Art-Ritual-Culture: Apprehending the Triad in Contemporary Indian Context

Sudhir Kumar
PhD Junior Research Fellow (UGC), Department of Fine Arts, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (UP), India. ORCID: 0000-0003-4608-7917. Email:

Vol. 1, No. 2, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Received September 27, 2016; Revised October 19, 2016; Accepted November 21, 2016; Published December 16, 2016


Art, ritual and culture – these are the entities that form the basis of knowing the collective psyche of a society – how they think of them, their aims in life and their approaches towards responses to various natural phenomena. In the Indian context the triad has been interrelated in such an intimate manner that changing the approaches towards one would necessarily affect the others. In India though art has been deeply embedded in the daily activities of the people and their physical utilitarian objects, yet above that art has also gained a very high status in their lives by reflecting their aspirations, their philosophical and intellectual approaches towards life and phenomena in nature and the understanding of their respective positions in cosmos. If art and ritual acting together has been threshold for higher consciousness, the culture has been the denominator of their scientific and spiritual achievements. Thus, the findings in art, presenting the face of Indian culture also indicate their successes and failures at different points of time and space. But there seems to be an abrupt break in this current if we observe the contemporary art pursuits and the academic opinions on art and aesthetics in the country. By correlating the traditional approaches towards art and ritual with those of contemporary art practices and researches this paper briefly tries to bring forth some of such issues that are quite imperative to be cogitated upon for all-round cultural developments of the individuals and the society.

Keywords: Art and Ritual, Indian Art and Aesthetics, Indigenous arts of India, Indian Culture, Indian Contemporary Art, Art Research and Education


Digital Convergence, Design and Revival of Indian Culture

Pranita Ranade

Symbiosis Institute Design, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India.  Email:

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 Received July 06, 2016; Revised September 10, 2016; Accepted September 10, 2016; Published September 19, 2016


In recent years because of globalization and urbanization, many Indians are migrating from their hometown and living in different parts across the country and the globe in totally cross cultural and ethnically diverse communities. The Cultural heritage of any community is associated with their daily lifestyle and linked to social, environmental and economic processes. Rituals of ‘Sixteen Sacraments of Life’ of Indian Vedic culture are considered as intangible cultural heritage. Focus of this paper is on forging a techno-cultural graphic design application to provide culture-centric visual design using digital technology. This Baby-App will help parents and other members of the family to capture the key moments of childhood and the traditional samskaras for the child and thus document child’s cultural experiences. It will guide young generation of India in cherishing and articulating their child’s memories with cultural ethos. Besides documenting a child’s cultural experiences, this product will also help in safeguarding our cultural heritage. Revival of cultural mores will also provide opportunities for social and economic development of the individual and society.

Keywords: Graphic Design, New Media Design, Digital Design, Social Media, Digital Photography, Indian Culture, Indology

The Journey of Elephant as a Decorative Element in Saharanpur Woodcraft: A Cultural Investigation

Aayushi Verma1 & Ila Gupta2

 1PhD Junior Research Fellow (UGC), Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India. Email:

2Professor & HOD, Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India.

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 Received August 29, 2016; Revised September 07, 2016; Accepted September 10, 2016; Published September 17, 2016


According to existing literature, art and craft are the essential activity of human mind featured with imagination and innovation and ornamented by variation of shapes, texture and colors.  It laid emphasis on aesthetic excellence and creative collaboration through the design element. Through the ages, design component is considered as the visual dialogue and straightest path for the understanding of divergent culture, religion and tradition. The language of design deals with the external and internal aspect of images that create visual appearance and forms a relationship between art and craft. Over a period of time, elephant form has been applied in various art, craft and architecture with hidden meaning. Concerning to this, Saharanpur the commercial district of Uttar Pradesh rose to prominence during Mughal Period. Situated in the Indo-Gangatic Plains under the shadow of Shiwalik foothills, the district reveals a strong cultural past with aesthetic expression. Under the patronage of different monarchs it developed a unique style of wood carving primarily done on Shisham wood borrowing elements from Mughal art and architecture, a characteristic of Indo-Islamic-Persian style. Saharanpur woodcraft became a part of cultural heritage and protected by Geographical Indications (GI) tag. In Saharanpur woodcraft, elephant as a decorative element has been lavishly implemented with the abundance of floral and geometrical decorations on wood and stone carving as well as wall paintings. These wide varieties of decorations demonstrate the glimpse of Indian art as well as the mystery of Mughal art. Despite knowing the existence of the elephant motif in Hindu mythology, it was adopted in the Mughal art with impressive manner. The aim of writing this paper is to study the factors which were largely responsible for the application of elephant motif in Saharanpur woodcraft. The purpose of depiction of this motif is not only the ornamentation and decoration but also the adoption of it in human life with essential aspects. The conclusive remarks will highlight the significance of elephant motif for woodcraft.

 Keywords: Elephant, Decorative Element, Hindu Mythology, Mughal Art.

Boundaries within National Borders: A comparative study of Petals of Blood and Banapangshul

Sabrina Karim[1] & Arpana Awwal[2]

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 Received August 15, 2016; Revised September 07, 2016; Accepted September 10, 2016; Published September 17, 2016


Though Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood (1977) and Selim Al Deen’s Banapangshul (2001) are writings from two wide apart continents – Africa and Asia-both texts deal with common experience of neocolonial exploitation and both the authors Ngugi and Al Deen have consciously tried to create new forms to break away from colonial hegemonic discourses. Petals of Blood and Banapangshul portray the predicament of the economically dispossessed villagers of Illmorog and the ethnically marginalized community Mandai in Bangladesh in the hands of neocolonial power in the form of capitalism. Both the authors have consciously tried to find new ways of representation that was to be distinctively native and representative of the marginalized people. This paper aims at comparing the manner in which colonialism’s after effects maintain exploitative hold on marginal communities even long after the nations in two dispersed continents, Kenya and Bangladesh have become independent and how these two authors have tried to ‘write back to center’.

 Keywords: neocolonialism, capitalism, marginalized, imperialism, subaltern

[1] Sabrina Karim is working as an Assistant Professor at Dept. of English, Eastern University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Orcid: 0000-0002-1535-8799. Email:

[2] Arpana Awwal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature Studies, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University. She is currently enrolled as an MPhil scholar in the Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Literary, gender and cultural studies are her areas of interest.

Obituary: Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016)

Indranil Acharya[1]

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The little room at 37, Sreenathdham, Society was star-studded that evening. It was a session of self- introduction. When her turn came she introduced herself as a human being who continued to work for the betterment of the indigenous people. It was a simple yet profoundly reassuring statement. Truly, literature was secondary in the life of this nonagenarian artist. Myriad issues of tribal life engaged her attention. If a Sabar village was devoid of any tube well she would promptly post a letter to the PHE department. If a Lodha youth was denied bank loan on a flimsy ground she would immediately send a stinging note to the Manager. In fact, her everyday life was a relentless spate of charitable works for the benefit of poor Adivasis. Winner of Jnanpeeth and Magsayay awards, Mahasweta will be remembered as a great writer-cum-activist. On 14th January, 1926, she was born in Pabna (now Rajshahi) district of Bangladesh in a village named ‘Natun Bharenga’.She breathed her last in Kolkata at the age of ninety on 28th July 2016. On the one hand, she was the author of two contemporary classics- ‘Hazar Churasir Ma’ and ‘Aranyer Adhikar’. On the other, she was a pioneering figure in Singur-Nandigram movement. Even beyond the periphery of political movements she took up the cause of the socially downtrodden communities – Kurmis, Dusads and Bhangis of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.