Rajasthan Exploring Painted Shekhawati

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About the Book Cycling into rarely visited northern Rajasthan, in tiny desert towns llay Copper discovers impressive buildings, their walls covered with vibrant paintings. Fascinated, he settles nearby and, exploring, finds that the main painted towns lie in the defunct administrative district of Shekhawati. After ten years studying all aspects of the painting, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) commissions him to document the phenomenon. A local teacher, Rav...
About the Book

Cycling into rarely visited northern Rajasthan, in tiny desert towns llay Copper discovers impressive buildings, their walls covered with vibrant paintings. Fascinated, he settles nearby and, exploring, finds that the main painted towns lie in the defunct administrative district of Shekhawati. After ten years studying all aspects of the painting, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) commissions him to document the phenomenon. A local teacher, Ravindra Sharma (Rabu), assists him; together they map the painted towns and, over two-and-a-half years, describe 2,260 building. They travel by motorbike and their work is punctuated by adventures. Research reveals the unpublished writings and drawings of Colonel Lockett and Lieutenant Boileau, who crossed Shekhawati in 1831. After completing their project, llay and Rabu follow Lockett and Boileaus’s 180-year-old trail, recreating the past here and illuminating the present there of this fascinating landscape. Both men are depicted in contemporary murals. Their mission was to enquire into, and record the brigandry them affecting local trade. This led to the founding of a Shekhawati Brigade to suppress robbery and bring security to the local merchants. Peace and prosperity returned, creating ideal conditions for a display of conspicuous wealth. The merchants commissioned fine buildings and, as a final touch, their walls were painted. So a military mission led to an artistic one!

 

About the Author

Raised and educated in Purbeck, in south English, llay Cooper graduated from London University in 1966. Between study, teaching and working in a quarry, he travelled widely in Asia, spending some thirteen years in India, mostly based in Churu, Rajasthan. His initial nine journeys between England and India were overland, by hitchhiking and buses, culminating in a motorcycle journey from Churu to Purbeck in 2000. His research in Shekhawati was funded by quarry work in England and photo-journalism in India. After documenting Shekhawati’s buildings, he listed those of Diu also for INTACH. These projects were followed by a series of scholarships to study wall paintings in India and Pakistan. He has written many published articles for Indian and British periodicals, five published academic papers and five books. He has also lectured widely on South Asian murals in India, Pakistan and the UK.

Contents

Cycling into a Painted World 8
Two officers Approach a Mission 23
Our Project is Launched. Ramgarh, a Merchant Town 35
Lockett and Boileau Advance 47
Narnaul: A Diwan and his Plans in Historic City 58
Into Shekhawati: Dosi Pahar, a Raja and Singhana Industries 70
Breakfast with a Rani and a Night in the Zenana 82
Baghor: Diverting to a Strategic Fort 94
Heading Westward: A Cavalcade and Nawab 104
Baron, Murders, Stepwells and Sati 116
Press Attacks, Politics and a Progress through Town 130
Mandawa: Tourism, Erotica and Craftwork 143
Boileau’s Later Route, Plots and a Failed Assassination 155
A Prolific Baron; Bandits Pursued 164
Shyam Singh’s Capital, a Pageant and Wrestling 181
Lockett Enters Churu and We Come Home 193
Superstition, Lockett’s Worries and Famine Relief 204
Two Strategic Towns, a Portrait and Marriage 218
Ruined Havelis and Royal Scandals 231
A Scarred Fort and Hanuman’s Fair 244
A Boy Prince Greets Lockett and We Meet the Police 258
Punishments and Prosperity 274
Epilogue 283
Glossary 286
Index 290

 

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Item Code: NAL449 Author: Ilay Cooper Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2014 Publisher: Niyogi Books ISBN: 9789383098217 Language: English Size: 11.5 inch x 8.5 inch Pages: 305 (Throughout Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.5 kg
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