A village in our very own India where people are recognsied by their work and not by religion.
This unique village is in Naya Pingal, West Midnapore in West Bengal. In this village, every wall is an artist’s canvass. The form of ancient folk art, ‘patachitra’ adorns every wall and the villagers don’t just paint, they also sing as they unfurl the scroll and show their artistry to the audience.
The village is a predominantly Muslim settlement, there are a number of Hindu artists as well. Living together in harmony, no one is recognised by their religion, but by their work and the suffix of “chitrakar” after their first name. It is no surprise to find a Muslim chitrakar painting a depiction of Hindu lore or vice versa.
This folk art form goes way back to the 13th century where artists travelled village to village, entertaining and educating people through the art. They were paid in the form of rice and vegetables.
Even till date, the paintings are done using natural sources like crushed flowers or fruits like marigold, saffron, turmeric and sometimes even the barks of trees. These were then mixed with the gum of the Bengal quince flower (bael) to make paint.
These are the real assets of our country, the true culture and traditions. Where have we left all this?