshell; her arms are like the elephant’s trunk; her breasts are like full-blown lotus; her fingers are like the buds of “champa” (champa kali); her thighs are like stems of banana plant; the feet are like lotuses. The man’s waist is like a lion’s trunk (simha kati); his arms extended up to his knees; his chest is wide like doors (kapat vakshya). These concepts have been taken from Nandalal Bose’s Rupavali, Parts I and II. The Buddhist Period Whatever be the basic tenets of Buddhism, they ushered in a great and glorious age of Indian art, specially in painting. Not only Buddhist India was supreme in India, she became the centre of inspiration and attraction to all the countries around India like Ceylon, Java, Siam, Burma, Nepal, Khotan (Central Asia), Tibet, China and Japan. Buddhist art and Buddhist faith always went together.Taranath has commented: “Wherever Buddhism prevailed, skilful religious artists were found.” Wherever the envoys of Buddhism went, they carried with them Indian art, the vehicle of Buddhist teaching. The son of Ashoka the great, Prince Mahendra, and his sister, Sanghamitra, went with saplings of the “Bo” tree, and the words of Lord Buddha. The seeds of Indian art were then sown in Ceylon. A few hundred years later the cave-paintings of Sirigiya were executed. In 67 A. D. an Indian priest named Kashiapmundugo (This is a Tibetan version of an Indian name) was invited by the Chinese emperor Ming-Ti. The priest took with him a number of Indian art treasures. From this date up to 700 A. D. when Buddhism succumbed to Brahminism, a stream of artists travelled to China. They settled down there and painted frescoes. Japan too got influenced by this stream of settlers, as art of Japan of this period reveals. This influence lasted up to the 15th century. The Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hian in the 5th century and Hiuen-Tsang in 7th century came to India and took back with them several works of Indian art. We have three extant examples of Buddhistic art: the Frescoes of Ajanta, the wall-paintings of Sirigiya in Ceylon and those in Bagh caves in Madhya Pradesh. Of the three, Ajanta paintings are certainly the best, both in execution and inspiration. Because the Ajanta artists were moved by the intense devotion to the Buddha, this gave excellence to their works. All the cave-paintings of Ajanta are not of uniform standard of perfection and also were not executed at the same period. Ajanta caves were discovered by sheer accident in 1819. Hidden in a ravine, these caves remained unknown. The exploration itself took nearly a century from 1819 to 1910 to be completed. As we can gauge by the style, these were excavated and painted or decorated across the span of six centuries. The purpose of this great artistic achievement remains unknown. Perhaps the caves served as monastery to the Buddhist monks, for secluded contemplation or meditation for the ascetic. Approximately the caves 9 and 10 were excavated and painted in 100 A. D. The pillars of cave 10 were done much later, that is about in 380 A. D. Caves 16 and 17 were done in 500 A. D. and caves 1 and 2 were executed last in 626-628 A. D. According to the historian Taranath many works of the Ajanta caves were done by what he called the “Naga artists” in the era of the king Buddha-Prakash who reigned over the land between 5th and 6th centuries. The name of one of the artists has come down to us. His name was Bimbisara, who founded a school of painting in Central India. Paintings of the caves 9 and 10 were done when the Dravidian kings ruled Deccan from 27 B. C. up to 236 A. D. These paintings have resemblances to sculptures of Bharhut, Amaravati and Sanchi. These paintings reached a marvelous height of perfection. There is vitality in them. The paintings are well-composed and it is presumed that the artists had great knowledge of life. They certainly were devoted artists. After a lapse of some 250 years, the execution of the next phase of painting began. The paintings were surely more mature and bore resemblance to Gandhara (Greco-Buddhist) style. At that time theGuptas were in power. Caves 16 and 17 were done at a period when Vaakataka dynasty made a marriage alliance with the Guptas. The paintings were exceptionally fine in what is known as the “narrative style”. It is a picture gallery depicting the life and death of the Buddha. At a later period of time, caves 1 and 2 were painted the last. We can discern that the Buddhistic influence was waning at that time. For example, we have a panel illustrating the Indian King PulakesinII receiving an embassy from the Persian monarch Khusru Parviz, an event that took place in 626-28. This proves that India’s link with Persian was old, even before the coming of Islam. Cave No. 2 is not remarkable from the point of view of art. The central figures were done by maturer hands, but the surrounding areas and the backgrounds were done by novices. With Ajanta, Buddhist era of painting came to an end, the most memorable and creative age. What came afterwards are much Jess in creativity and artistic value. Mention must be made of two other cave-paintings: Sirigiya and Bagh. The first is in Ceylon; the paintings were done at the time when King Koshysp I reigned, whose 20 wives were painted in the three-quarter lengths in two irregular chambers. This was somewhere in 479-497 A. D. There is no religious significance here, except to glorify some female forms, none of which can equal in beauty and grace the female forms in Ajanta. The Bagh caves are in the Gwalior State. Perhaps these murals were done in the 6th or the 7th century. As there is no inscription, we cannot ascertain the exact date. The cave is 90 feet square with frescoes everywhere on the walls. The main theme is a musical drama or Hallasika. The Post-Buddhist age When Buddhism declined in 700 A. D. the great chapter of Indian painting came to a close. It appears that Hinduism did little to foster painting as such, but instead gave all the attention to sacred sculpture and architecture. In India we have Ellora and Elephanta and in greater India Borobudur, Tibet, Khotan, where many significant monuments were built Curiously Indian painting or its style flourished in Tibet; India had been then the meeting ground of the Greek, Chinese, Persian and Indian cultures. This helped the continuation of the Indian tradition. We have record of the link between Magadha and Tibet up to 11th century. Tibetans painted temple banners (Tangka more or less in the same style as Ajanta). The Coming of slam The period of proper Mughal painting is indeed short, from 1550, that is, from Akbar’s time up to the reign of Shah Jehan. Auragzeb dealt the final death-knock to Indian painting. This school is Indo-Sarcenic, having its birth in Samarkand and Heart. Although Timur was a savage, as far as art was concerned, his descendants were great patrons of art. Painting flourished in their courts. Sultan Hussainof Khurasan was a great connoisseur of painting. Under his patronage Bihzad, known as the “Raphael of the East” flourished. Babar in his memoirs mentions this fact. It was Bihzad’s school which was to become later the Mughal school of painting in India. Abul Fazl, the historian in Akbar’s time, mentions the following artists under Akbar’s patronage: Farruk the Kalmak, Abd-al Samad, the Sherazi, MirSayyad Ali Tabirz. Also Akbar supported the following Hindu artists: Basawan, Daswanth and Kesudasa. They did portraits of royalties, miniatures and events like tiger-hunts, etc. But all these had an exotic quality which enriched Indian art. At the time of Jehangir, European travellers, merchants and historians began to come to India, who speak of the emperor’s love of art. The painters under him painted portraits and did animal and flower studies; the travellers wrote this fact in their books. Shah Jehan was too busy building great monuments and managing his unruly sons to pay much heed to painting. But with him a style of painting became popular, known as the “Delhi Kalm” or the Delhi brush. Though Aurangzeb did nothing to foster Indian painting, his conquest of the Deccan introduced the “Deccani Kalm” in the south. Before the Mughal era died a natural death, it found expression inPatna (Bihar), where one or two families of painters got settled. After Aurangzeb the Mughal school lingered under the patronage of weak emperors. It revived under the Nawabs of Oudh. This was only a small insignificant incident in Indian art. It left no deep imprint or left no lasting heritage. With the coming of East India Company, many stranded or needy artists took to miniature painting or portraiture of the Barons of the “John Company” in half-European style. Cheap in quality, whose aim was commercial gain, the paintings have no value except to the historians or the curio-hunters. The roots of Mughal school never really entered deep into the Indian soil. Its exotic nature was foreign to the Indian temperament. But it gave, at its initial stages, some exquisite paintings which remain as landmarks in the history of Indian painting. The Rajput School and others The precursor of modern school of painting, the Rajput school, was Indian art unmixed with foreign exotic influences. It reveals marked influence of Ajanta style of painting. There were many “Kalm’sor side schools, such as Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Pahadi and Kangra. These artists painted not only miniatures, but also adorned the walls, of the palaces of ruling princes. In spite of the hectic political confusion that prevailed throughout Rajasthan from 16th to the 18th centuries, art and crafts grew in Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Mewar and Marwad. These artists painted scenes of temple-processions, feasts and festivals and also rural scenes. Work in ivory, brass, bronze and wood flourished side by side, specially in Jaipur. The Jaina artists produced illuminated manuscripts of Jaina tests. In Orissa art flowered, artists painting religious subjects. The artistic merit is dubious. In Bengal the “patua’s produced simple pictures of gods and goddesses and also the local life in the city. In the Punjab, under Ranjit Singh’s (1803-30) patronage a school of painters came into being, known as the “Kangra Kalm.” Other artists from the Punjab, sponsored by “John Company” produced strange miniatures and portraits in half-European style. As pure art, the works were not up to the mark. In Hyderabad some artists forced by Aurangzeb’s marauding armies settled in the Deccan. These artists created the “Deccani Kalm.” They did a number of pictures on semi-historical subjects associated with the rulers. Critics consider these works lacking in “breadth and finesse”. In Tanjore a group of artists settled there who had some link with the Rajput school. These immigrant artists were from Maharashtra. During the reign of Shayoji (1833-55), the last of Tanjore Rajas, 18 families of artists and craftsmen worked on ivory and wood, similar to the Jarah paintings of the North. These were done in water colour and encrusted with gems or precious stones. These artists also executed life-size portraits in oils of royalties which adorn the palaces of Tanjore and Pudukkottai. In Mysore, under the patronage of Raja Krishnaraya Wodeyar, a number of artists flourished who did paintings on ivory. With the death of the Raja the school came to an end in 1868. Mention here could be made of the paintings of Ravi Varma, all done in oils. He did many pictures on Indian mythology. But the quality is poor, and cannot be taken as representative of Indian art. The Revival of Indian Painting The revival came at the end of 19th century with the creative genius of Abanindranath Tagore. Many eminent persons were born in Jorasanko, Calcutta, in the house of the Tagores. SourindranathTagore gave new impetus to Indian music; Rabindranath gave new life to Bengali literature; Abanindranath and his cousin Gaganendranath opened a new path in Indian art. In fact, Tagore family has played a leading role in the cultural life of Bengal and became the source of inspiration to other provinces. It is not that other provinces lacked creativity in art-form and art-culture, but they produced objects not extraordinary or having vigour of genuine creation. Abanindranatb Tagore: He was ten years junior to the great poet and was his nephew. At the outset he began experimenting in oils and in portraits in the Western style. But these did not satisfy him. He turned to Ajanta and the Japanese painting which had deep impact on him. Further experiments followed and the result was the “wash-process” in water-colour. It was a long and tedious process, for it needed several washes, using the colours in slow process, till they gave out extraordinary depth. In contrast, water-colour or “aquarelle” as it is called by the Western artist, was a process of applying colours in a single sitting. This was done without pause or break. It was ideal for sketching on the spot. But Abanindranath discovered his own technique, which was neither European nor Japanese in the true sense. Like his students who came after him he painted subjects from the Puranas. Of these “Kacha and Devayani” and “Uma” are the most celebrated. Abanindranth was not only a painter, but he was a born story-teller, dramatist and essayist. His books for children like “Budo Angla” or “Rajkahan” are standard works in Bengali literature. Nandalal Bose: The chief student of Abanindranath, Nandalal had unique freedom of mind. No two pictures of his are the same. After his apprenticeship with his master, which was at the beginning of the century, he got the post of a teacher in Oriental School of Arts in Calcutta. From now on, he was on his own. And he went forth painting numerous pictures – of these the Shiva set, the Rama set and otherPuranic creations are unique. In fact, all his pictures are a class by themselves. From 1920 till he died in 1966, he was in charge of Kala Bhavan in Shantiniketan, where he taught students from all over India. His paintings are of divers kind and hence it would be difficult to pinpoint his style, which changed according to the picture or the subject. He executed everything with supreme ease and mastery. Ashit Kumar Haldar: Ashit lacked the variety that Nandalal had. His production is not so copious. Two of his paintings stand out as the most original and revelatory: “Nature mysterious” and “Krishna andYashoda.” Kshitimohan Sen: He was a Vaishnava at heart and as an artist. He has done many beautiful paintings on the life of Shri Chaitanya. Although he was a finished artist, his knowledge of human anatomy was not sound, hence all his pictures are not perfect. He died in poverty. Mukul Dey: His works are not numerous. But he had mastered both the oil painting and water colour. His portrait of Sri Aurobindo is good, but not outstanding. Gaganendranath Tagore: Gaganendranath Tagore, though a cousin of Abanindranath, was not anybody’s student. He developed his own style. He usually painted straight with the brush without any preliminary pencil sketch. He was prodigious in his output. He has done the life of Shri Chaitanya, also city-life, surrealistic and cutistic pictures and cartoons. In all he did, he put his peculiar stamp of originality. He died as a paralytic cripple. Pramodakomar Chatterjee: He learnt from many masters. He has painted pictures on the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas. He had his distinctive style. He held many jobs in Baroda, Masulipatamand Calcutta. He travelled widely, specially in the Himalayas and Tibet. He wrote a number of books on travel and fiction, also a few books of biography on the Tantriks. It would be difficult to pinpoint which of his paintings was the best. Debiprasad Roy Chowdhury: A painter, a sculptor, a writer and a man who loved his food, wine and women, Debiprasad had many talents. He would specially be remembered for his sculptures of eminent men which adorn the cities of India. He was the Principal of the School of Arts and Crafts, Madras. The Ukil Brothers: Sharada, Barada and Ranada Ukil, had a school of painting in Delhi in 1930s and 1940s. Sharada developed his own peculiar style, which is known as the “Oriental style”. He and his brothers were facile artists, paying little attention to details or anatomical perfection. In 1935 Barada, Ranada and Dhiren Verma went to London to paint the friezes of India House. Abdur Rehman Chagtai: His paintings were exotic, romantic and typical Persian in style. His colourings are subtle and deep, but as is common with many Indian artists, he lacked perfection in human anatomy. Jemini Sen: A master in his own right, he revived the “Patua” style of the last century, using bold colours, bold outlines and simple in composition. He had a new genre of painting which is unique in it own way. Ramendranath Chakravarty: He was the Headmaster of Indian School of Painting in Calcutta. He specialised, apart from water colour, in etching and dry-point. His most notable picture is “The Marriage of Siva.” Sunayani Devi: She hailed from the Tagore family. She did not execute many pictures. She did simple pictures of female faces. We are reminded of Greuze’s portraHs in comparison. Apart from these artists, we have a long list which might tire the reader. We mention some: Chintamoni Kar (He did a painting of Mahakali which he sent to Romain Rolland.), Sudhir Khastogir,Manishi Dey. Bijan Bihari Mukherjee, the blind artist, Ramgopal Vijayvargiya, Veerabhadra Rao, Chitra, Ravi Shankar Raval and Kanu Desai of Gujarat, Amrita Sher Gill from the Punjab, Deuskar fromShantiniketan. It would not be out of place to mention Atul Bose. He was a portrait painter of great eminence. He painted life-size portraits of King George V and Queen Mary which adorn the Buckingham Palace. Modern Indian Painting Painting today in India has lost both the tradition and originality we found a few decades earlier. Lost in the morass of commercialism on one hand and vague, meaningless abstraction on the other, the Indian artist is lost. He either apes his Western fellow-artists or goes in for money. If we look around we can find numerous examples. The Indian artist, at heart, does not know what he wants. He has lost sight of his ideal, and he is not aware which way he and his art are moving. He is dissatisfied with the past, but he is yet to discover sure anchorage in the present and the future. His life style and his greed for money have plenty to do to his present condition. He has no genuine goal before him. Talent he has, even some artists are geniuses in a loose sense; but these he employs to yield money, position and fame. The artist of the past had his goal before him and he had something which he lived for God or society. The modern artist has imbibed his cult from the West and his credo has become materialism.Specially for the Indian artist, it should not be so, for he has a definite tradition behind him, a great heritage he has inherited. Some rare Indian artists are there, who are few indeed, who have vision and aptitude. If they have courage, they can forge a new path in Indian art, a truly great art. These few artists we expect can give us something of value. Theirs will be the faint streak that will become one day the day of a glorious future. Back…...

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