He does not tire easily…in the forty minutes that I was there, Dwarka Prasad Jangid easily re told the story of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Meena and Krishna at least three times. And how! With pictures painted on the panels of the Kaavad from Rajasthan, a mobile temple or story telling on the go…it is an art of story telling which is easily 500 years old. Made of wood from the mango tree, it is a box which consists of panels of paintings opening to reveal hidden stories, panel after panel. Just like a temple, the doors are guarded by the two sentries, Jaya Vijay (You can check out their story here.) As the doors open, the story is revealed…and stops at the innermost sanctum sanctorium. The bigger, more elaborate Kaavads also have additional panels on stories of people. The Kaavad also has a compartment for money. There is a disclaimer on the Kaavad that the money given to the story teller will be utilised for the holy cows. And all those who listen to the story will be rewarded and blessed. But if the story is not heard, then they will be cursed.
This art is from Rajasthan and though not known to many urbanites, in the villages, it is a ritual to call the story teller. The story teller wraps it in cloth and carries it around on his shoulder.They travel from place to place and each story teller has patrons where he visits repeatedly, not just to tell them stories from mythology but also to recall the family’s forefathers whose names and deeds he talks of. This is a sacred ritual for the family where they remember their forefathers and also listen to stories from mythology. Dwarka Prasad Jangid from Chittorgarh tells me that it all started when temples were being destroyed by invaders. The mobile temple, the Kaavad from Rajasthan was how the stories and Gods continued to spread, in all their glory.
This art is also an example of how with the changing times, the artisan also changes. There is this story of Meena, a girl in Rajasthan, who is given an opportunity to study when her teacher convinces her father. She studies diligently, goes to London for her higher studies and also exhibits her father’s art work there. She comes back to India and starts a self help group and a school for girls. One educated girl changes the future of many...”Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.”(Save and educate the girl child) and off course in the end, she gets married to a suitable boy selected by her parents (after all it’s the ideal happily ever after scenario) I loved this story. It has all the elements of our mega serials but without the drama. It is a story of hope. This Kaavad from Rajasthan symbolises our hope as a nation.
I got a small ‘Kaavad’ for myself. Every handicraft has a story to tell and more so, the Kaavad from Rajasthan. It calls to me as it does to so many others to take it home and continue the saga of story telling. So when you are at the eighth edition of A Hundred Hands annual collective, make sure to visit this stall to listen to his stories and take home one for the little ones. Dwarka Prasad Jangid makes these Kaavads, paintings on wood, fabric and the puppets. And he is ever ready with the stories.
Tips for home decor….I think this would make a great addition to a wall gallery or could be a part of your coffee table decor. The possibilities are endless…And when you are at the collective, do take a selfie with the gond art and the madhubani panels.Post on FB and share the joy with friends.
Twinkles to all of you.