Nationalism

Bharat Mata- The Nation As A Goddess! Know The History And Significance Of This Iconic Painting!

The remarkable visual representation of Mother India was created to evoke the nationalist feelings in Indians during the freedom struggle. It was in the form of a painting titled “BHARAT MATA”. Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabrindranath Tagore depicted the theme of the motherland in this painting.

Abanindranath Tagore portrayed Bharat Mata as a four-armed Hindu goddess wearing saffron-colored robes, holding the manuscripts, sheaves of rice, a mala, and a white cloth.The image of Bharatmata was an icon to create nationalist feeling in Indians during the freedom struggle. Sister Nivedita, an admirer of the painting, opined that the picture was refined and imaginative, with Bharatmata standing on green earth and blue sky behind her; feet with four lotuses, four arms meaning divine power; white halo and sincere eyes and gifts Shiksha,Diksha,Anna,Bastra of the motherland to her children.

She said, “From beginning to end, the picture is an appeal, in the Indian language, to the Indian heart. It is the first great masterpiece in a new style. I would reprint- it, if I could, by tens of thousands, and scatter it broadcast over the land, till there was not a peasant’s cottage, or a craftman’s hut, between Kedar Nath and Cape Comorin, that had not this presentment of Bharat-Mata somewhere on its walls. Over and over again, as one looks into its qualities, one is struck by the purity and delicacy of the personality portrayed”

Abanindranath Tagore was born in August 7, 1871 to Gunendranath Tagore. A nephew of the Indian poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath was exposed at an early age to the artistic inclinations of the Tagore family.

He had been exposed to learning art when he first studied at the Sanskrit College in Kolkata in the 1880s. In his early years, Tagore had painted in the European naturalistic style, evident from his early paintings such as The Armoury.

Tagore’s relative Gyanadanandini Devi had set up a meeting between Tagore and E.B Havell, who was the curator of the Government school of Art in Calcutta. The meeting resulted in a series of exchanges between Havell and Tagore, with Havell gaining a native art collaborator with ideas in the same direction of his own, and Tagore gaining a teacher who would teach him about the ‘science’ of Indian art history.

Havell attempted to induct Tagore as the Vice Principal of the art school, but it faced heavy opposition in the school. Havell introduced innovations to his teaching program in an attempt to more accurately reproduce Indian art pedagogy, and replaced European copies of art with Indian originals. The English art curator had also reportedly spent many hours explaining the details of “Hindu art and sculpture” to Tagore.

Bharat Mata was painted during the Swadeshi movemment. The movement began as a response to the Partition of Bengal (1905), when Lord Curzon split the largely Muslim eastern areas of Bengal from the largely Hindu western areas. In response, Indian nationalists participating in the swadeshi movement resisted the British by boycotting British goods and institutions, holding meetings and processions, forming committees, and applying diplomatic pressure.

The painting’s central figure holds multiple items associated with Indian culture and the economy of India in the early twentieth century, such as a book, sheaves of paddy, a piece of white cloth and a garland. Moreover, the painting’s central figure has four hands, evocative of Hindu imagery, which equates multiple hands with immense power.

The remarkable visual representation of Mother India was created to evoke the nationalist feelings in Indians during the freedom struggle. It was in the form of a painting titled “BHARAT MATA”. Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabrindranath Tagore depicted the theme of the motherland in this painting.

Abanindranath Tagore portrayed Bharat Mata as a four-armed Hindu goddess wearing saffron-colored robes, holding the manuscripts, sheaves of rice, a mala, and a white cloth.The image of Bharatmata was an icon to create nationalist feeling in Indians during the freedom struggle. Sister Nivedita, an admirer of the painting, opined that the picture was refined and imaginative, with Bharatmata standing on green earth and blue sky behind her; feet with four lotuses, four arms meaning divine power; white halo and sincere eyes and gifts Shiksha,Diksha,Anna,Bastra of the motherland to her children.

She said, “From beginning to end, the picture is an appeal, in the Indian language, to the Indian heart. It is the first great masterpiece in a new style. I would reprint- it, if I could, by tens of thousands, and scatter it broadcast over the land, till there was not a peasant’s cottage, or a craftman’s hut, between Kedar Nath and Cape Comorin, that had not this presentment of Bharat-Mata somewhere on its walls. Over and over again, as one looks into its qualities, one is struck by the purity and delicacy of the personality portrayed”

Abanindranath Tagore was born in August 7, 1871 to Gunendranath Tagore. A nephew of the Indian poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath was exposed at an early age to the artistic inclinations of the Tagore family.

He had been exposed to learning art when he first studied at the Sanskrit College in Kolkata in the 1880s. In his early years, Tagore had painted in the European naturalistic style, evident from his early paintings such as The Armoury.

Tagore’s relative Gyanadanandini Devi had set up a meeting between Tagore and E.B Havell, who was the curator of the Government school of Art in Calcutta. The meeting resulted in a series of exchanges between Havell and Tagore, with Havell gaining a native art collaborator with ideas in the same direction of his own, and Tagore gaining a teacher who would teach him about the ‘science’ of Indian art history.

Havell attempted to induct Tagore as the Vice Principal of the art school, but it faced heavy opposition in the school. Havell introduced innovations to his teaching program in an attempt to more accurately reproduce Indian art pedagogy, and replaced European copies of art with Indian originals. The English art curator had also reportedly spent many hours explaining the details of “Hindu art and sculpture” to Tagore.

Bharat Mata was painted during the Swadeshi movemment. The movement began as a response to the Partition of Bengal (1905), when Lord Curzon split the largely Muslim eastern areas of Bengal from the largely Hindu western areas. In response, Indian nationalists participating in the swadeshi movement resisted the British by boycotting British goods and institutions, holding meetings and processions, forming committees, and applying diplomatic pressure.

The painting’s central figure holds multiple items associated with Indian culture and the economy of India in the early twentieth century, such as a book, sheaves of paddy, a piece of white cloth and a garland. Moreover, the painting’s central figure has four hands, evocative of Hindu imagery, which equates multiple hands with immense power.


Sharanya Alva

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