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Showing posts with label Arts and Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arts and Culture. Show all posts

Indian Festivals

Due to the vast cultural diversity of the country, New Year`s is celebrated at different times of the year, in keeping with the religious and traditional customs of the various communities. The majority of celebrations are assigned to the time of year calculated on the basis of the lunar calendar.

A comprehensive understanding of the New Year festivals of India will be facilitated by means of a region-wise discussion of the same.

New Year celebrations in North India usually usher in the spring and celebrate the new harvest. Almost all over the North, it is celebrated on Baisakhi day, which is the New Year in Punjab. It falls sometime in mid-April when the harvest ripens and its time to get reaped. On this day, people visit the temples and Gurudwaras, offer prayers, visit friends and family. Men can be seen doing the Bhangra and women the Giddha dance and the day is enjoyed with a lot of merriment, food, song and festivity.

Himachal Pradesh celebrates Chaitti and Basoa as New Year festivals. It is the first day of the year according to the Vikram Samwat of the Hindu calendar. Chaitti is celebrated on the fourteenth of April and Basoa is celebrated on the first day of the month of Baisakh. The farming folk celebrate Basoa. Three days before the festival, little cakes are made with kodra flour and wrapped up in leaves and left to ferment. These are then opened and eaten on New Year`s Day, shared with relatives and friends and accompanied by honey and sweet water. Ritual songs are also sung on this day.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir celebrates New Year with the Navreh festival. It coincides with the first day of the Chaitra Navratras. The new year is celebrated with a lot of festivity and gaiety.

New Year celebrations in South India begin during the month of Chittirai which lasts from April 14th to May 14th. On this day, people read the Ramayana and go to the temples, the Hindu places of worship. Children burst crackers, people wear new clothes and prepare special dishes and the elders of the house give out money to the children, servants and tenants. It is celebrated with great pomp and gusto among the different states of the South.

In Kerala, the festival of Lord Vishnu ushers in the New Year. It is celebrated on the first day of the Malayalee month of Medam. On this day, special offerings to the divine in the form of Vishukanni, which consists of rice, linen, cucumber, betel leaves, holy texts, coins and yellow flowers called konna. A bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is placed alongside

In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the New Year falls on the first day of the month of Chittarai. It is believed that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day of Ugadi. This day marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon`s orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the New Year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples. Ugadi is also an auspicious day to embark on any new endeavor.

New Year in Tamil Nadu also begins on the first day of the month of Chittarai. Known as Puthandu or Varshu pirappu, on this day, women draw patterns or kolams, lamps called kuttivalliku are lit and the Kanni ritual takes place. A car festival is held on this day at Tiruvadamarudur, near Kumbakonam.

In eastern India, New Year is celebrated on the calculations of the Hindu Solar calendar or the Surya Siddhant. The first day of this calendar is celebrated as New Year in most states in the East, including West Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Tripura. This calendar too co-incides with the advent of the harvest season, which is a great cause for celebration almost all over India.

West Bengal celebrates Nabo Borsho or Poila Baisakh on the 14th of April. It marks the beginning of a new financial year, like Diwali in the North. The celebrations include prabhat pheries, song and dance, a dip in the holy Ganga River, decorating the houses with rangoli and alpana and a whole lot of rejoicing.

The Assamese new year or Bihu falls on April 15th, 14th is the New Year`s Eve. The celebrations commence with Goru Bihu on the fourteenth, when the Goru or cows are washed, decorated and worshipped. This is followed by manuh or Human Bihu on the 15th which is New Year`s Day.

New Year in Orissa is celebrated on the fourteenth as well, and the speciality in Orissa is the Pana. It is a sweet drink made to offer to the Gods, guests, wayfarers as well as the birds and animals. This is known as the Jal or Pana Sankranti.

Western India celebrates New Year by welcoming the Vasant or the first day of spring. This is considered to be the day from which time started to tick, and every minute of this day is considered auspicious. 

Maharashtra celebrates the Gudi Padwa on this day Gudi or Brahma`s flag is hoisted in each house as a symbolic victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.

In Gujarat the Bestu Varas falls on the second day of Diwali. Gujaratis follow the Vikram Samwat of the Hindu calendar system. The day starts with heavy fireworks in the morning. Local boys sell raw salt called sabres to make the New Year prosperous. Houses are decorated with aaso palav and marigolds, rangolis are made beside the door and home made snacks are offered to the guests and neighbours who come to visit and celebrate.

The north-east too has its own unique and various ways of celebrating the New Year. The Sikkimese New Year is known as the Losoong. It is a Buddhist festival marks the end of the harvest season. Though Mela Losar is the new year of the Tibetan community, it is celebrated with great pomp by the Sikkimese society. Himalayan Buddhist communities celebrate this festival, especially at Dharamsala. They celebrate it by making offerings to the gods, both in gompas and in their domestic shrines. Ancient rituals mark the festival, stage fights between good and evil and passing through the crowds with fire torches. Archery contests are held amidst much feasting and merry making. The other states of the North-East also celebrate the New Year in a number of different and unique ways.

These then are a few of the myriad forms of New Year celebrations held in India. Though every community and even region has its own time of year marking the advent of the New Year, it must be stated here that the entire country, in keeping with the global Christian system celebrates New Year on the 1st of January. For all practical purposes, this is taken to be the start of the New Year.

Last updated on: 30/09/2019


Indian Painters

There are a significant number of painters in India who have made adequate contribution to the world of art and are known through out the globe. Painting has a diverse history in the art and culture of India. Beginning from the ancient times through the medieval times and the present modern days, painting has evolved from murals and miniatures to contemporary style with tinges of modern art, which is abstract as well as real. The most popular Painters of India have been mentioned below-

Abanindranath Tagore
Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) is regarded as the founder of the neo-Indian school of painting, known as the Bengal School and is one of the important painters of India. He was a major proponent of Swadeshi values in the tradition of art. That is the reason why he advocated for the Mughal and Rajput styles, which could stop the influx of western ideas of art. He was also regarded as a renowned writer.

Amrita Shergil
Amrita Shergil (1913-1941) can be regarded as one of India`s first modernist painters and is therefore one of the prominent painters of India. She was educated in Florence and Paris and developed a style that was exhibited in her works. She was an avid traveller, which resulted in the production of trilogy of 1938, The Bride`s Toilet, Brahmacharis and Villagers Going to the Market. Special traits in her work were a definite facial type and Physiogamy, which shows her women taking a narcissistic turn. Her artistic venture was more of a hybrid nature incorporating oriental and western backgrounds.

Nandalal Bose
Nandala Bose (1883-1966) is considered as one of the best modern painters of India. He was influenced by the Tagore family and the mural paintings of Ajanta which can be seen in his works. His subjects were basically themes from Indian mythology, villages and the women. He was the principal of the Kala Bhavan at Shantiniketan in the year 1922.

Dhiraj Choudhury
Dhiraj was born in 1936, in Bengal, and is known for his excellent artwork all over the world. Not only he has created wonderful pieces of art and been the ex professor in the College of art New Delhi University, he had also directed many projects on societal values and human race.

Jahar Dasgupta
Jahar Dasgupta is a contemporary painter born in 1942 in Jamshedpur. His paintings convey a message and are straight and firm in their execution. By using soft yet bright transparent colour, he is successful in sending the messages right across. He was trained initially in Shantiniketan under legendary artists like Ramkinkar Baiz and Benode Behari Mukherjee.

Raja Ravi Verma
Raja Ravi Verma (1848-1906) was born in Kilimanoor Palace, and is considered as combining traditionalist`s traits and rationalist tendencies among the moderns. Raja Ravi Verma is recognised by the depiction of scenes from the epics of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He won the first prize in the Vienna Art Exhibition in 1873, and this brought him into the limelight.

Jatin Das
Jatin Das, was born in Mayurbhanj in Orissa, and has some great artistic achievements into his account. His focus basically lies on man-woman relationships, in different phases of emotional turmoil, crisis, revelation and other moments. Human forms, mostly painted in nudes, sometimes birds and animals constitute his subject of study. Jatin Das with his artistry and creativity is therefore indeed one of the eminent painters of India.

M.F Hussain, born in 1915, is considered one of the most important and criticised artist. Beginning with painting huge cinema posters, he was among the group of artists who wanted to break away from the nationalist traditions of the Bengal school of art, starting an Indian avant-garde in a more widespread manner, international manner. His works have often been disputed by religious organisations. M F Hussain died on June 9th, 2011, at the age of 95, due to a heart attack at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

Satish Gujral
He was born in Jhelum, a small river town in Pakistan, formerly a part of undivided India in 1925, and recognised as one of the renowned contemporary artists, as well as sculptor, architect and writer and one of the great painters of India. He has experimented with plastic art, sculpture murals and also graphics. He has won the National Award for three times, and exhibited his works in India and abroad. He was also awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1999.

Amrita Shergill
Amrita Shergill was a renowned Indian painter. She was one of the most charismatic and promising Indian artists of the pre-colonial era. Most of her paintings reflect vividly her love for the country and more importantly her response to the life of its people.

Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy was one of the most significant and influential painters of the 20th century. He was born in a middle-class family in 1887 at Beliator village in Bankura district of Bengal. His father Ramataran Roy was an amateur artist who, after resignation from government service, spent the rest of his life in his village amidst the potters.

Tyeb Mehta
Tyeb Mehta was a well known Indian artist, who was known all over the world for his brilliant painting. A multifaceted personality, he also dabbled in filmmaker and made a mark there. He held the record for the highest price for which an Indian painting has ever been sold, in a public auction. It was his triptych painting Celebration that, on being sold for 15 million Indian rupees ($300,000 USD), gave him this honor.

Anjolie Ela Menon
Anjolie Ela Menon is among India's lending contemporary female artists, who have created a name for themselves in the domestic as well as international art scenario. Her works are a part of significant painting collections across the globe. One of her art works, 'Yatra' was recently picked up by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco at California in the year 2006.

Francis Newton Souza
Born on 12 April 1924 to a Goan couple, Francis Newton Souza was an eminent Indian artist of his time. He was among that early crop of painters who hold the credit of popularizing Indian art in the western countries. Francis Newton Souza was the student of the Sir JJ School of Art in the Mumbai city.

Rameshwar Broota
Born in the year 1941 at Delhi, Rameshwar Broota has emerged as one of the most prominent painters of India in the present times. Having an innate passion for art, he joined the College of Art in the capital city during the year 1964. And he went to become the head of the well-known institute Triveni Kala Sangam devoted to the promotion of art and culture in the year 1967.

SH Raza
S.H. Raza, who was born in the year 1922 as Syed Haider Raza, is a internationally acclaimed Indian painter. Though he has resided and worked from France since the 1950s, yet he maintains close association with his motherland till date. Though he incepted doing figurative paintings, he gradually moved on to abstract later on.

Manjit Bawa
Manjit Bawa, known for his striking portrayal of spirituality and simplicity through his paintings, was a one of the highly-skilled artists India has had. Born in a small town of Dhuri, Punjab; it was tough-going for him to bring out his love for spirituality and nature onto the canvas,

Nandalal Bose
Highly influenced by renowned artist Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose gave India its first experience of modern Indian style of painting. With an exemplary touch of renaissance in Indian painting, Nandalal Bose played a significant role in shaping up the modern face of traditional art through his deep thoughts of nationalism, philosophical inclination,

Bikash Bhattacharjee
Bikash Bhattacharjee, holder of two of the most prestigious awards: National Award and Padma Shri amongst many others, is a renowned Indian painter known for his spectacular depiction of reality as well as surrealism. Despite being born in Kolkata struck amidst a political turmoil and losing his father at an early age didn't stop him from discovering his true calling.

Binod Behari Mukherjee 
"The person who is not roused by a pulsating image, a small touch or sound, can make no sense of the word 'beauty'. A person who neither knows, nor thinks beyond his worldly needs has no use for beauty." For someone who spent a majority of his life with weak sight and finally became blind at the age of 50 to produce such an enviable body of works in the field of art and literature.

B. C. Sanyal
Bhabesh Chandra Sanyal, better known to us as B. C. Sanyal, is considered to have ushered in the era of modernism in Indian art. A painter, a sculptor and a teacher of art to three generations of artists, B. C. Sanyal lived through the different partitions that India went through in 1905, 1947 and 1971.

Mukul Chandra Dey
An established artist and one of the brightest students from Santiniketan during Rabindranath Tagore's era, Mukul Chandra Dey was the first Indian to go overseas to study printmaking as a form of art and profession. Mukul Chandra Dey traveled to different cities across America and Japan to learn printmaking


Indian Crafts

The Indian states have a wide range of crafts, which have attained commercial proportions not only in India but abroad as well. They make excellent souvenirs for tourists and are sold through various handicrafts emporium. 

Craft making is an ancient tradition in India, which has withstood the test of time, and the tradition has passed on from generation to generation. The Indian craftsmen still adept at making the traditional crafts, which have attracted the attention of connoisseurs of craft all over the world. The famous crafts of each Indian states are as follows:

The crafts of Andhra Pradesh are known for their aesthetic and utilitarian value and the crafts are also rich and flamboyant.

The crafts of Arunachal Pradesh are woodcarvings, weaving, carpet making, pottery and jewelry making.

The crafts of Assam bring out the artistic caliber of people living in the state. Weaving and embroidery are the chief crafts of Assam. 

The crafts of Chattisgarhspeak of the skill and artistic bent of the mind of the people living in the region.

The crafts of Bihar have their own patterns, styles and manifest the rich cultural heritage of the state. The crafts of Bihar include, stoneware, carpet making, glasswork and wood inlays.

The crafts of Goa are a commercial success and reflect the perennial glory of Goa. The chief craft forms in the state are pottery and terracotta, woodwork, brass and metal work, crochet and embroidery, bamboo craft, fibre craft, batik prints and metal embossing.

The crafts of Gujarat have been deftly passed on from generation to generation and are replete with vibrancy. The major crafts of Gujarat are fascinating textiles, elaborately carved wooden and stone jharokhas, bandhini and intricately carved silver jewelry.

The crafts of Haryana have never been widely acclaimed and more than artistic showpieces they are utilitarian in nature.

The crafts of Himachal Pradesh have a relatively good demand in the market and some of the major crafts of the region include textiles, woodcarvings, carpet making and pottery.

The crafts of Jammu and Kashmir are varied and diverse which range from woolen textiles, carpets and delicate designs worked on papier- mache.

The crafts of Jharkhand range from woodwork, bamboo works, pitkar paintings, tribal ornaments and stone carving.

The crafts of Karnataka bear testimony to the dexterity, and decorative abilities of the craftsperson. The crafts of the state include woodcarving, ivory craving, kasuti embroidery, durries, pottery and cheennapatna toys.

The crafts of Kerala bring alive the rich cultural tradition of the people living in the state.

The crafts of Maharastra flourish mainly because of the royal patronage it received in the past. The state is famous for crafts like, bidri ware, lacquer ware, toy making, weaving, printed textiles and Kolhapuri chappals.

The crafts of Madhya Pradesh have attained commercial proportions and are sold in emporiums and shops around the country.

Manipur is a storehouse of crafts and the people here are known to take a lot of interest in make new innovation in the craft.

The crafts of Meghalaya are unique in style and design and one of the famous craft of the state is weaving cane mats.

The crafts of Mizoram are made from locally available materials artistically and efforts are being made to promote the crafts.

The various crafts of Nagaland are woodcarvings, bamboo work, pottery, and black smithy, which have a commercial demand in the local and international market.

The crafts of Orissa are a rare combination of utility and beauty and this makes Orissa one of the leading states in craft making.

The crafts of Punjab are distinctly colourful which speak of the vibrant spirit of the people in the state. The range of crafts in Punjab include phulkari, woodwork, wood inlay, lacquerware, leather craft, floor coverings.

The crafts of Rajasthan have received patronage from royal dynasties in the past. Today, the craft industry is a major source of revenue in the state.

The crafts of Sikkim are as beautiful and magnificent as the scenic beauty of this mountainous state.

The crafts of Tamil Nadu include papier - mache, stone craft, pottery, woodcraft, embroidery, durries and metal ware.

The crafts of Tripura range from cane and bamboo crafts, handlooms and basketry.

Craft making is integrally related with the lives of the people living in Uttar Pradesh. Each city in Uttar Pradesh specializes in one type of craft.

The crafts of Uttaranchal include woodcarvings and ornaments making which have their own distinct style.

The crafts of West Bengal are so exquisite that they have a huge demand not only in the local market but abroad as well. 

Last updated on: 30/09/2019


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