ART INSPIRATION
PRABAL PRAMANIK'S ACADEMY OF ARTS ONLINE MAGAZINE

VOLUME - 9     NO.  1
JULY 2015 - FEBRUARY 2016

EDITORIAL

ARTICLES POEMS PHOTOGRAPHS
OF THE MONTH
ART PAGE ACADEMY NEWS ARCHIVE


ARTICLES

And we move forward

Just by viewing our websites and reading our leaflets it is not possible to infer the price that I have to pay for my lifelong project.
The projects that I have undertaken as my life’s work are very demanding on my time, energy and financial resources. It is most important that I have to be totally dedicated to my ideal and work to follow the path that I have chosen.
This factor of total dedication is not understood by ordinary people or by the society in general.
So ordinary people and the society that are concerned only with the idea of their profession and the interests of their families, can never understand the urge and the feeling that prompts me to push on with my work.
For ordinary people, such urge to work without personal crude gains accepting hardships and losses as daily routine is "eccentric" indeed.
Certainly this makes me a social misfit. The difference of opinion has broken up friendships and relationships many times in my life but I never regard the steps I had to take to continue in my journey.
I think that is absolutely difficult for a person fully dedicated to a cause that would give no financial benefit to find a suitable life partner even.
Only those who accept me as I am, with all my plus and minus points can keep personal relationship with me. So I have to be very selective in my personal circle of friends.
My dogs are great companions, loving and faithful and it is a joy taking care of them when I am not affected by my uric acid problem.
Nature provides the best companionship ever. Wide and stretching with the mighty mountain ranges, the Himalayas with all its glory and majesty, alive with flora and fauna surrounds the Academy.
Green and blue woodlands roll down the hill flanks. I am lucky indeed to live in one of the most beautiful areas of planet.
This area with magnificent scenic beauty and pollution free environment is ideal for my mediation sessions.
I daily meditate and feel at one with nature. I have seen a lot of teacherous behaviour and suffered losses at the hands of people I loved, yet the feeling of being at one with Nature takes away the bitterness. Self-speculation is the best way to advance in a spiritual way. Conscious attempts to rid the mind of harmful thoughts in a regular manner create a peaceful mind.
Even when cleaning the dog’s places I would often go on reciting naam. Being at peace with oneself is the best way to find the real joy of life.
Each successful creative work, each write-up, brings a special satisfaction. An artist who lives in his world of creative joy, may care little for crude joys of power and money that are not priorities in his agenda of life.
We all create our worlds and my world is indeed a beautiful one for me.
Every month, lots of people attend my shows, enjoy my art works and books and view our web sites, but personally I live like a hermit in my the studio at the Academy.
The studio at the Academy is the place where I stay, write my books create my art works, make the visuals for the animations and meditate.
Arup helps me to do the house work and to maintain the canine centre when he is at Bhamlada. The canine centre has sixteen inmates, dogs that are generally picked up from the road and kept with loving care. Some of them have been born in the Ashram too. This incurres a lot of physical labour as well as financial expenses. Moreover, keeping so many animals that requires regular care means that we are generally restricted to the Ashram at the Academy and when Arup has to go to Kolkata twice a year when I manage the canine centre alone.
This implies cleaning, feeding, changing the water for the dogs and letting out the dogs in the garden batch by batch several times a day.
From our experience we know that servants, even if highly paid do not take any real interest in looking after the dogs and do the work in a shoddy manner.
So, we don’t keep any servants. Arup and I do all the house work ourselves and this implies household cleaning, cooking, washing and gardening. Some times we hire gardeners to do garden work.
I am more than sixty two years old and often don’t keep good health. I have hernia problem. I had operation done but the problem has started on the other side of my abdomen. I have uric acid problem that sometimes cripples me and my movements become restricted during the bouts of hyper uricemia.
I suffer from fluctuating blood pressure, and have to keep my blood pressure medicine handy, even when I go out of the Academy.
I live alone, as my attempts to setup a family life have been unsuccessful.
Financially speaking I have no savings at present except one Life Insurance policy of one Lac under LIC of India under Jeevan Astha scheme. The academy has its own account, that is kept for the future management.
My pay packet is nine thousand rupees plus one thousand for telephone and internet expenses.
M/s Orient Book Company maintains the websites and the canine welfare centre.
When I take any extra money as overdraft from company, I have to pay that sum back to the company.
So, we work with a very tight budget managing our work schedule and home front.
Our concept of happiness loss and gain are different and we have a different way of accepting life.
When we are able to give the best of our abilities we feel happy. So far we have never been unsuccessful in any of our projects.
With each programme we advance a step further towards our goal. We are thankful to people who understand our aims and help us willingly.
Our concept of success is not a personal one but a collective one and this success means a better society, better oriented in creative aspects.
We don’t believe in the success of money minded social and political oppertunists. We emphasize on the maximum of benefit that we can give to ordinary common people.
Common people in the rural area are often deprived of the privileges enjoyed by the rich in the cities. So our effort is to build a better life for the commoners.
Problems come, and problems go or remain, yet the work goes on. My world has nothing gained in terms of family life or financial savings. I lead a very tough life in an overloaded studio strewn with papers, books, art works and art materials.
To an ordinary person it would be like a "dust-bin". Yet in this topsy-turvy studio cum study, some of the finest works of art and literature ever produced in the history of man have been born.
This topsy turvy studio is the nerve centre of one of the greatest cultural movements of India as you can see from our websites.
I do not care for praise or blame at the social level. I know perfectly well that if I cared for praise or blame at the social level I would not be able to continue my work.
I don’t keep any connection with my so called relations and I am quite aware that they are not sympathitic with my work and they don’t understand my life and work. So keeping in touch with any of them is absolutely useless.
Yet, I am not a social recluse as my family created by my work expands beyond my area and spreads out to different countries even. I send out hundreds of greeting cards to people with whom I have some connections and receive many calls from them.
Most people in my locality love me and respect me greatly and I love them too. Local people take active part in my shows.
I know that we will be successful in our mission, and that success will not be measured by the pains and pleasures of any individual that bore the burden of work at the Academy.
My work, my relationship with the majority of the people of my area and my canine friends make me feel happy.
Most of all I feel a great gratification each time when I complete a project successfully.
Our work has created a platform for social awareness in this rural area and this factor has far reaching impact on the society at this area.
The entire area understands that we consolidating our activities in an effective manner very fast and this gives me immense satisfaction.
I have an indomitable nature that helps me to march on inspite of great losses and difficulties.
This makes me confident of making my life worthwhile through my work.
Nothing comes free in this life except mother’s love and God’s love. I willingly pay the price of for being able to continue in my chosen path.
This is a path that has given a far wider dimension to my existence than any narrow social value could have imparted.
It is a path of Nishkama Karma Yoga in true form. A path for my spiritual liberation.

Prabal Pramanik

 

The main aspects of the cultural consciousness
project undertaken by
Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts.

Rural India is very often neglected when the propagation and orientation of sophisticated cultural activities other than local folk arts are concerned. Rural area often lacks the infrastructure for this sort of activities and the network for media often do not reach such areas.
Opportunities for rural children who study in village schools are often very limited indeed and central and state Academy officials show little or no interest in understanding that cultural development is vital for progress.
Without proper cultural exposure emphasizing on creative development proper progress is not possible.
This factor is vital not only in cultural sphere but also in socioeconomic aspect.
The skill to create objects that can be marketed is important in countering the problem of unemployment. So, this is a project with a long term significance. Just creative skill can never be enough for economic development, as the system to market the produced articles in a way that the artisans receive the benefit of their labour is vital. Otherwise the fruits of economic development would not reach the grass roots level.
The people who become conscious of their own creative capabilities gain self esteem and the confidence to accept life on their own terms.
A vital factor in life is the joy of enjoying refined culture. This vital factor shapes the personality, sharpens the mind and helps spiritual advancement.
To enjoy refined culture, proper orientation is necessary and for proper orientation and exposure to refined cultural activities in a regular manner is absolutely necessary.
Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts give the local population in this rural area the opportunity to enjoy and participate in sophisticated cultural activities in a regular way through various programmes organized by Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts.
Repeated programme create an impact on the entire local society. Even those who don’t take part in our programme or even don’t attend them are absolutely aware that cultural activities are going on in this area every month.
School children enjoy the workshops immensely and ask for more programmes. This is very important as this shows that a hunger for refined culture is spreading in this area.
The extra curricular activities that we conduct for the school children are a great helps for the village school children who have very little opportunity to attend such programmes otherwise.
The creative art programmes and workshops that we organize in a regular manner are educative for the school teachers too and they too often take active part in our workshops. This helps the teachers to teach and guide the children in such creative activities in future.
One aspect of life is basic. Refined creative art touches the hearts of most people irrespective of age and gender.
This I have witnessed several times in real life. A beautiful picture, a soothing piece of music, a thought provoking piece of literature enliven most people and create a positive appeal. This factor helps me to plant seeds of cultural appreciation that would bear fruits in future.
I give most importance to the young generation as they will shape future. The young generation will grow up with better sense of creative art and most likely would want to teach their children in future when the time comes to do so. Change is the law of Nature and when the change is in a positive and more creative direction the society will be a happier one.
The change is not just a cultural factor. The entire value system is influenced by regular creative activities at the grass roots level.
We have a better perception of life when we accept creative art as a necessary part of life.
This important and efficient way of creating a better world is often overlooked by many.
Yet I know that art is a very powerful tool to bring about social change in a fundamental way. So, I take up project after project for social development and progress.
I understand that to create a better world with healthy culture I have to overcome many hurdles.
I am experienced in navigating the boat of life in rough sea fraught with dangers. Again and again I had to face problems caused by negative elements but such bad elements have not been able to deter me.
Every project undertaken by us have been successful and have created positive impacts with far reaching positive results.
So we confidently progress in a our way, with the blessings of Almighty to a better future.

Prabal Pramanik

 

How we manage our work at the Academy

This is an article of interest for those who speculate about our work after seeing our websites and pamphlets. Those who may be interested in knowing how we function and move on with multiple projects going on at the same time and produce positive and constructive results of high quality may be interestest to read this.
So this article may answer many questions in the minds of many. Now I will state the facts clearly and truthfully. When I talk about our team at the academy, I mean the people who are actively working on the projects of the Academy on a regular basis.
There is a core committee and there is the Kolkata office. Furthermore we have an active art club in Kolkata with members participating in our programmes. Some are regular and active participants and others are occasional participants. There are area wise convenors who assist us in the functions.
The core committee has to work the hardest. The core committee has to manage the ongoing projects and plan the mode of working.
Since we work with a very limited manpower, the core comittee provides the main manpower for the multiple activities for the projects.
The printing work is done at Kolkata according to the instructions from the head office at Bhamlada. Every active worker has his say and the suggestions of each co-worker is carefully evaluated.
The core committee and the Kolkata office group all work in M/s Orient Book Company in their professional capacity.
All the work done for Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts is voluntary. For this labour of love we don’t take remunerations and our Academy is a nonprofit organization.
Our Academy does not accept any financial grant or donation from any source, and this is a firm policy. The money received from the sale of books and prints by M/s Orient Book Company financially supports the Academy and the projects run by the Academy.
We have learnt to manage a lot with a little amount of money as we have to understand the limitations of our small budget. Talent, dedication and coordination are the three pillars of our organization.
We recognize the talent of every co-worker and allocate the jobs according to the talent and ability of the person concerned. Dedication is a must for every one in this organization, or else that person finds it impossible to work with this team.
Coordination is the base of the team work. In a coordinated team each person has to know his place and his authority as well as his limitations.
These three aspects of the team work in our organization we accept very seriously and quite efficiently.
I provide the basic material such as art works, articles and most of the other literary stuff. Mr. Arup Chandra provides the technical know-how, internet expertise and photography, movie and still both. Mr. Arup Chandra manages the internet work too.
Here in Bhamlada in addition to regular activities of the Academy we have to look after the canine welfare centre that requires daily attention.
This is a very demanding work in involves a lot of hard physical labour that have to be reudered with love. We have no servant.
Our publication work is coordinated by M/s Orient Book Company, we often setup and design the book here at our multimedia studio at Bhamlada and send the matter by internet to Kolkata office to be printed.
The business in Kolkata is fully computerized and every working day sale reports and other business reports are sent by the internet to Bhamlada.
We lead simple lives, so we manage in our modest pay packages. Work is important yet the attitude for work is more important. Our Academy work is done without the thought of monetary profit.
Our projects are carefully planned, so that they are low budget programmes. We do all the hard work physically ourselves ensuring quality in low budget. We go about ourselvs on a scooty pasting posters, distributing leaflets and invitation cards. Since we render free service for the society and never charge for our workshops, many eminent artists and musicians work in our programmes without charging money.
Many people understand our contributions to the society and cooperate with us in a nonprofit manner. We never overshoot our budget and limit our work to our own infastructure. We have an exhibition hall that doubles up as mini auditorium at Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts at Bhamlada.
Our movie productions are in house productions and the Academy has the basic equipment for movie making. We maintain a neutral image and shun the company of politicians and arrogant officials.
Our work is with the common people at the grassroots level and we prefer to organize our programmes at the common person’s level, for the benefit of the common person. In my opinion, only when culture positively influences the common people, the cultural activity is a successful one on a wider scale.
Compassion and love for the common people are necessary when conducting cultural activities at a rural area in India. Sharing the joy of artistic appreciation without the thought of financial gain is necessary when one wants to build a better society with healthy culture.
When we hold shows outside our Academy, we seek out really cheap or free venues. Often we use temple premises and hold functions at schools and colleges. So we save the money for rental charges for the venues.
I often hold puppet shows. I am the puppeteer, puppet maker and the narrator of the puppet shows. When organizing film festival, our venue is free. We use our own projection system, and have our sets of chairs in the gallery that acts as the auditorium.
Several Institutions in Eastern India cooperated in an understanding manner. In all our Cultural Festivals our "coordination management system" works in a smooth manner. Since our work is not primarily money based but based on mutual cooperation, our mechanism works in such a manner that many villagers come to help in voluntary manner in organizing the shows.
This free and voluntary cooperation is a benefit that is not enjoyed by professional event organizers who organize events for huge sums of money.
I keep my scissors and paper ready and I am ever willing to give free lecture demonstrations to people who love art. People from different parts of India and even from abroad come regularly to our gallery just for the love of art.
We never evaluate art in terms of money. We evaluate art in terms of its artistic excellence as we evaluate our programmes by the amount of joy the programmes give to the common people.
It is to be noted that even in this remote village, many villagers have purchased quite intellectual books from us. People from Kolkata come at times and cooperate with us to hold the shows.
This cooperation is very valuable as this joins this little village in the Himalayan foot hills to the mega metropolis. We never try to manipulate anyone and avoid all cultural hypocrisy and dirty politics.
We manage to work within our budget limitations creating our own standard and we don’t care to live up to a standard dictated by others.
Since we spend the money that we earn ourselves we are very careful about the spending and the wastage that is common in government organized programmes and corporate organized programmes is absent from our work.
We limit the number of people we involve in our programmes to the amount that we can manage budget wise and space wise without compromising with the quality.
We keep full and detailed account of our work as we would not be able to keep within the budget without proper accounts.
Programme by programme we make the budget and keep our accounts. For example a free workshop for fifty students at out locality would involve the cost of fluorescent sheets, the petrol cost for coming and going and some invitation cards and posters that we may print using our computer and printer at the Academy. We keep the sets of scissors for repeated use by the students.
The total expense for such a programme will be about three to four hundred Indian rupees, yet at least fifty children will be benefitted and would learn a sophisticated art form. The venue is a free of cost place.
For the puppet shows we just carry the portable screen and the puppets. We provide the sound syncronization on a small amplifier or villagers who attend the shows provide live music.
We keep careful records of our work that people can view from our websites. Maximum benefit to maximum people with minimum cost is our motto.
Modern technology has cutdown the costs immensely. For digital cameras the recurring and ever increasing cost of films and developing is gone.
Editing and D.V.D. writing is done conveniently at our own lab by us and by doing our own work on our own equipment we save a lot of money too. Fast and cheap e-communication and the internet portral for our movies world wide make distribution extremely cost efficient. Our feedback collection and follow-up mechanism is very strong indeed.
We are masters of design ourselves and any one can see that from our websites and publications. So we don’t have to pay for the desiging and layout work.
Since I do the artwork necessary in our work and I am the resource person in our art workshops, we don’t have to pay anything for the artist too.
Being masters of our own subjects we don’t depend on others and do a much better job than other people. Finally, the love and dedication that we give for our labour of love can never be accounted for in terms of money.
I just need a few sheets of paper and I can turn out complete sets of visuals for animations myself. Arup will do the stop frame cinematography. We will synchronize sound, and a complete animations is born.
One can check from the internet that amongst paper cutting animations our animations are very popular. Just two of us will make informative and artistic documentaries and we always add our own special touches that make our productions extraordinary. I write the scripts and lyrics and will even narrate or provide voice if necessary.
Voices I provide myself range from the roar of a dragon to chanting of Sanskrit Sloakas. Music mixing is done in house by Arup and we just take everything as a game that we play with a lot of childlike joy bubbling with creativity. Books on art, literature, poetry and on serious articles on current affairs and social problems I write myself and Arup does the typesetting on his computer at home.
We design from the cover to the tailpiece ourselves and don’t pay anyone else for that job. Only for Hindi typing we have to rely on others.
I paint, draw and make paper cutting art pieces regularly adding to the art collection of the Academy. We are not deterred by blows that life deals out often in unexpected way. We push on with full faith in Almighty and work to our full capacity.
I addition to all this I have to cook, clean my utensils and wash. Arup and I both look after the canine welfare centre at Bhamlada.
When guests come, Arup accommodates them in his own house and his wife Dipali graciously looks after them. I pay for the cost of extra food.
I believe that we are doing all this by the will of Almighty. So he will guide and protect us now and in future.

Note : The general dictum of success neither bothers us nor do we accept the materialistic way of defining success.
Since we work in an area where there is very little ready infrastructure and orientation for refined culture, we had to create our own infrastructure and teach many local people cultural appreciation concerning refined cultural presentation.
Often just a few people may turn up as guests at a function for which we may have put in a huge amount of effort.
We think that this is natural in north India as the hunger for refined culture in sincere manner is not easy to find in this area. Especially when a programme is organized without the thought of financial benefits or social benefits in the crude sense of social milage, many people attach little or no importance to such activity. Yet, we are not deterred as we know the quality factor is far more important than the quantity factor.
A crowd of insensitive people who are not really interested never make any function successful anywhere. Those who appreciate our work in this area attend our functions.
Though we work with a very slim budget we work successfully as we keep within our limits. The factors that generally others can never match with us even if they have a great amount of financial resources, are our talent and dedication.
With an unlimited imagination and the ability to get the most out of life, we work with an unflinching determination.
These qualities can never be evaluated in terms money. We make mistakes and often have to make repeated efforts to get a job done, but we never give up.
M/s Orient Book Company by taking care of the publications work and by bearing the expense for the canine welfare centre helps in a vital manner.
One thing is certain. It is the blessings of almighty that allows us to work.
I feel that a divine hand guides us in our projects to reach a predestined goal.

Prabal Pramanik

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