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Scroll Paintings of West Bengal is integral component of India’s versatile Culture, have enough admirers to ensure survival

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New Delhi, May 5, 2017: Works of art and paintings have been an integral component of India’s versatile culture and a recent book attempts to capture minute details and important facets of the scroll paintings of Bengal. The author says that the art has enough admirers to ensure its survival.

“The future of Bengali pata paintings looks healthy to me. Even with the charm of electronic arts growing stronger by the day, people are drawn to patas, perhaps more today than 50 years ago,” the author, Mandakranta Bose, told IANS in an email interview.

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“Several cultural organisations and the West Bengal state government continue to nurture the production and marketing of patas and the patuas (scroll painters) themselves are skilled at presenting their work to the public, for instance, at the Calcutta Book Fair. The art of the pata may not be as popular as Bollywood movies but it has enough admirers to ensure its survival,” she added.

“The Ramayana in Bengali Folk Paintings” (Niyogi Books/Rs 795/130 Pages) attempts to explain how scroll paintings have become an inseparable part of storytelling, inculcated as a prerogative of the itinerant bard and the village artisans of all times.

Treated as “heritage” throughout Bengal, the paintings are drawn in colourful and vibrant style on “patas”, or scrolls, with vegetable colours and other indigenous dyes. Each scroll depicts one single incident or episode from the epic and the next set of narration follows the other, forming a narrative format that is much like a film roll or a comic strip.

“Some years ago in Medinipur district of West Bengal, while I was investigating more on the paintings, a ‘patua’ painter compared Rama to George Bush in his paintings. While Rama succeeded in bringing his warriors home, would Bush be able to do the same for his soldiers fighting in Iraq, was the question the painter tried to ask through his works,” Bose recalled.

The author said that it is in this way that the ‘patua’ painters make the past relevant to the present.

How are the Bengali scroll paintings different from the other scroll paintings?

Although painted scrolls are found in many diversified folk art traditions of India, Bengali scrolls stand out for their sustained and elaborate narrative treatment, built upon “focused plots and clear-cut characters” reflecting specific themes. In the context of the technique as well, the paintings can be distinguished by their gallant colours and bold lines, she said.

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The author of this well-researched book was first introduced to the patas of West Bengal at a friend’s home in Kolkata.

“Over the years, on my visits to Kolkata, I came across more and more of these paintings in the circles of my academic friends. I also found out that this art form was slowly gaining popularity amongst art collectors and academicians. The more I looked at these patas, the more I was drawn to them as much for their artistic form as for their narrative power,” she added. (IANS)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.