This Baramasa folio, an exceptionally simplified canvas with well-identified areas for different sets of activities rendered in Uniara art style of late eighteenth century, portrays the month of Agahan, variedly named Margashirsha, the ninth in the Indian calendar, which corresponds to the period from around the mid-November to mid-December of the Common Era. Agahan is the month when the sun turns to ‘astachala’ – Westwards inclining to set early, though it still retains its warmth much as before rendering the earth neither too cold nor too hot, neither too bright nor too dull. The birds, especially the celestial swans, love the month of Agahan for it is the period when lakes are full of water and lotuses and neither of them is too cold or torturous to drive them away or to deprive them of their songs. Perhaps for such reasons the month of Agahan is said to be the most favourite of the Lord and his disciples who find ample time to serve Him and mutually discourse on issues of theologies. With crops sown, and not much left to be accomplished, Agahan gives recess for seeking happiness as well as to work for one’s salvation. The convention considers those who are with their loved ones as the most blessed; and that is why Agahan inspires the beloved to pray her lover not to desert her and go away during these most lovely moments of the year.
The prince modeled and attired like Lord Krishna with blue complexion and yellow ‘antariya’ – lower garment, is seated on the terrace of his palace along with his consort. He seems to be holding in one of his hands a gems-studded golden goblet symbolic of his delightful mood. A maid, close to the stairs, seems to be bringing to him a wine-jar and another, almost identical, goblet. It seems to be the late, and slightly cool, hour of the day when against an opaque sky the sun, riding his chariot driven by seven horses, is fast moving towards the west. Gazing into each other’s eyes the contented lovers portray the essence of the month of Agahan, which is union in love. A precautionary measure against cold, the loving couple is seen wearing shawls-like upper garments over the traditional costumes.
On the left towards the mid-canvas height is depicted a shrine with the four-armed image of Vishnu installed in the sanctum. In front of the sanctum are seated two ascetics engaged in discourse and close to them lay ritual utensils, a pot and others, and a square bookstand type article, perhaps used for reading out a scripture. Behind the shrine there is a lake with abundant water and lotuses and with different species of birds hovering over it. On the other side of the lake there is a mountain covered with greenery. In the foreground there is the routine palace tank of irregular shape with a few lotus plants and some cranes. On its bank there is a row of stylised and vividly conceived trees and a patch of lawn.
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.