Painted Fables - Panchatantra Chitra

stories of the Panchatantra represent one of the earliest collections of folk
tales in world literature. This
marvellous book continues to inspire adults and children, its profound yet
simple messages on the wise conduct of life conveyed through fables.

The Lioness and the long Jackal by Venkataraman Singh ShyamCrafts Museum

Its complexities cloaked in fable, its prose punctuated with maxim and proverb, the Panchatantra is much more than a collection of animal tales. Over millennia it spread far beyond the boundaries of India. Not including the many versions in sub-continental languages and dialects, there are said to be over 200 adaptations of the Panchatantra which have travelled the world, ranging from a Pehlevi text (550-578 CE), to an Italian one from 1552. Its numerous retellings and recensions have ensured that for many it continues to reside in childhood memory.

This exhibition - Painted Fables - refreshes the memory and represents yet another instance in the long Indian tradition of narrative art. This goes back to the architraves of the Great Stupa at Sanchi and the murals in the caves of Ajanta, as well as to a parallel popular tradition of equal antiquity - itinerant performers. They traversed the villages, acting, singing and reciting stories from the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions. Taking from the epics and local legend, they used scrolls and single sheet pictures to dramatize didactic stories. These traditions continue through the medieval illustrated manuscripts commissioned by Emperor Akbar – including one of the Panchatantra, along with those of the Hamzanama and the Ramayana – to the present day. For as long as there are people who want to hear a story, there will be artists who will continue to interpret them.

The ten artists whose works are here displayed have each interpreted the masterpiece with wit and insight, informed by the varied artistic conventions of the forms they practice.

They range from the vibrant Gond artworks of Venkataraman Singh to Anwar Chitrakar’s expressive Pata painting from Bengal, from the whimsical worldview of Premola Ghosh to Purna Chandra Chitrakar’s classic Patachitra art of Odisha. If Mohan Kumar Verma’s Sanjhi paper-cuts reference the temple rituals of Mathura, then Noorjehan Chitrakar’s work tells us of Santal art. Though of the same Mithila tradition from Bihar, the stories emerge very differently in the intricate lines of Ambika Devi and the rich colours of Bharti Dayal. The self-taught Gurupada Chitrakar offers his interpretation in the Bengal Pata tradition while Prakash Joshi reinvents the fables through the Phad tradition of Rajasthan. Despite their diverse cultural geographies and their widely differing individual styles, the artists here share a bond, of the Panchatantra itself, elaborating the fables from their childhood universe.

Rich in anthropomorphism and human detail, the works are peopled by kings, queens, ascetics, merchants, princesses, Brahmins, everyday folk, and of course animals, standing in for human types and highlighting human morals. Whether the foolish donkey, the selfish swan or the sneaky jackal, each serves as metaphor and key to understanding Niti, or the wise conduct of life. Within each frame of this richly imagined exhibition the artists open the gateway to the wonder that is Visnusarma’s Panchatantra, engaging us, like the princes of yore, to ask with bated breath: “What happens next?”

The Greedy Cobra and the King of Frogs by Venkataraman Singh ShyamCrafts Museum

About the artist

Venkataraman Singh Shyam was born in 1970 in Sijhaora Mandla, Madhya Pradesh. He currently lives and works in Bhopal.

Venkat has been sketching and painting since he was seven years old. His talent was recognized by his uncle, master-artist Jangarh Singh Shyam who initiated the contemporary Gond art movement. After studying till Class 10, Venkat apprenticed with him. Later, to fund his passion in art, he came to Delhi and did various odd jobs. Venkat has worked in a range of media and styles. His work is widely collected and exhibited.

In recognition of his contribution to the Gond art form, Venkat was awarded the Rajya Hasta Shilpa Puraskar by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 2002 and the Sanskriti Award in Calcutta in 2010.

The camel with a bell around its neck by Venkataraman Singh ShyamCrafts Museum

Moral: Do not trust anybody blindly

One day a poor carpenter discovered three camels - two kids and their mother. He took them to his home and started to look after them. He used to take them to the forest for grazing and to the river for a bath.

He thought to himself, “Let these camels grow, they will mate and I’ll possess many more camels. Then I’ll become a camel trader. Our poverty will come to an end.” Whenever he used to ride the camels his neighbors would envy him.

In some years’ time, he owned several camels and became rich. The other villagers grew jealous of his new found prosperity.

One day one of his jealous neighbors asked him, “How will you know which one is roaming where unless you tie a bell on the neck of one?” The carpenter listened to his neighbor and decided to tie a bell on the neck of one of the camels.

The next time the camel went into the jungle, his bell tinkled.

A tiger lurking in the forest heard the bell and pounced on the camel to make him his prey. The camel died leaving behind a grieving carpenter.

The carpenter’s blind trust cost him dearly.

The Monkey and the Crocodile by Anwar ChitrakarCrafts Museum

About the Artist

Anwar Chitrakar was born in 1980 in Midnapur District, West Bengal. He studied till Class VIII and practices the Pata style of painting which he learnt from the elders in his family.

Pata painters are called Patuas. They paint on various themes, usually tribal myths and legends, and narrate the stories through songs as the scrolls are unfurled. The scrolls are made by sewing together sheets of paper or fabric. Old saris are glued to the back to strengthen the scroll. Natural colours from trees, leaves, flowers and clay are used to paint the stories.

Anwar received the prestigious President’s Award in 2006, the District Award in 2000 and the Haryana Tourism Award in 2006.

Moral: Use Your wits in a Difficult Situation

Raktamukha, the monkey, lived in a Jamun tree by a river. He would eat the sweet jamun and spend his time happily swinging from one branch to the other.

One day, Karalamukha, the crocodile, came to rest under the shade of the Jamun tree. Raktamukha picked some of the sweetest and juiciest jamuns and gave them to him. "Since you are resting under my tree, you are my guest and it is my duty to offer you these.”

Karalamukha enjoyed the fruit, thanked the monkey for his hospitality and went home. Karalamukha then started visiting Raktamukha every day and the two became good friends.

One day, Karalamukha asked for some jamuns to take home. Raktamukha gladly packed a whole bunch for Karalamukha who took them to his wife and told her about his monkey friend.

Karalamukha's wife loved the jamuns. "If these jamuns are so sweet and tasty, the monkey who eats them daily must be delicious! You must bring me that monkey's heart for my meal."

Karalamukha was shocked. "The monkey is my friend. How can I bring you his heart?” But Karalamukha's wife would not relent. In the end Karalmukha had to give in. When Karalamukha met Raktamukha the next day he invited him home for dinner.

Totally innocent of the crocodile’s evil plan, Raktamukha agreed. "But I can't swim”, he said. “How will I get to your house?" Karalamukha replied, "Don't worry, sit on my back and I'll carry you."

When they were in the middle of the river where the water was deep and Raktamukha had no chance of escape, Karalamukha decided to reveal his true intentions. “I lied to you, my friend. I am taking you to my wife because she wants to eat your heart for dinner.”

Raktamukha was stunned. His life was in grave danger. He replied quickly, “Oh dear friend, why didn’t you tell me earlier? I would have brought my heart along to offer to your wife but the problem is I am not carrying it with me. I keep it safely in the hollow of the tree where I live”. “Let’s go back and get it,” said Karalamukha.

As soon as they reached the shore, Raktamukha jumped off the crocodile and climbed hastily to the top of the tree. After a while, Karalamukha called out, “What is taking you so long up there?”

Raktamukha replied, “I am not coming anywhere near you. I managed to fool you and save my life. How can anyone take their heart out of the body and keep it separately? You are no friend. Go away and never return.”

The crocodile hung his head in shame and went home.

The Lion and the Clever Rabbit by Premola GhoseCrafts Museum

About the artist

Premola Ghose is Chief, Programme Division at the India International Centre, New Delhi. A self-taught artist, she has been painting, illustrating books and exhibiting her paintings for several years.

Recent books written and illustrated by her are - Tales of Historic Delhi (2011, Zubaan and Amber Press); The Magical Ride of Juley the Camel (2011, Amber Books).

Coronation of the owl by Premola GhoseCrafts Museum

Moral - Give advice when you have something constructive to offer

Once upon a time, all the birds of the forest decided to meet to discuss who should be their King since Garuda was no longer looking after them well.

They debated: "Garuda, who is the king of all birds, is always busy serving his master. He has neither the time, nor the interest to care about us! Let us choose a new king from amongst us!"

They started looking around. Suddenly everyone turned to the owl. He was powerful, had impressive features, and most importantly he could see at night, when they were most unsafe. They all agreed that the owl would be a good choice and started to prepare for his coronation.

The built an elaborate throne and when the owl was being escorted to it, a crow arrived. He inquired curiously, "What is the reason for this lavish celebration?"

The birds explained, "Garuda has no time for us. So we have denounced him and elected the owl to be our new King. Since you have just joined us, please tell us what you think.”

The crow, known for his smartness, smiled and replied, "In my opinion, the owl should certainly not be crowned King! The owl is blind by day. And look at him – why have an ugly King, when birds are known for their beauty. What do we gain from electing a new King? We already have Garuda. The mere mention of his name keeps our enemies away!”

On pondering the crow’s view, the birds were convinced, "He is right” they said. One by one, the birds flew away. Only the crow remained along with the owl and his wife who were still waiting to be crowned King and Queen.

Unable to understand what had transpired in the commotion, the owl asked his wife, "What is happening? Why is the coronation yet to begin? Why have all the birds left?"

His wife replied, "The crow seems to have convinced the others not to elect a new King. He has persuaded all to fly away. We should return home, too."

On hearing this, the owl was very upset. He shouted to the crow, "You are a wicked bird. I have not harmed you in any way, yet you stopped me from being King.” From today, I end all friendly relationships between crows and owls. They will be enemies forever."

The owl and his wife flew away. The crow, now all alone, started wondering, "Why did I speak? It was not necessary. Now, because of what I said, the mighty owls will always regard crows as their enemies.”

The Monkey and the Crocodile by Purna ChandraCrafts Museum

About the artist

Purna Chandra was born in 1976 in Raghurajpur (Puri), Odisha. He currently lives and works in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. After completing class 10, Purna went on to
study the traditional style of Patachitra painting.

Patachitra involves painting on fabric using rich colours to create the characters and motifs.

Purna uses tussar silk as the canvas for his paintings. Patachitra works have historically been found in and around the religious center of Puri especially in the village of Raghurajpur.

Influenced by his surrounding, Purna creates stunning paintings using this traditional technique. His work has been recognized by the Government of India and is the recipient of the National Merit Award (2007) and the National Award (2008).

The Brahmin's dream by Purna ChandraCrafts Museum

Moral - Do not build castles in the air

Once upon a time, there was a poor Brahmin, Swabhavakripna. He had no friends or relatives and lived alone in a village. He was known for his miserliness and used to beg for his living.

Whatever food he received as alms, he kept in an earthen pot hung beside his bed. Whenever he felt hungry, he ate some food from the pot.

One day, the Brahmin got a quantity of rice gruel so large that even after eating, a pot full was left.

The Brahmin was very happy to have such a quantity of food. He lay on his bed but he could not take his eyes from the pot. Soon he fell asleep and began to dream that the pot was overflowing with food.

He began to think in his dream that if there was a shortage of food in the village he might sell the pot for a hundred silver coins. With these silver coins, he would buy a pair of goats.

They would have kids every six months and soon he would have a herd of goats. He would trade the goats for buffaloes and cows. They would have their young ones who would soon give lots of milk.

He would sell the milk in the market and he would also make lots of butter and curd which he would sell too. Soon he would become richer than ever before. With his money, he would buy a large house with four buildings in a rectangle. Impressed by his affluence a wealthy Brahmin would marry his daughter to him.

Soon, the wife would deliver a son and he would name him Soma Sharma. The Brahmin would scold Soma, when he would play all day or make noise. But the naughty Soma would not listen and the Brahmin would pick a stick and run after him.

Buried in his dream, the Brahmin picked up the stick lying near his bed.

He started hitting in the air with the stick. But then he hit the earthen pot and the pot broke. All the contents spilled over him.

The Brahmin woke up to find it was all a dream. And all his dreams shattered as well.

The Crow and the water pitcher by Mohan Kumar VermaCrafts Museum

About the artist

Mohan Kumar Verma was born in 1971 in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, and currently lives and works there too. Mohan creates works of Sanjhi which is practiced in an around the temples of Mathura.

To create a Sanjhi design, freehand drawings are initially made on paper and these designs are then cut out using specially designed scissors.

The art generally depicts Indian mythological stories predominantly those of Lord Krishna. Mohan’s family is one of the few custodians of this ancient art form and has been practicing it for several generations. With the active encouragement from several individuals and organisations, this art for has progressed from traditional stencils to paper cut works in intricate and beautiful designs specially commissioned for contemporary interiors.

The Crab and the Heron by Mohan Kumar VermaCrafts Museum

Moral - Use your wit to overcome an adverse situation

A heron lived near a big lake, full of fish and other water creatures. But the heron had grown so old that he could not catch fish anymore. With each passing day he became lean and weak. Unable to bear the hunger, he devised a plan.

He sat at the edge of the lake in full view of everyone and began to cry. A passing crab took pity, "Uncle, what is the matter? Why are you crying instead of catching fish?" Continuing his act, the heron replied, "My child, I will not touch fish anymore. I have decided to renounce all worldly matters, and vowed to fast unto death."

The crab asked, "But if you have indeed renounced worldly matters, why is it you cry?"

The heron explained, "My child, I have been in this lake from my birth. I have grown up here. And now that I have grown so old, I have heard from a wise astrologer that this lake will dry up as there will be no rains for the next twelve years".

The crab was taken aback by the news and shared it with the other water creatures. Soon everybody started to panic. They believed the heron, as he was not trying to catch any fish at all, and asked him to guide them and save them from disaster.

The heron said, "There is a lake not far from here. It is full of water, and beautifully covered with lotus flowers. I can take you there, if you can ride on my back." As he had already gained their confidence, they gathered around him and requested him to carry them one at a time to the other lake.

Every day he would carry them pretending to take them to the other lake but after flying a little away he would smash them against a rock and eat them up. He would then return to the lake and make up stories about how happy they all were in the other lake.

This went on for many days until the crab said to the heron, "Uncle, you take others to the lake but it is me who is your first friend. Please take me there too."

The heron was happy to hear this. "Having a fish everyday has become monotonous. Good that I will get to eat a crab today."

While the heron was carrying the crab to the same rock, the crab looked down from above and saw a heap of bones and skeletons.

At once, the crab understood what the heron was up to. He remained calm, and said to the heron, "Uncle, the lake seems far and I am quite heavy. You must be getting tired, let us stop for some rest".

The heron was confident that there was no way the crab could escape from him in the sky. The heron replied, "There is no lake. As I do every day, I will smash you against a rock and make a meal out of you."

Soon as the heron confessed the truth, the crab got hold of the heron's neck with its strong claws, and strangled him to death. Slowly, carrying the crane's neck, the crab reached the lake where he told all his friends the truth of what had happened. Then proudly he said, "I understood what he was up to, and have killed the trickster. There is no need to worry, for we are safe in this lake.”

The Mongoose and the Brahmin's son by Noorjehan ChitrakarCrafts Museum

About the artist

Noorjehan Chitrakar was born in Kespur, mid West Midnapur District of West Bengal. She is about 30 years old and lives and work in Pingla, West Bengal. Noorjehan Chitrakar is a member of the community of Patuas or scroll painters from West Bengal.

These scrolls are a pictorial narrative of folklore and mythological stories. Noorjehan started 'patchitra' door-to-door storytelling

She paints the scrolls in natural vegetable dyes made from ingredients like and coal dust, lime, soda, raw turmeric, clay and straw that are mixed in coconut shells.

Noorjehan started story telling when she was 12. She sings songs that elaborate the paintings, as she unfolds the scrolls before the viewers.

Moral: Think carefully, do not act in haste

A Brahmin, Dev Sharma, lived with his wife in a town. One day, his wife gave birth to a son and they were very happy.

On the very same day, a mongoose gave birth near his house, but the mother mongoose died soon after. Out of compassion the Brahmin and his wife adopted the baby mongoose and started looking after him as their own son.

The Brahmin’s wife was a fond mother for both her son and the mongoose. She fed them and bathed them.

Her son and the mongoose too were very fond of each other and spent all the time together. However, the Brahmin’s wife was always on guard, because she was conscious the mongoose was an animal.

"He is a mongoose and will soon develop the animal instincts he has inherited from his species. Someday, he may harm my own son. I must always keep a watch on him."

One day, as she went out with a pitcher to fetch some water she asked her husband to keep watch over their son as she had just put him to bed. "Please make sure the mongoose does not hurt him." But the Brahmin was careless. He got dressed and went out to beg for alms leaving the little mongoose and their son on their own.

As it happened, during this very time a poisonous snake entered the house and was making its way to the son’s bed.

When the mongoose saw this, he attacked his natural enemy. He had to defend the child, who was like a brother to him. Although he was small and the snake was strong, he fought with all his might and bit the snake into pieces, eventually killing it. His mouth and claws were all smeared with the snake's blood.

The little mongoose was very proud of himself, and waited outside the house for the Brahmin's wife to arrive. He was eager to show his mother how brave he was.

The Brahmin's wife was rushing back in a hurry when she saw the little mongoose coming towards her. She noticed he was covered in blood, and jumped to the conclusion that he must have attacked her son. Angry and upset, she threw the heavy pitcher full of water on the mongoose.

The mongoose was killed on the spot. She ran inside, and was amazed to see her son sleeping safely in his cradle. She spotted the snake which had been bitten into pieces near the cradle. She then realized what had happened and was heart-broken. She had killed the little mongoose who had been like a son to her.

The Bird with two heads by Ambika DeviCrafts Museum

About the artist

Ambika Devi was born on 17 January 1979 in Rashidpur, Bihar. She completed high school in Bihar and has studied Mithila Painting under the guidance of her mother. Ambika has participated in several group shows in Delhi and Mumbai. She now lives in New Delhi and works with non-profit organisations teaching students traditional arts and crafts.

Ambika Devi uses natural carbon paint with a fine nib to create the intricate lines of her Mithila drawings. The paper is handmade and treated with natural products such as neem leaves and clay. The motifs in her paintings are derived from those typical of the region of Mithila, yet she integrates new themes and formats with traditional techniques. She received a National Award in 2009.

Moral: Don’t be selfish and learn to share

On a Banyan tree by the bank of a river, there lived a strange bird named Bharunda. The strangeness of the bird was that it had two heads, but only one stomach. One day, the bird was wandering by a lake and found a red-golden fruit, which appeared delicious at first sight.

One of the two heads mumbled, “Oh what a fruit. I am sure the heavens have sent it for me. I am so lucky.” He started eating the fruit with immense pleasure and claimed it was the most delicious fruit he had ever eaten.

One of the two heads mumbled, “Oh what a fruit. I am sure the heavens have sent it for me. I am so lucky.” He started eating the fruit with immense pleasure and claimed it was the most delicious fruit he had ever eaten.

Hearing this, the other head said,” O dear, let me also taste the fruit you are praising so much”. The first head laughed and said, "You know that we've only one stomach, whichever head eats, the fruit will go to the same stomach. So, it makes no difference whether I eat it or you. Moreover, I'm the one who found this fruit. So I have first right to eat it".

The other head felt disappointed. This kind of selfishness irked him very much.

Later one day, the other head found a tree bearing poisonous fruits. He took the poisonous fruit and told the first head, “You selfish fellow. I will eat this fruit and avenge your insult.”

The first head yelled, "Please don't eat this poisonous fruit. If you eat it, both of us will die, because we have the same stomach."

The other head replied, “Shut up! As I have found this fruit, I have every right to eat it.” The first head started crying. The other head did not bother. He went ahead and ate the fruit and both lost their lives.

Coronation of the owl by Bharati DayalCrafts Museum

About the artist

Bharati Dayal was born in 1961 in Samastipur, Bihar. She currently lives and works in New Delhi.

Samastipur is a region that finds great eminence in ancient Indian history and boasts a rich heritage of folk paintings called Mithila or Madhubani paintings. Being artistically inclined, Bharti learnt this form from the elders of her family.

Bharati uses natural vegetable dyes on handmade papers and fabric colours on cotton and silk fabrics in her paintings. Bharati is deeply committed to this traditional Indian style of painting and is associated with teaching this art form to several uneducated and indigenous Madhubani painters in Bihar.

The Talking Cave by Bharati DayalCrafts Museum

Moral: Use your common sense to protect yourself

The lion, Bharanakhara, ruled over a part of a jungle. One day, despite having wandered around the jungle for hours, he had not found prey and was returning home at sunset, tired and hungry.

As he passed a big cave he thought: "An animal must surely live in this big cave and is bound to return. I shall hide here and wait for my dinner." The cave was the home of a jackal.

Soon after the lion had hidden himself, the jackal returned. As he was entering the cave, he noticed there were lion footprints going into the cave, but none coming out.

He thought, "if a lion is here I will be dead as soon as I enter. But, how can I be sure? I must find a way to confirm if a lion is inside or not.” He came up with a plan.

Standing in front of the cave he began to shout: "Hello Cave! Hello Cave! Can I come inside?"

He waited in silence a few moments, and then shouted again, "Hello Cave! Have you forgotten our understanding of all these years? I wait for your reply before I enter. Why are you silent today? I shall have to go to some other cave if you do not reply."

On hearing this, the lion thought, "the cave must reply to the jackal when he returns at sunset. It is because I am inside that the cave is not replying today. I must invite the jackal on behalf of the cave, or he will go away."

So, from inside the cave the lion replied, "hello Jackal, you may enter. It is safe inside." The voice echoed through the walls of the cave and frightened the jackal who realized the lion was lying in wait. He fled as fast as he could to safety.

The Crab and the Heron by GurupadaCrafts Museum

About the artist

Gurupada Chitrakar was born in 1965 in Naya Village, West Bengal. He is part of a community of Pata scroll painters, also known as Patuas, from West Bengal.

These scrolls are pictorial narratives of folklore. The scrolls are made by sewing together sheets of paper usually backed with fabric, and are then painted with vegetable dyes mixed with vegetable gum.

Though not formally trained, Gurupada learnt how to paint from his family and community.

Gurupada also composes the songs which accompany the stories and are sung as the scroll is unfurled.

Gurupada has been the recipient of the State Award for the year 1993-94, Kalashri Award in Suraj Kund in 1997 and the National Award in 2004.

The foolish Lion and the clever Rabbit by GurupadaCrafts Museum

Moral: Intelligence is superior to physical strength

Once upon a time, there lived in a dense forest a cruel lion, Bhasuraka. He was very arrogant, powerful and ferocious. All the other animals in the forest were his prey. This became a cause of great worry for them because they felt soon there would be no animals left. They decided they should meet the lion and arrive at a friendly agreement with him. They invited the Bhasuraka to attend the meeting and gathered under a big tree.

The representative of the animals said,” Your Majesty, it is our joy that we have you as our king.” The lion thanked them and asked, “What is the matter? Why we have gathered here?” The animals looked at each other. They were trying to gather the courage to open the subject.

One of them stood up and said, "Sir, it’s natural that you have to kill us for your food. But killing more than what is required is not sensible. If you keep killing animals without purpose, there will soon come a day when there will be none left in the forest.”

The lion roared, “So what do you want?” One of the animals replied, “Your Majesty, we have already discussed the problem amongst ourselves and have come upon a solution. We have decided to send one animal daily to your den. You can kill and eat it the way you like. This will also save you the trouble of hunting.”

The lion replied, “Fine. I accept this proposal, but make sure the animal reaches me in time. Otherwise, I will kill all the animals here.” The animals agreed. From that day onwards, an animal was sent to the lion daily for his meal. The lion was happy to have his food right there in front of him without needing to make any effort.

One day it was the turn of a rabbit to go to the lion’s den. The rabbit was old and wise. He did not want to go, but the other animals insisted he go. The rabbit then thought up a plan which would save his life and the lives of the others as well. He took his own sweet time to get to the lion’s den, reaching a little later than the appointed time.

The lion was becoming impatient with the delay and when he saw a small rabbit for his meal he was enraged. He swore he would kill them all.

The rabbit explained with folded hands, “Your Majesty. I am not to be blamed. Actually, six rabbits were sent for your meal, but five of them were killed and devoured by another lion. He also claimed to be the king of the forest. I somehow escaped to reach here safely."

The lion howled in great anger and said, “Impossible, there cannot be another king of this forest. Tell me, who is he? I’ll kill him. Take me to the place, where you saw him.”

The clever rabbit took the lion towards a deep well, filled with water. Pointing to it, the rabbit said, “This is the place where the lion lives. He might be hiding inside.” The lion looked into the well and saw his reflection. Thinking it was the other lion he started growling. The reflection in the water was equally angry. Increasingly furious and agitated, the lion jumped into the well to attack the ‘other lion’, hit his head against the rocks and drowned in the deep well.

The rabbit, with a sigh of relief, returned to the other animals and narrated the story. All the animals were overjoyed and thanked the rabbit for his wisdom and intelligence.

What Fate ordained by Prakash JoshiCrafts Museum

About the artist

Prakash Joshi was born in 1979 in Bilwara, Rajasthan and is a Phad artist.

Phad painting is a popular style of folk painting, practiced in Rajasthan. This style of painting is done on a long piece of cloth, known as phad and the narratives include the folk deities of Rajasthan.

Traditionally, the phads are painted with vegetable colors. All the Phad drawings have a method and even the colours for the paintings are— orange, yellow, green, brown, blue, red and black. Stone is crushed to form a powder which is then mixed with tree gum and handmade brushes are used to paint on hand-woven cloth.

Prakash learnt his art from his father Nand Kishore who is an established Phad artist.

The Hunter and the Doves by Prakash JoshiCrafts Museum

Moral: Unity is strength

A long time ago, in a jungle there lived a deer, a mouse and a crow. They were very good friends and used to spend most of their time with each other.

One day, a turtle came to them and said, “I’m all alone in the jungle. I want to join your group and become your friend.” “You are most welcome to join our company,” the three friends said. The crow asked the turtle, “But what about your safety? You know that the jungle is full of dangers. Many hunters keep coming to the forest regularly. Suppose a hunter attacks, how will you save yourself?” The turtle replied, “That is the main reason I want to join your group.”

The four of them had hardly finished talking when they noticed a hunter approaching them. Quickly, in fear for their lives, the deer ran away into the forest, the crow flew high in the sky and the mouse darted into a nearby hole.

The turtle being a slow mover could not crawl away fast enough and the hunter trapped him in a net. Though the hunter was disappointed that he had not caught the deer, he felt that at least he had a turtle to eat for dinner.

The deer, the mouse and the crow were very upset to see the turtle trapped and made a plan to free their new friend. The deer lay on the hunter’s path and pretended to be dead while the crow sat on the deer’s face and pretended to pick his eyes.

The hunter who was walking with the turtle in a net on his shoulders saw the deer and thinking it was dead, let go of the net with the turtle and went after the deer. The crow flew to the highest branch and the deer fled as fast as he could. In the meantime, the mouse gnawed through the net and let the turtle out. When the hunter returned to the spot to pick up the net he found the turtle had escaped.

Perplexed by these strange happenings the hunter became frightened and ran away from the jungle as fast as he could.

The turtle thanked his three friends for saving his life. Thereafter, the four friends lived together happily.

Credits: Story

Exhibition at Crafts Museum, in collaboration with Delhi Crafts Council, November 2014.

Online exhibit credits :
Consultants - Digitization, Crafts Museum
- Gunjan Tripathi, Visetuonuo Kiso and Habib Ahamad

Credits: All media
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