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Retired Constable Imparts Lesson On Art To Village Women

2016-12-04 12:00

An artfact created by Lalmohan Guria. Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH

Lalmohan Guria at a workshop with woman Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH


Krishnanagar, Dec. 4: 60-years-old Lalmohan Guria, of Bhandarkhola village in Krishnanagar retired as a constable from 'anti-sabotage squad’ of Nadia police on February this year.

Nevertheless, his job appeared to be remained unaccomplished.

This lanky elderly man, a naturally talented craftsman and expert in abstract art, who does not believe in retirement, has taken up a mission since retirement to sweep out poverty by sharing his knowledge with poor women in several villages in Nadia so that they become financially independent.

From morning to evening, Guria has been visiting villages to organize free training classes to teach the techniques of making home decors and domestic utility items like models of Lalan Fakir, lamp shade, flower vase, tray, tooth brush holder, decorative containers, fruit box, spice box, jewelry box, pen stand, tub holder, tab guard, ladies bags, hats, sindoor pot and at least thirty others items using jute and timber.

A devotee 17th century legendary baul (folk poet) Lalan Fakir, who known for songs marked with iconoclasm, Guria, has been singlehandedly trying to build a rural community in villages like Paninala, Bhandarkhola, Amghata, Char Brahmanagar in Nadia as “Swayambar’ in real sense as he strongly believes like his idol that man as the center of all creation.

“I learnt from Lalan’s songs that Man is the ultimate God. So by helping the poor I feel praying before God”, Guria said.

As a result of his initiative, around one hundred women belong to BPL category; have been taking regular lessons at to learn intricacies of hand crafted art facts from Guria, who is also taking these women to different handcrafts fairs so that they could get marketing support.

Guria said: “I use simple materials like jute and timbers which are cheaply and easily available. I also give them these materials and the special adhesive, impart them the techniques of making, take the finished goods to market and fairs and pay them”.

The items sold from Rupees fifteen to five hundred.

Guria has made small groups of learners to hold training classes at home of a member at least thrice a day. Armed with jute threat, sewer, a special adhesive, scissor, chisel, hammer and some other basic carpentry tools, Guria arrives at the house of rustic homemakers like Pratima Devnath or Sanaka Debath in Paninala or adjacent village to give them the lesson of art. Unconcerned about the helps from government, this old constable with a strong determination now teaching the villagers about jute crafts, thread works to change their lives.

“I do it out of passion. I am not a trained artiste. I do not know how I learnt it. It was some god gifted material that made me an artiste more than a policeman. During my service life, I could not quench my thirst as an artiste, but after retirement it appears that it is become too late for me to do anything personally. I then decided to share my knowledge among these women who have been struggling for existence daily”, said Guria, who has already organized a number of exhibitions of his art facts on Lalan Fakir and home decors at Academy of Fine arts, Gaganendra Shilpa Kendra in Calcutta as well as in Nehru Centre in Worli (Mumbai).

“The desire had become stronger once I shifted to Bhandarkhola from police quarter by constructing own house after retirement during February this year. I found a large section people in the village are very poor. I talked to many families and expressed my desire to them. I am lucky that they agreed to learn it from me”, he added. 
“My objective is to train them to make them independent and at the same time to make them good human being without any religious prejudices that often put barriers in society”, said Guria.

Pratima Debnath, wife of a tricycle van peddler said: “We are very poor. My husband earns only around Rupees two thousand per month. To provide some support, earlier I used to make biri. But I could never do it regularly as I am allergic to the smell of tobacco. But, for the last seven months I have been making jute containers as taught by Guria Sir. Now I can help my husband with some additional money earned by my. Guria Sir also tells us stories of Lalan Fakir and his thoughts on humanity”.

“I am not a wise man. The philosophy of Lalan Fakir fascinates me. I read a lot about him and also listened his songs. So I try to share his thoughts with these people and encourage them to be a good human being, which the society strongly need”

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