Th e art of vernacular painting in India is not only varied and rich but also intriguing for several reasons. With such observations the book addresses certain issues, like the validity of the historical information on Indian Art that excludes vernacular trends. The information on vernacular art in India has either been ignored such as in ancient literary discourses or inadvertently misconstrued within the theoretical purviews of modern days. If the hierarchy of the Hindu caste system has marginalised the culture of the lower rung groups, the lexicon of twentieth century anthropological studies has seen this art as material evidence of undeveloped societies; both creating the same value: to be patronised but not ‘art’. Can art be weighed on a scale of development? Arguments have been developed within the specifi c focus on scroll paintings by the itinerant painter bards in Bengal. Th e bardic tradition has been known to exist in India since a pre-Christian era and still continues within two vibrant trends of vernacular art forms – Bangla and Santhal pat. Th e book redefi nes and repositions the notion of art with contemporary folk art. As the picture Plates are self-evident, the book draws attention on a world of art that has not been present in Indian Art History.
“…His theoretical premises are well taken when he unequivocally states that ‘art cannot be weighed on the human scale of socio-economic development’. Indeed, this leads one to ask the question whether folk and classical art, or sophisticated craft of rural communities and art of individuals in an urban milieu, are sociological or artistic categories.” • Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan