Teachers’ Day Special – Stories From Padma Shri Artists From Rajasthan Themselves

Teachers' Day Special - Stories From Padma Shri Artists From Rajasthan Themselves

Don’t we all grow a bit nostalgic when we talk about Teachers’ Day Special? Teachers’ day Special back at school was about celebrations, a group dance, and giving a rose to our teachers. Normally, I always go down a nostalgic trip to school whenever I think about the carefree Teachers’ day special back at school.

Reminiscing those crazy childhood mischiefs, we decided to know from Padma Shri recipients about their childhood. I thought of taking down these artists on a walk down their memory lane. These renowned, immensely talented artists shared some of their most favorite childhood memories with me. And take my word on it, you wouldn’t want to miss out on these heart whelming anecdotes.

Teachers’ Day Special in the words of Padma Shri Recipients:

Padma Shri Shakir Ali Ji

Padma Shri Shakir Ali Ji - Teachers' day Special

Born in 1956, Padma Shri Shakir Ali Ji completed his Bachelor’s in Arts from Rajasthan University, Jaipur. He got inspired to paint miniature paintings from his grandfather, Shri Syed Hamid Ali, and his father Shri S. Sabir Ali. His learning began under the guidance of Late Padma Shri Ram Gopal Vijaiverigiya and Shri Ved Pal Sharma. He started painting at the age of 15. Now, it has been more than 40 years since he has been painting professionally. 

Shakir Ali Ji shared his anecdotes about one of his gurus:

Initially, when I started learning from Vijaiverigiya Ji, he understood my art interests. He knew that my interest lied in the miniature style of painting. He wasn’t a miniature artist, so he directed me to Sharma Ji. I started learning miniature painting from Sharma Ji, but his method of teaching didn’t involve words.

He also said,

After three months of learning, I finally gathered enough courage to ask him the reason behind his silence. I questioned him why he wouldn’t share any knowledge about his art. He smiled and replied calmly after thinking for a few minutes, ‘This art is an observation. Your keen observation of the intricacies and your eye for details defines how good your artwork will turn out to be. So, when you sit right in front of me, you observe the way I paint, the way I use my brush, make an outline, the kind of colors I use,” he added. His style of teaching became one of the major lessons of my life.

He further added:

Once I asked my guruji what does one need in order to become a good artist. He told me that all one needed was a good heart. Further, he explained that the purity of your heart would define how pure and beautiful your art would be. He also added that a person’s heart must be like a flower’s petal.

Shakir Ali Ji owes all his accomplishments to his gurus. He emphasized that there are people who ignore the knowledge that their gurus impart. However, if you truly abide by those learnings, they will make you a good artist.

Here are some of his paintings:

Padma Shri Shakir Ali Ji - his paintings

Padma Shri Arjun Prajapati

Padma Shri Arjun Prajapati - teachers' day special

Born in 1957, Shri Arjun Prajapati Ji is a famous artist from Rajasthan known for his pottery and sculptures. It has been 40 years since he started practicing his art. He started his training at an early age of 14 under Mahendra Das, a top-ranking artisan. He learned the finer techniques of this art under Shri Dwarika Prasad.

I was trained by three gurus: Pandit Dwarka Prasad Ji Sharma, Mahender Das Sahab and Anandilal Ji Verma. 

He gave an insight into his childhood as well. He narrated,

I was a very mischievous child, however, I was sincere towards my work and my studies. Most importantly, my art kept me dedicated. As a child, I loved playing kancche and cricket with my friends. Besides that, one of my favorite pastimes was flying kites with my friends.

Prajapati Ji spoke about his inspiration behind becoming a sculptor,

There was a moorti market near my house. On my way to school, I used to stand there for hours. The intricate designs of the effigies kept me hooked without making me bored. My interest in that particular art kept growing since then. I decided that I wanted to design effigies and gave myself to it.

He concluded by shedding some light on his struggles and the hard work he did in order to earn a name for himself. He encouraged the budding and aspiring artists to work hard and to put their minds and souls into it.

Here are some of his artworks:

Padma Shri Arjun Prajapati - his artwork

Padma Shri Tilak Gitai

Padma Shri Tilak Gitai - teachers' day special

Maestro painter and all-rounder master craftsman, Shri Tilak Gitai Ji has been practicing art for over 50 years. “This form of art runs in my heritage. My father was a master coat painter in Bikaner before Independence,” said Gitai Ji. Born in 1949, he hails from the second generation of royal court painters patronized by the rulers of Bikaner. He claims to belong to the first batch who completed BFA from the University of Delhi in the entire country. He specializes in Indian traditional Miniature paintings like Mughal, Rajasthani, Phadi paintings, etc.

Gitai Ji narrated his memories with his gurus,

When I was in Rajdhani School of Arts, Mr. Narbadi Lal Sharma, my guru, infused my interest in miniature paintings. He was my favorite teacher as he was a very simple old man with an immense knowledge of art. I always respected him a lot and he always showered me with his knowledge and blessings. Whatever I am today, I owe it all to each one of my teachers.

Reminiscing old memories, Gitai Ji also narrated one of his childhood anecdotes,

When I was in 8th standard in one of my art classes, I was asked to draw something. When I finished, my teacher accused me of tracing it to which I immediately denied. So, he asked me to draw something on the board in front of some 50 students. I became extremely nervous. However, I just focused on my drawing. When I finished, my teacher was absolutely impressed by my drawing and appreciated me by calling me the best artists in the entire school. That was the first time my talent and my art was recognized by someone.”

Here are some of his paintings:

Padma Shri Tilak Gitai - his paintings
Padma Shri Tilak Gitai - his paintings

A glimpse into these beautiful memories from Padma Shri artists themselves makes us reminisce about our days at school. What is the first thought that strikes your mind as soon as someone mentions Teachers’ Day Special? A favorite teacher who scolded you for your mischiefs yet never missed a single opportunity to appreciate your slightest of achievements or a professor who inspired you to become who you are today? The day you came early to school to do all preparations to surprise your class teacher or the day when you wore a saree for the first time to school? 

Tell me about it in the comment section below!

Follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art and travel content. Reach out to us on email at contact[at]rajasthanstudio[dot]com. This blog is curated and written by Rajasthan Studio.

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