Hero for all times

The Pioneer, 5th February, 2013

An exhibition at The Indian School depicts chapters from the warrior’s life, inspiring students to be self-reliant and courageous. Arvind Singh Mewar, who opened the show, spoke to Team Viva about employing new techniques for teaching youngsters history and heritage

Artists from Udaipur have often dissected the life of Maharana Pratap on their canvas. Haldighati battle scenes and excerpts from his story have been integral to the Mewar School of Art.

The paintings define an era gone by, conveying details like what rulers wore, how they fought. They also describe a ruler’s personality. “Usually, just filtered, limited, information reaches students. Particularly in big towns and cities. Apart from the heroic deeds and historical facts, students ought to know other aspects to such a great figure. Like his can-do spirit, his self-reliance and respect for women. Also, how he became an icon of hope and liberty,” said Maharaja Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur. He was inaugurating an exhibition on Maharana Pratap at The Indian School.

It is organised by Francois Gautier, the French journalist, who heads a foundation called FACT. Maharana Pratap as subject matter, was the idea of Prafull Goradia, the school’s chairman.

He had earlier organised another one on other heroes from the history. Detailed research was done on the subject. And artists from Udaipur were commissioned to paint over 40 works.

“It took around two years to create this exhibition. We wanted to present lesser-known aspects of  Maharana’s personality. We feature his birth, scenes from his childhood. His interaction with soldiers. The bright colours and techniques reflect Jodhpur style painting, mixed with other forms,” remarked Francois.

Arvind Singh Mewar added, that with portions of history fast vanishing from the course books, there needs to be alternate means to share history and heritage with future generations.

“I think Amar Chitra Katha’s way of imparting education through pictures is required. We cannot only rely on texts. Maharana Pratap embodied righteousness, patriotism and courage. He always stood for self-reliance, ascetism and sacrifice. His stories should inspire kids. So we have to look for more interesting mediums to tell them through. It is our duty as citizens to treasure ancient values,” added Mewar. He explained, “What makes art from Udaipur famous is not just colour but the imagery.”

Goradia added, “Maharana Pratap personifies courage and refusal to surrender at any cost. The motive of the show is to encourage students to imbibe heroic qualities and also know great leaders and warriors better.” The exhibition is open to the public until February 23.