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Now it appears to make the dream of legendary Chakrvarti Devi’s, pioneer of Manjusha art, a pictorial depiction of legendary Behula-Bishari folklore of the famous Mansha Mangal epic of Anga Pradesh, the ancient region of eastern Bihar having capital Champa (presentBhagalpur) true!
S Siddharth, principal secretary, state industrial department, government of Bihar today while inaugurating Manjusha Mohotutsav said that state government has approved a common facility center (CFC) at Bhagalpur having a research and design center for the promotion of the century old Manjusha folk art. State government from 2016 started celebrating Manjusha Mohotutsav to promote this unique folk art symbolized women empowerment.
Once first identified by WD Archy, a British officer here during 1934-42, Manjusha however had its existence during Indus valley civilization, historical references pointed out. Fortunatly today there are hundreds of local arties with master trainers like Manoj Pandit and Ulpi Jha engaged in promotion of Manjusha. But positive attitude of the policy makers could boost the moral of the artists also the art, feel many.
Siddharth while addressing the colourful inauguration session of three day long Manjusha Mohotutsav at local Sandius compound ground said that central government recently has provided a grant of Rs 30 crore for development of regional art and craft. “We would certainly utilize some part of the amount for the revival and promotion of Manjusha art at this region,” he assured.
Pointing out the strategies, he said that the famous Upendra Maharathi Silpa Anushandhan Snasthan, Patna which earlier took up the responsibility for promotion and development of Manjusha art, would put more concentration on how to make it popular and easily approachable among not only the denizens of Bihar but also in the nation and abroad. “The CFC would assist the Manjusha artists while research and design wing would help to promote Majusha for marketing and other commercial activities,” he said.
Siddharth said that DM, Bhagalpur has provided a space in the first floor at Anga Bhawan for the CFC and the research and design wing. “It’s a really a challenge for Majusha to face the market challenges. Madhuvani paintings has wild craze not only in India but also in abroad and we have to place Manjusha at such level as it has more potentialities,” he said.
Rajesh Kumar, divisional commissioner, Bhagalpur pointed out the main motto behind organizing such Manjushga Mohotutsav. “The state government has decided to promote this century-old folk art and now it’s the time to exploit its potentialities,” he said while giving recent initiatives taken by concerned administrations at Bhagalpur and Banka to display Manjusha arts in all public places and government establishments in the two districts.
Ashok Kumar Sinha, deputy director, Upendra Maharathi Silpa Anushandahn Sansthan, Patna shared his experiences on the struggling of the local Manjusha artists numbering not less than 5000. According to him over 100 participants (local artists) have been assigned to give live display of the folk paintings at the venue of the Mohotutsav. He said all the participants came here from 9 districts falling under the jurisdiction of ancient Anga Pradesh (mainly eastern Bihar Kosi and Seemanchal regions). “Our main aim is to give identity to Manjusha and make it popular in outside markets,” he said.
Rajiv Kant Mishra a noted social worker-cum- educationist, pointed out the silent features of the folk art and said it also symbolizes women empowerment as Behula ultimately conquered the Gods and goddess in returning back the life her husband. Her husband was killed by Goddess Mansha in a revenge from the father-in-law of Behula, Chando Soudagar as per Mansha Mangal epic. Mishra however suggested for face-lifting of Manjusha to survive in markets. “There are two thoughts; not to change the original format and second to add modern concept in to keeping in view the market demands,” he said.
Manoj Pandey, a Manjusha activist recalled how the then district manager, NAWARD, Navin Roy during his tenure here on 2010-13 managed to revive this old folk art and gradually with the awareness drives, Manjusha has now placed in the public mind sets. He recalled the hard days and struggle by few local artists. “If the government sincerely provides all support, the fate of this region could be changed. Like Madhuvani painting, sustainable approaches should be applied for its promotion he said.
Young Vshadhanand Mishra and his elder sister, Anukriti Mishra who painted all the Manjusha decorations in the venue of the Manjusha Mohotutsav, said youngsters started attracted with this age-old art which is an unique happing in the incident. “Modern youths generally avoids such old events but look here how they promptly engage themselves in Manjusha paintings along with aged person like mothers and grandmothers,” the duo pointed towards the live display of Manjusha by the local artists during the Mohotutsav.