Have you ever attended a Bengali wedding? If you did, you would be aware of the beautiful white crown-shaped headgear of the bride and of the bridegroom which is considered to be the sacred part of the rituals presenting the art forms of West Bengal, the Sholapith art.
Shola is an old-age craft of West Bengal. The existence of Shola transcends from the realms of material to immaterial, leaving a mark in mythology, craft, utility, and customs. This art is an eco-friendly art form with a divine and mythical origin and is practiced for so long and is a part of various religious and social traditions. Being extracted from the stem of the spongy plant with a white soft core reflecting the purity and the auspiciousness of the customs.
A process of cultivation to creation
Shola is a plant that grows wild in lakes, ponds, trenches of paddy fields, flooded lowland areas, and marshy water-logged areas and is partially submerged in the water. Shola plant grows particularly in marshy areas of Eastern India; West Bengal, Assam, and Odisha.
Shola art is considered to be the heredity and oral tradition of learning as from a very young age they are trained to make shola pith articles. By helping the elderly artisans in crafting shola pith as well as through day-to-day experience the young craftsman acquires the training at home.
This connects you to Lord Shiva
The reason justifies Sholapith having its mythical roots as it is associated with its origin, when Lord Shiva was on his way to marry Maa Parvati; he had a desire for the beautiful white crown. As the folklores say Lord Shiva created a man named Malakaar, who created the white headgear, flowers, and other accessories from the softcore plant. Therefore, Malakaars see Lord Shiva as their aradhya as they believe that their existence is his blessing.
This connects you to Maa Durga
Daaker saaj or Sholar saaj are the traditional pandals seen during Durga Puja, especially in parts of West Bengal. The attractive ornaments of Maa Durga are eye catchy. The shola art, not only portrays the divinity of the idol but also the hard work done by artisans. This glorifies the rich culture and heritage of the Indian traditions and customs being practiced and preserved by the folks.
Picture Credit:- Google Images
The local forms of artwork are the center of bondage to maintain the interethnic relationship and also have encouraged the other crafts. It should be noted that when modern technological influence is striking in society, traditional techniques still exist in their society. Sholapith is an example of the local art forms, every art form narrates its own story, history, and significance in the Indian Culture, to make complex, yet delicate masterpieces and simultaneously showcase such an aesthetic sense of the craftsmanship. If the government would take direct responsibility for preserving these legacies the small artisans and workers will get a golden opportunity to showcase their artistic skills on a global level; making India capable of creating a difference.
Aahanaa, one of the leading NGOs in society apart from rendering services in many forms has also contributed to the preservation of this beautiful art form. Sholapith has always been a dormant art form among the masses but the creative artists at Aahanna have always come forward and always brought the best version of it. We create it and spread awareness and information regarding it to the crowd.
Hope this little Snippet about the art form helped you know a little more about our Indian Heritage and Culture.
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