By-lane street art to boost patriotism in Kashi

VARANASI: Soon the by-lane near Jagannath temple on the way to the famous Assi ghat will give a glimpse of vivid culture of India. It will also deliver message of patriotism with a life-size painting of Bharat Mata (motherland India) holding tricolor flag along with national animal Tiger.
A group of a dozen youths are painting the 110 feet long wall of the by-lane with the images of the folk arts of various states along with the aesthetics of Varanasi.

Jagannath Ojha, a resident of Assi, who is the brain behind this initiative said, “Despite wielding of broom by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to push cleanliness drive in the city, the by-lane was lying in sheer neglect. Open urination and heaps of garbage was a common sight throughout its stretch. Thus, I discussed it with my peers and decided to give a makeover to the lane that is adjacent to the ancient temple of Lord Jagannath.”

They met some scholar of fine arts who resides in Assi and discussed the ambitious plan. Rakesh Pal who has done masters of Fine Arts from Banaras Hindu University along with Sunny Chaurasia and Amit Verma who are graduates in fine arts from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith came forward to paint the wall of the lane, he said.

“On May 2, this year, we started cleaning the wall and painting it. Initially, we painted graffiti depicting the aesthetics of riverbanks, warli art, mithila art of Bihar and mythological painting of Kerala. Next are a life-size portrait of Bharat Mata portraying nationality and an ox of Lord Shiva symbolizing the spirit of Kashi (Varanasi). The 20 feet long and 12 feet wide image on Bharat Mata will carry a tricolor flag and will have a tiger beside,” said Jagannath.

However the one-of-its-kind effort will not end there, it will carry forward with a mural of Ashok Stambh and PM Modi. Enthusiast over the ongoing work, artist Amit said, “We have finished painting one side of wall. From July 14, we will start work on the opposite wall, which is in a dilapidated state at present.”

The wall facing the road will be adorned with a painting of PM Modi wielding broom to narrate the historical moment of his visit here on December 25, 2014. In continuance, there will be a human-size Ashok Stambh in the form of mural art, added he.

The effort of the youths does not end with the wall painting, they are also ensuring its maintenance.

“Our objective is to keep the lane clean and beautiful. Hence, we keep vigilance to stop open urination and dumping of garbage. Initially some miscreants tried to spoil the graffiti by throwing black enamel over it. But we hide it with colors and asked the people to keep a check on such activities,” Jagannath said.