Patachitra is an ancient artwork of Bengal derived from the Sanskrit word Patta means cloth. The painters are called Patuas. Patuas not only paint, they also sing as they unfurl the painting scroll to show it to the audience. These songs are known as Pater Gaan. The songs are of wide variety ranging from traditional mythological tales and tribal rituals to stories based on modern Indian history and contemporary issues like protecting forests and preventing spread of HIV/AIDS. Patuas generally use natural colors, which is procured from various trees, leaves, flowers and clays.However with the present day efforts to market various products, the painters draw with artificial acrylic colors on t shirts, mugs etc to maintain the quality. The Patachitras have had their representation in the Puranas alike that of the paintings of the Ajanta, Ellora etc.
Thanks to a very encouraging effort by an NGO to preserve & promote a dying tradition and culture of our Beloved Bengal, my inquisitive wander lust pushed me hard to drop down to Naya on a Day Trip a few Days Back.The Visit was so inspiring that I promised to visit again only to happily experience the simplistic yet artistic lifestyle of a group of Muslim Villagers whose traditional paintings or "Patachitras" depicting stories from Hindu Mythologies and also contemporary events lately, have crossed national Boundaries.
My Drive to Naya was a smooth One. On Reaching Debra through NH 16, we turned left towards Balichak and from Mundamari Village we took another left turn towards Pingla and then had to ask frequently to the local people about this otherwise very insignificant an unknown village of around 10-15 huts, its worth probably not even well known to many who reside around there, as yet.
I must make a mentioning of the hospitable and generous behavior of the artists whom I met there. They were even kind enough to invite for a lunch with them considering that there were no decent eateries in the vicinity. The Warmth with which an Inquisitive Stranger was invited to their homes to showcase their Patachitra art work even sing from a few of them was fascinating. One of them also expressed his concern over the passing on of this tradition to the next generation, a few of whom have resorted to other profession already. The Work of Art that is done by the artists are so exquisite and flawless that by generations it is passed to the descendants and they directly paint with the brush on the paper or the cloth without having to do sketches on prior.
I have made a very humble effort to capture a few photographs as below to proudly showcase this tradition of my region.
Madhu & Hazra Chitrakar, Naya, Pingla, West Midnapore, West Bengal
Ranjit Chitrakar,Naya, Pingla
For Usage of the Photographs and Text, Please Contact Shoubhik Bandyopadhyay at +919830054189.