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THE LEGACY OF SORA PAINTING, A DIMINISHING ART OF AN ARTISAN

SHANKU SHARMA

People, as they say, have very short memory. They forget their history, tradition, and heritage only to end up adopting modern technological gadgets and gizmos. Globalization may have taken the world by storm, but some ancient art and artisans are suffering at its hand. There are many artisans whom the world does not know and bother. Generally, a prophet is not worshipped in his own country. Talent and passion, however may be latent, are not bound by geographical constraints. 60-year-old Gandhi Pal, a Silchar based artisan who has been carrying forward the legacy of art of making Sora paintings from his ancestors, is one such prophet.


Gandhi Pal, a resident of Panibhora, a 150-year-old remote village in Silchar, Assam, has almost single-handedly kept the tradition of making Sora paintings alive. Panibhora, situated about 25 kms from Silchar town, is home to a number of artisans expert in making pots and potteries, idols and claymade items. Gandhi Pal though aging derives immense pleasure in making such paintings. The saddest part is that there is no future of Sora paintings after Gandhi departs. With him will end the legacy of this painting. Sora painting, slowly but surely is going to be wiped out and erased from the face of the earth.

Gandhi Pal opines that people no longer buy these products owing to their lack of knowledge regarding the procedure of its making and its rarity. Since people, opines Pal, are unaware of the hard work employed in making a single Lakshmisora and thus they hesitate to pay even a small amount of Rs.150 for it. A single Lakshmisora takes almost a week for its completion. Every Lakshmisora undergoes around 20 to 25 roundabouts before getting its final shape. 

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