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Book to revive lost art form

- Painter to include photographs of Manjusha artists

Manjusha art is on the verge of extinction as very few people appear to be interested in it. But an artist aims to give it a fresh lease of life by writing about present-day artists.

Manoj Kumar Bachchan, a painter and an art critic of the state capital, is writing a book on the present generation artists to bring them into the limelight.

“Only 150 artists of this form are left today in Bhagalpur. By writing the book, I want to help this art form survive. I want to encourage the artists to carry on with their profession,” said Bachchan. Manjusha is based on the folklore of Bihula-Bishari. It was kept alive through paintings on religious artefacts offered to deities during auspicious occasions.

He said one of the reasons why Manjusha art is nearing extinction is that artists don’t work regularly.

“Artists associated with Manjusha do not work on this art form all year round unlike others. They work only at the time of Nag Panchami festival,” he said. He added that a section of gardeners, too, are practising this art form in Bhagalpur.

The art critic said his book would be ready by next month. “I am visiting villages of Bhagalpur to identify 20 artists of Manjusha art. I will also include their photographs and paintings,” said Bachchan.

Divulging details of the artists who would get a mention in his book, Bachchan said: “My book will depict the work of Radheshyam, a 55-year-old artist of Champanangar village near Bhagalpur. In my book, I will mention people who are not popular but are skilled in Manjusha art.”

“I am proud of Bachchan. He has taken a noble initiative,” said Shyam Sharma, a former principal of College of Arts and Crafts, Patna.