Diwali is all about Lord Ram and his homecoming celebrations. We all know this but what most of us are unaware of is what the King of Ayodhya was thinking as he stepped into the sea for war with Ravan. Ram remembered all that had transpired and brought him to this point in life. At a deeper self, he felt it might have been a mistake – be it being a part of the swayamvar or the Soorpnakha incident. He is worried about Sita being surrounded by strangers in Lanka. He knows that the war with the King of Lanka would not be easy as Ravan was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva.
“All these facts are mentioned as different stories in Ramayan and this artwork is an artistic interpretation,” says artist Prasun Mazumdar talking about one of his recent 6ftx 4ft ink on paper works, Ram, that is currently on view at DLF Promenade Mall in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. “It took me around two weeks to make this one,” shares Mazumdar who credits his grandfather and father for keeping alive the culture and art in him. “I had always seen my grandfather reading Mahabharat and Ramayan so the stories were always close to my heart. Despite my father being a cricket fan, he ensured I participated in every art competition in Jamshedpur where I was born and brought up,” reminisces the artist whose another work, Durga, has also been put up in the mall.
Talking about Durga, Mazumdar adds it is related to Ram in a way. “He had worshipped Goddess Durga before the beginning of the war with Ravan. Metaphorically, Durga is showing him the way forward. As there was no statue or idol which Ram could worship, he enters a cave and starts chanting. The pooja is called Akalbodhan. Soon, Ram sees 108 blue lotuses coming up through which he sees the reflection of the goddess from whom he takes permission for war because Lanka is her land. She blesses him with strength and hands over a bow to him, giving a go-ahead for the war.” Handing over the bow is an artist’s interpretation, says Mazumdar who has a diploma in fine arts from Jamshedpur and a degree in visual design from NIFT, Delhi.
“For me, the most inspiring mythological character is Shiv and not Ram, but Ram always makes me think that as a human even god was in doubt. Heroes are always in doubt as they keep thinking about right and wrong or if they are hurting someone. Villains never have doubts so they are seen as stronger people. That is why Ram is inspiring. I have depicted his doubt and confusion through the work,” says Mazumdar, who presently runs his design studio, Prasun Mazumdar Design from Gurugram.
Mazumdar got back to fine arts some four years back. Two topics on which he loves making artworks are Indian mythology and nature, ‘not climate change’. “Climate change has always been happening but right now, I feel people talk about it to gain a few ‘likes and hearts’ (on Facebook). I am a firm believer that it is not nature that’s under threat, it is we who are under threat. Nature has always revived itself and will always do so,” he says.
Talking about these unique artworks, Siddhartha Natu, AVP and Centre Head, DLF Promenade says, “Most malls have installations of artworks but we wanted our installations to be about heritage and culture. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to lighting or generically speak about Ram. We wanted to pick one element from Ramayan and put it up as a central installation.”