archana hande

 

 

Video-1 --“An Epic”
Duration: 30mins 47sec

 

Video-2--“A Tale”
Duration: 40mins 13sec

 

Story Books

 

 

Tales of Patachitrakar


This work is based on the Midnapur scroll painters. Midnapur is one of the biggest districts in West Bengal. It is divided into two parts - west Midnapur and east Midnapur. The Scroll painters are called ‘Pata-Chitrakars’, but popularly as ‘Patuas’. These painters use to be nomads; they had no religion of their own. Later wherever they settled, they adopted the religion of the ruling king, so that they could survive there. They all have Muslim and Hindu names – few of their relatives are Hindu and few are Muslims.

These ‘Patuas’ have been working on topics like Sept 11th, the Gujarat carnage, the Afghan war and numerous contemporary issues. ‘Patuas’ are a progressive group of artists, and few are scared of controversy, though they try to maintain a balance, especially when it comes to communal issues. ‘Patuas’ would say they have taken the responsibility to maintain it for the sake of The Society and The Country. Nowadays if you notice (they too agree) ‘Patuas’ try and make two ‘pats’ (scroll) of the same issue, one is for sale, one is for their satisfaction. It depends who is the viewer/buyer, if you give them a chance they would narrate a pat which goes against the patron’s ideology. But to be in a safer side they make two types, so that they can earn their living.

Now they have a religion stamped over them, ‘Patuas’ who have taken the Muslim religion must be careful before they open their mouths and convey their thoughts, and often this is impossible. As one of the ‘Patuas’ who worked on Gujarat Riots said: ‘didi’ (elder sister) I am a Muslim, so how can I show who is in fault— I have narrated the Gujarat happenings in a love story form’.

But the beautiful thing with the ‘Patuas’ is that their works or thoughts don’t identify them with any religion. You only realise their affiliation when they tell you what religion they have adopted.

This film focuses on their social political thoughts and their present status in a leftist society (West Bengal is ruled by the CPI(M) Communist Party Of India(Marxist)).