Moral values in puppet story - Up close at art camp
Tuesday , August 18 , 2009
Ranchi, Aug. 17: She is an art teacher-turned-social activist. She knows eminent activists of India and those of the US and Canada and believes in giving peace a chance. She was even arrested outside the Pentagon, US, for protesting against nuclear programmes.
Meet Shyamali Khastgir, the daughter of famous artist Sudhir Ranjan Khastgir — one of the early students of Nandalal Bose.
Primarily an artist rooted in Santiniketan, the septuagenarian lady who came to Bundu near Ranchi to attend an art camp organised in memory of her late father pointed out that villages have been neglected, though villagers have been feeding us.
Her dream, of villagers once again becoming self-reliant, prompted her to make two puppets for the art event from August 13-15 — one representing mother earth and the other an aboriginal [adivasi] headman. She used these to explain to children who came to the art camp why one should protect the environment and resist being taken over by outside culture.
On how she became involved with protesting against nuclear programmes, she said that once she found a crippled child who was born with a deformity due to suspected radiation exposure of his mother working as a nuclear physicist at a laboratory.
This, coupled with her “admiration for Bertrand Russell who got arrested protesting against nuclear tests and nuclear armaments”, prompted her to protest against nuclear programmes.
Source: The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Jharkhand | Moral values in puppet story
Address : http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090818/jsp/jharkhand/story_11372775.jsp
Date Visited: Tue Aug 16 2011 17:12:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)
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Excerpts from the obituary by Nigel Hughes
Shyamali Khastgir, June 23 1940 – August 15 2011
Shyamali Khastgir, who died on Independence Day 2011 after suffering an earlier stroke, transmitted her passion for life most expressively through her eyes. Her look was direct, searching and was described by some as dhukko (sad). It was also beautiful, reflecting the depth of her love of life and for all living, and the intensity with which she cared about a future in which she would take little direct part.
The daughter of painter and sculptor Sudhir Khastgir, a prominent member of the Bengal School of Indian Art, and of a mother who died tragically when Shyamali was very young, she grew up in DehraDun and was educated at Santiniketan. At the age of 21 she married Tan Lee, and the family lived in Kolkata where their son, Ananda, was born in 1966. Following a move to western Canada associated with Tan Lee’s work, Shyamali began to reflect on the environmental and human costs of economic and military development, becoming active in various groups sharing these concerns. She integrated these interests with her own background, seeing the relevance of Gandhi and Tagore to both the objectives and mode of dissent being practiced, and devising a unique style of cooking that integrated locally derived ingredients with aspects of Indian cuisine. […]
The influence of Tagore was further evident in the creative ways in which she expressed her varied commitments. A talented artist herself, she created posters that conveyed her convictions with striking force, and devised puppet shows that transmitted her messages to many who would not have received them otherwise. In this, as in all her life, Shyamali reached out to others without prejudgment or distinction, and for this she won the abiding affection of many. […]
From The Indian Express, Sun Mar 15 2009
Shyamali Khastgir took to the medium of art to train young minds to appreciate nature and work for the preservation of environment, among other things. Piyasree Dasgupta finds out more
[...] ”I was extremely shocked when India first tested a nuclear weapon,” she recollects.
So, Khastgir, who is also known as a peace activist, kept frequenting India even during her stay in America. She decided that she wanted to come to India and help people discover “invention” in better ways than making bombs.
“My father was an art teacher in Dehra Dun and I was sent to Santiniketan to study. He had great faith in Tagore and Nandalal Bose’s idea of education,” she reminisces. So, when Khastgir, then divorced, finally returned to India, she decided to spread her message through what she knew best — art. [...]
“Education through liberal arts is something that’s still catching up in India and West Bengal, especially, though Santiniketan used to be a seat of the same in the past,” she explains.
She hopes, and so do we, that she succeeds in teaching the generations to come, ways of using creativity in a positive way.
Source: For peace on earth – Indian Express
Address : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/for-peace-on-earth/434672/0
Date Visited: Sat Feb 23 2013 12:21:49 GMT+0100 (CET)
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