Shyamali Khastgir – puppet stories based on tribal values

Shyamali Khastgir with her Rajasthani doll illustrating the dangers posed to children exposed to nuclear radiation – Photo: Ludwig Pesch (1 March 2011)

Moral values in puppet story – Up close at art camp
M. GANGULY, August 18 , 2009

Ranchi, Aug. 17: She is an art teacher-turned-social activist. She knows eminent activists of India and those of the US and Canada and believes in giving peace a chance. She was even arrested outside the Pentagon, US, for protesting against nuclear programmes.

Meet Shyamali Khastgir, the daughter of famous artist Sudhir Ranjan Khastgir — one of the early students of Nandalal Bose.

Primarily an artist rooted in Santiniketan, the septuagenarian lady who came to Bundu near Ranchi to attend an art camp organised in memory of her late father pointed out that villages have been neglected, though villagers have been feeding us.

Her dream, of villagers once again becoming self-reliant, prompted her to make two puppets for the art event from August 13-15 — one representing mother earth and the other an aboriginal [adivasi] headman. She used these to explain to children who came to the art camp why one should protect the environment and resist being taken over by outside culture.

On how she became involved with protesting against nuclear programmes, she said that once she found a crippled child who was born with a deformity due to suspected radiation exposure of his mother working as a nuclear physicist at a laboratory.

This, coupled with her “admiration for Bertrand Russell who got arrested protesting against nuclear tests and nuclear armaments”, prompted her to protest against nuclear programmes.

Source: The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Jharkhand | Moral values in puppet story
Address :
Date Visited: Tue Aug 16 2011 17:12:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)
[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

I come from such an underdeveloped country of diversified lifestyle where most of the people, despite being malnutritioned, devoid of germ-free drinking water and under all sorts of sub-human conditions grow crops to feed their fellow countrymen. Perhaps, out of obsession they still connect themselves with the Mother Earth and nature. Can’t they show the whole world the path of existence?

Source: Jadugoda Diary. Howra: Monfakira, 2009, p. 25
ISBN 8190805789 – >>

Swapner Santiniketan O Anyanyo Rachana
Shyamali, the daughter of sculptor-painter Sudhir Khastgir and student of pedagogue Acharya Nandalal Bose had been brought up with the background of the teachings and ideals of Santiniketan which she followed throughout her life. But the Santiniketan she dreamt of was never supposed to be confined within the geographical boundaries only. Even harsh protests used to come out of her every time she noticed any deviation occurring there. This book reflects her comprehensive views regarding her very own Santiniketan.
112 pages, 1st Edition
ISBN: 978-93-80542-34-8
Price Rs. 100.00

The Faces: A Series of Twelve Drawings
This is the second one of the twin albums of drawings by the artist and social activist Shyamali Khastgir (1940-2011).
21.6 cm x 28 cm, 14 pages with cover.
Available only as e-book, get it from here:

The Birds: A Series of Twelve Drawings
This is the first one of the twin albums of drawings by the artist and social activist Shyamali Khastgir (1940-2011).
21.6 cm x 28 cm, 14 pages with cover.
Available only as e-book, get it from here:

Source: Books by Shyamali Khastgir
Date visited: 25 May 2019

Learn more about Santiniketan artist and activist Shyamali Khastgir >>

Video interview (Bengali spoken):
Shyamali Khastgir on ill effect of nuclear power

A talented artist herself, she created posters that conveyed her convictions with striking force, and devised puppet shows that transmitted her messages to many who would not have received them otherwise. In this, as in all her life, Shyamali reached out to others without prejudgment or distinction, and for this she won the abiding affection of many. […]

Find publications on these issues by reputed authors including Open Access (free download): >>


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