To revive, rejuvenate and give a new thrust to the Vanvasis and their art forms, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated an exhibition of Vanvasi Gond paintings and released two books, Jangadh Kalam (authored by Udyan Vajpayee) and Madhya Pradesh Mein Chitrakala (authored by Lakshman Bhand), recently in the Lalit Kala Academy auditorium, New Delhi. Shri Kunwar Vijay Shah, Minister for Tribal Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh, presided over the function.
Jangadh Kalam means the collection of different art forms that are closely related with the lives of the Gond Vanvasis of Madhya Pradesh. The collection is not older than 25 to 30 years. The late Jangadh Singh Shyam is known to be a prominent teacher of Gond paintings, whose disciples are struggling hard to make alive the rich Vanvasi art forms. The collection of art forms gave a fresh lease of life to the Gond community as this is the only means through which their rich culture, tradition, dance form, lifestyle and food habits are reflected and new generation can learn from that. In the age of modern arts, the paintings of Gond community got outdated from the society, but the initiative of the Madhya Pradesh government to revive it, is commendable. Jangadh Kalam takes us to a new horizon of Vanvasi lives where one sees life in the villages, in the kitchen, under the thatched roof, which is rarely seen in today'sworld. In fact, this is an art that connotes the real day-to-day life of the Gond Vanvasis.
Recalling the contribution of Jangadh Singh Shyam in the field of Vanvasi art, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan talked about the contribution of Vanvasis in different walks of life. Elaborating further the Chief Minister said: ?The First War of Independence waged in 1857 was fought not by the coat, pant and the tie-wallas but by Vanvasis such as Raghunath Sahay, Shankar Sahay, Tantya Bhil and others who made great sacrifices.? In the same manner Vanvasis had an important role to play in the creative field, he added. He informed that the state government is planning to commemorate the contribution of the Vanvasi freedom fighters. Shri Kunwar Vijay Shah reiterated the state government'scommitment to bring more and more Vanvasis into the limelight.
The author of Jangadh Kalam, Shri Udayan Vajpayee revealed his intention of raising the Vanvasi art to the level of urban art as they were as creative as the latter. He stressed that art is ingrained in Vanvasis and it is part of their identity. Nankusiya Shyam, wife of legendary Jangadh Shyam, was also present on the occasion.