Among ancient love stories of India, that of Usa-Aniruddha has a pride of place. Being a part of various Puranas it acquires a sacrality ad legitimacy. We are privy to the ineraction of all the three gods, namely Visnu, Siva and Brahma. The highlight of the story is the romantic involvement of krsna’s grandson Aniruddha and Baasura’s daughter Usa. Between scenes of a pitched battle between Banasura and krsna, where a mighty demon and his army battle with krsna, Balarama and Pradyumna and interspersed with long conversations with Garuda, the narrative takes us to tender scenes of romance as well as a bird’s-eye view of Sonitpur and Dvaraka. The Puranic narrative is brought alive by the graceful Pahari kalam of Ranjha, son of Nainsukh, who renders the story with finesse and precision and creates lyrical romantic scenes and gory battles with equal ease. The book brings together for the first time the entire series from the Bhuri Singh museum of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh but also features folios from other museums and private collections as well as a critical look at t he painter and the patron of this series. The book is a visual treat.
Harsha V. Dehejia has a double doctorate, one in medicine and the other in Ancient India culture, both from Mumbai University. He is a practicing Physician and Professor of Indian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, On.. Cnada. His main interest is in Indian Aesthetics. His publications include: 1. The Advaita of Art. (Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1996) 2. Parvatidarpana (The Mirror of Parvati), (Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi,. 1998) 3. Paravati, Goddess of Love (Mapin, Ahmadabad, 1999) 4. Despair and Modernity, Reflections on Modern Indian Paintings. (Motilal Banarasidass, 2000) 5. The Lotus and the Flute: Romantic Moments in Indian Poetry and Painting. (Mapin, Ahmadabad, 2002) 6. A Celebration of Love: The Romantic Heroine in the Indian Arts (Roli Books, 2004) 7. Saundarya: The Theory and Praxis of Beauty (Samvad 2004) 7. Celebrating Krishan: Sensuous Images and Sacred Words Celebrating Krishna: Sensuous Images and Sacred Words (Mapin, 2005) 8. Leaves of the Pipal Tree: Aesthetic Reflections on some Hindu Myths and Symbols (Motilal Reflections on some Hindu Myths and Symbols (Motilal Banarasidass, 2006) 10. A Festival of Krishna (Roli, 2008) 11. Mumbai Footpaths: Paths of Courage, Journeys of Hope (Vira Books, 2009( 12. Akriti to Sanskriti , the Journey of Indian Forms (Niyogi Books 2009) 13. Krishna’s Forgotten Poets (Roli).
Vijay Sharmais an award-winning Pahari miniaturist and works as artist in the Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. He has studied major collections of Indian paintings across the world. Vijay Sharma has held several exhibitions and lecture-demonstrations in the leading museums and institutions in Indian and abroad. He has written several articles on Pahari miniature painting. He paints in various styles of India painting, chiefly Basohli and kangra Schools of Pahari painting.
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