Perhaps the artist’s imaginative and unconventional model seeking to represent a love-longing heroine : a conventional vision of a woman in love in two millennium old theory of ‘Nayika-bheda’ visualized in the contemporary idiom, the painting portrays a young lady awaiting her love and getting desperate when he does not come. Her tempting beauty made up with best of jewels : the large gems’ studded pendant on the forehead, strangely designed ornaments adorning her hair, the girdle with a large brooch-like ornament attached with chains and bells suspending on her right, beautifully designed and cast arms’ ornaments, ornaments for ears, nose, back and almost for every part lavishly ornamenting her figure, and her largely uncovered body suggest how desperately and with complete dedication, and with the fire of passion fully ablaze, she has been awaiting him and how grievous should have been her disappointment when he failed to keep his words.
In her adornment the artist has revealed one aspect of her mind : her desperation in love, love’s longing and unfailing belief that her lover is coming; however, the disorder of these very ornaments, and the expression of her face as of someone in swoon, indicate that he has failed in keeping his words, whatever its reason. With a mind to convey her deep agony, so deep that it would almost kill her, the artist has used a sword-form piercing her figure across, the same as desperation cleaves anyone with its pangs. Though it does not bleed nor burns as does a fire, the pain of failing in love is often more piercing than pierces a weapon and burns more painfully than does a fire. The artist has accomplished this allegorical equation in conceiving a sword, symbolising the agony of deep pain, pierced across her figure suggesting that the pain has reached the full circle. Likewise the artist has used a deep blood-red background for symbolising the heat of the fire ablaze within and a feel of a bleeding heart torn by the loved one’s failure in keeping his promise.
Though a product of the most original imagination and a contemporary work, the painting has been rendered pursuing the art-idiom of Abd-ur-Rahaman Chugatai, an early twentieth century artist of the Bengal School, one of the Bengal School’s best known seven, and one of the great masters and the founders of modern art style. Like Chugatai who used freely flowing and rhythmically vibrant lines for revealing the beauty of form and charged his figures with rare emotional quality this painting conceives its figure, the young lady, in exceptionally charged emotional situation using delicate lines often merging with the form they are drawn to delineate. Like Chugatai, who often resorted to literary classics for his themes, like those of Kalidasa, Umarakhaiyyam, Galib, Sadi, Hafiz, Iqwal … this painting, transmigrating a portrait’s frame, seems to illustrate a verse of identical description by Umar Khaiyyam.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.