08 May, 2021

Survivor's Canvas

Satish Gujral, the storyteller

Survivor's Canvas
WRITTEN with unusual candour and earthiness, this is the story of one of India's most versatile artist's fortitude in shrugging off disabilities in the sudden loss of speaking and hearing. Never is there a moment of self-pity; on the contrary, there is pungent hum-our and a spiked playfulness characteristic of Satish Gujral, telling stories (sometimes fables) about bureaucrats and diplomats, artists and critics and charlatans who are often named, sometimes anonymous, occasionally fleshed out into full personalities. This remains an impassioned encounter with life, of a man who has lived and savoured his experiences deeply. Perhaps it was that fall into the river in Kashmir that led to a loss of communication with the world; perhaps the sudden irreversible loss of his brother Raj and the arrest in a conspiracy case of foster brother Onkar intensified the loneliness of his childhood years; perhaps it was the brutality of riots in Jhelum during Partition which are imprinted in his early paintings. All these seemed to strengthen his will to survive and to succeed where many would have...

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