Today the patuas make rectangular and square-shaped paintings of different sizes. Social messages like conservation of trees, female infanticide, child-trafficking and AIDS awareness figure in their paintings. They also paint images of traditional subjects, such as a cat eating a lobster or fish, tigers, rows of cows or white owls. The patuas today do not make too many long story scrolls. A few of them still sing their self-composed songs, but only on demand.
     The patachitra art tradition was traditionally passed down from father to son, but today many patua women have also taken up the craft. Under an initiative ‘Art for Livelihood’, some of these women are leading local development.
Patuas are the artists who belong to the folklore of West Bengal. Now they make paintings of different shapes (square/rectangle) and sizes. Their images carry strong messages to the society:
  • Conservation of trees - the importance of growing trees and how we should preserve our existing forests
  • Intentional killing of female babies
  • Illegal trading of children
  • AIDS awareness
  • Ancient topics are also covered - cat eating a lobster/fish, tigers, rows of cows/white owls
The scrolls are not too long like the ancient times. They make short ones to suit the changing times of today. However, some of them do sing their own compositions if the audience request for the same.
The patachitra art form was passed on traditionally within families, that is, from father to son. But now, many patua women have also started taking up this art. Women have been leading the "Art for Livelihood" scheme in the local area development.
E naya.jpg
*Women took the lead in patachitra art, recently!
Meanings of difficult words:
infanticideintentional killing of infants
traffickingdealing or trading in something illegal
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-7. Naya - The Home of the Chitrakaars (pp. 126-131). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.
*Image courtesy: dkroy /