A master of traditional Kurumba painting techniques: Krishnan of Velaricombai village (Nilgiris) – Tamil Nadu

https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/making-do-without-blue-in-the-blue-mountains/

Making do without blue in the Blue Mountains

Olivia Waring,  April 4, 2017 | To view these and more photos in larger size and read the full article, click here >>

Krishnan of Velaricombai village in the Nilgiris attempts to breathe life into a traditional Kurumba style of painting with natural forest dyes

R. Krishnan is something of a celebrity in Velaricombai village of Kotagiri panchayat, Tamil Nadu. He has acquired local renown for his mastery of traditional Kurumba painting techniques. The style is geometric and minimalist, and subjects include harvest festivals, religious rituals, honey gathering expeditions and other practices of the Adivasis of the Niligiris. […]

Krishnan is among the last few in a long line of Adivasi artists. Many Kurumbas believe their ancestors are responsible for the striking cliff art of Eluthupaarai, an archaeological site said to be 3,000 years old, located three kilometres from Velaricombai. “Before, we lived near Eluthupaarai, in the interior of the forest,” Krishnan says. “You can only find these paintings [among the] Kurumbas.”

Krishnan’s grandfather too was a painter of some renown who helped decorate several local temples, and Krishnan began learning from him at the age of five. Today, he carries on his grandfather’s legacy, with a few modifications: while his predecessors painted with sticks on vertical rock faces, Krishnan employs brushes on canvas and handmade paper. He does, however, perpetuate the use of organic, homemade paints, which, our translator tells us, are far more vivid and long lasting than their chemical counterparts. […]

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Source: Making do without blue in the Blue Mountains
Address: https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/making-do-without-blue-in-the-blue-mountains/
Date Visited: Mon Apr 10 2017 12:58:45 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Alu Kurumba art (Nilgiri) | Image © National List for Intangible Cultural Heritage >>

Rural India — a living journal, a breathing archive

The everyday lives of everyday people by P Sainath | To read the full introduction, click here >>

Can a project’s success be judged on the basis of its never being completed? Yes, if it’s a living archive of the world’s most diverse and complex countryside. Rural India is in many ways the most diverse part of the planet. Its 833 million people include distinct societies speaking well over 700 languages, some of them thousands of years old. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India tells us the country as a whole speaks some 780 languages and uses 86 different scripts. But in terms of provision for schooling up to the 7th standard, just four per cent of those 780 are covered.

The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages whose development the Union government is obliged to promote. Yet, there are states whose official languages fall outside those 22, like Khasi and Garo of Meghalaya state. Each of six Indian languages is spoken by 50 million people or more. Three are spoken by 80 million or more. One, by close to 500 million. At the other end of the spectrum are unique tribal languages spoken by as few as 4,000 people, some by even less. The eastern state of Odisha alone is home to some 44 tribal languages. The PLSI also reckons close to 220 languages have died in the past 50 years. ‘Saimar’ in Tripura is down its last seven speakers. Most Indian languages have mainly rural speakers.

The same diversity characterises rural Indian occupations, arts and crafts, culture, literature, legend, transportation. […]

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India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

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