Sunday, November 30, 2014

SANSAR CHAND BARU : THE FIRST MODERN PAINTER FROM JAMMU


                                                                           
                                             ( With  wife and Daughter Anuradha Rishi )


PANDIT  SANSAR  CHAND  BARU ( 1902-1995 )

Pandit Sansar Chand Baru ( 1902-1995 ), the first Modern   painter  from   jammu  ( fondly known as master ji ) shall always be remembered for his unique style ; A Grand fusion of Pahari and Modern Art  . 
                                                                          

                                          ( A Painting by Sansar Chand Baru )
It is believed that BARU community of Brahmins migrated from Assam and settled in Jammu and Himachal hills. They were Kul Purohits of various hilly Rajput rulers.  Pandt Dhanpat Baru ( Father of Sansar Chand Baru ) was Raj Purohit  to  Maharaja Partap singh and the family lived at Pucca Danga Jammu in Fattu Chougan locality. When Pandit Dhanpat  saw that his son was least interested in Academics , he requested Jagat Ram " *Chhuniyaa " , a noted artist during those days,  to impart some basic lessons in painting to Sansar chand .Young sansar chand was sharp in learning drawing . As time passed , this young boy matured to  a fine water colour Artist and got a permanent job as Drawing master in Government Technical Institute Kachhi Chhawni ( Presently Government Girls Higher Secondary school Kachhi Chhawani) Jammu .


As first  Curator of Dogra Art Gallery Jammu ( now Known as Dogra Art Museum )  , master ji is responsible for retrieving a large number of original Basholi Miniature Paintings from some influential individuals and preserving this invaluable Heritage for posterity .   For this, he repeatedly  contacted  Padha ( Upadhaya ) family  from Basholi  for  procuring  some valuable  Basholi Miniature paintings  .  The ancestors of Padha family were  Physicians to the rulers of Basholi   .  Sri Kunj Lal Padha of  Basholi  finally agreed to  present  about 70 paintings (  Rasamanjari theme  ) to Bakshi Ghulam Mohd  who  donated all this  Treasure to Dogra Art Gallery Jammu . Some paintings were also  gifted to Dr Karan Singh  by Kunj Lal Padha  .

The  Persian handwritten SHAAHNAAMA  was brought to Gogra Art Gallery through singular efforts of master ji . Credit goes to him for collecting numberless    artifacts  for  Dogra Art Gallery that include  Dogra costumes , Coins , Manuscripts , Handicrafts , Ornaments  , Terracotta Heads , sculptures  ,Metal Objects ,  intricately carved Marble  Jharokhas ,  Arms and  Stone Inscriptions in Takri   .

 In 1944 ,Alongwith Bhagwat Prasad Sathe , Deenu Bhai Pant , D C Prashant , Narayan Mishra and Prof Ram Nath Shastri , Master ji established DOGRI SANSTHA . And  Master ji was unanimously elected  to  head the SANSTHA as its first president .

In  1948, this    sanstha performed   “ Bawa Jitto Da Balidhaan “   the first Dogri Play  at Tikri . Due to his initiative , a grand exhibition of Paintings done by  Artists  from Duggar land was organized inside Technical Institute Kachhi Chhawani Jammu . In 1952    ,  Dogri Sanstha organized  another exhibition of paintings  (done by artists from Jammu ) at New Delhi   .
Master ji took personal interest for compilation  of “ JAAGO  DUGGAR  ”  the  first collection of Dogri poems published by Dogri Sanstha   . JAAGO  DUGGAR   was followed by NAMEE  CHETNA.  NAMEE  CHETNA  was  initially published from Delhi but finally DOGRI SANSTHA   started its full time publication from Jammu.

Joined by Kehri singh Madhukar , Prof M R Puri, Prof Goverdhan singh ,D C Prashant , Ram Nath shastri, Dinu Bhai Pant and many more writers and intellectuals, Master ji   would be seen going from door to door or selling copies of NAMEE CHETNA  in Pucca danga or Raghu Nath Bazar  so as to popularize it.
He  also seved as Court Painter during the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh .

He was a disciplined person and never compromised with his principles . A thorough gentleman and honest to the core , he remained a lover of nature which is evident in his water colour landscapes . When his trusted friend, noted artist and sculptor Vidya Rattan Khajuria was posted at Institute of Fine Arts in Srinagar, Master ji paid some visits to kashmir and did some memorable Kashmir landscapes .
As artist, he was comfortable in many formats and styles like Pahari Miniature , Bengal School , Portraits , Landscapes and abstract . 
                                                                         

                                                           ( Buddha by Sansar Chand Baru )
                                                                               

                                                          ( Sarswati by Sansar Chand Baru )
                                                                                 

                                                      ( A   Painting by Sansar Chand Baru )
                                                                                 

                                                       ( A   Painting by Sansar Chand Baru )
                                                                               

                                                            ( A   Painting by Sansar Chand Baru )

His house at Pucca Danga jammu was a meeting Hub for Artists , Poets , writers and intellectuals . Even well known Hindi writer Ageya called on him during his visit to Jammu . Prof. Neelamber Dev Sharma , Prof.Ram Nath Shastri , Kishen Smailpuri , Parmanand Almast  Narsingh Dev Jamwal , Deenu  Bhai Pant , Bhagwat Sathe  and D C Prashant were also amongst regular visitors . Master ji had close association with Comrade Dhanwantri as well.
Bakshi Ghulam Mohd and Dr karan singh were Great admirers of his work. Even Dr Rajendra Prasad appreciated his work when he visited jammu in 1954 for Inauguration of Dogra Art Gallery(  now known as Dogra Art Museum  ) .

His published essays on Pahari Art and Folk literature attracted the attention of some eminent International Art Critics . Together With Prof Lakshmi Narayan , Master ji wrote a scholarly book “ AN INTRODUCTION TO FOLK LITERATURE AND PAHARI ART “ . This work has become a reference book for Art critics and writers on Pahari Miniature Art and the Folklore associated with it.

His daughter Anuradha Rishi is also an accomplished Artist . Adds Anuradha Rishi

“. To me , he was a Friend , Guru and father .A simple man who loved his Dhoti , Kurta , churee- daar Pyjama and Sherwani. He ate simple food . He would make me to sit while he painted . That was how I learnt my best lessons in Art from him. Many people say that the feminine face in my father's work resembles mine . ”

On his Birth anniversary In 2012 , Lovers of his Art  organized  an on the  spot  children’s Painting competition  at kala Kendra jammu. The event was attended by His daughter , Sri Narsingh Dev jamwal and some prominent Artists from  Jammu.  This year ( 2014 ) Anuradha Rishi ( Baru ) , in her capacity as Chairperson of” Sansar Chand Baru Memorial Trust ” organized two  major events  in Jammu to commemorate her father.  Both were well attended .

I sincerely believe that  More needs  to be done by Government and Lovers of Art  for the man  who influenced    two generation of Artists  in this part of the country  .

I conclude this post with a couplet of Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri ….

Iss Qaaynaat e Gham Ki Fusurda Fizaaon mein
Bikhraa Gaye hain Aa ke woh kuchh Muskaraahatein

( Paying a visit to the  gloomy ambience or this world   ,      
He created space for some smiles to spread.)

Peace be to his soul.

( Autar Mota )
PS
(1 )
Jagat Ram  nicknamed  “chhuniyaa ” was a well known painter during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh of J&K. He enjoyed royal patronage and was sanctioned a monthly stipend of Rs 25 /= . Chhuniya hailed from Baddu Kishenpur . Chhuniya used oil and water colours in his work . He was also an expert in Delhi style of Ivory carving. .Chhuniya was a disciple of well known painter Harichand of jammu.
(2)
My thanks to  J&;K Academy of Art Culture and languages , Sri Narsingh Dev Jamwal ( Author MONOGRAPH : Pandit  Sansar Chand ) and  the family of  the Artist   for Inputs and photographs  .      
                                           
Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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