Posts Tagged ‘#santhalfamily’
The Migrant Worker Family
Corona has turned out to be pretty much an equal-opportunity affliction in that it has not discriminated between religions, castes, genders, or social hierarchies. But there has been a marked variance in the way lives of the haves and the have-nots have been affected by the pandemic. Urban poor, mostly migrant workers have been worst affected. Loss of livelihood, lack of transport, and desertion by society at large underwrote their despair. In their desperation they started walking for home—some reached, few fell on the way.
Using my privileges, I managed to escape the lockdown-driven cooped-up existence in Kolkata and go to my all-time go-to getaway–Shanti Niketan. The walks I undertook were serene, quiet, and eerie at the same time. In Kala Bhavan premises, usual tourists were conspicuously absent around Ramkinkar Baij’s Santhal Family.
Santhal Family, sculpted by Ramkinkar Baij in 1938 is widely considered to be the first modernist sculpture in India. It depicts a father with a child carried in a basket, a mother with another child on her left flank, and a dog from a Santhal family carrying their scant possessions and going in search of a new life—uncannily similar to the images of migrant worker families moving back from cities to their villages on foot. It was as if Ramkinkar had some oracular vision to foresee events that were to unfold eighty years down the line.
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