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The Revamped Makeover of Madhubani Railway Station

May 21, 2018

The Revamped Makeover of Madhubani Railway Station
The Revamped Makeover of Madhubani Railway Station | Credit: Indian Express

Have you been to Madhubani railway station in Bihar in recent times? If not, then you must plan a trip. In the past, the railway station was known to be one of the dirtiest junctions. But, the station has been given a makeover and is now hailed as India’s cleanest railway station.

Credit: Indian Express
Credit: Indian Express

The Newly-painted Madhubani Railway Station

In October 2018, as part of the Indian Railways initiative, 225 artists volunteered to paint the walls of the oldest railways stations in Patna with Mithali paintings.

Spanning across 14,000 square feet, the project was part of the Swachh Bharat mission. The artists started work on October 2nd 2018 and took around 2 months for the job. Also, they charged no fees. The noble deed was to promote the traditional artwork and completed as ‘Shramdaan’.

Additionally, 80% of the artists were women and it is a laudable step towards empowering the village women.

Credit: Heritage Society
Credit: Heritage Society

Women painting the railway station’s walls

In fact, the representatives of the Samastipur division opined that the project was the biggest exhibition of the Mithila arts around the world. Also, according to them, the feat deserved a mention in the Guinness World Records.

The volunteers have been practicing the art form since they were youngsters and they come with several years of experience in the artwork.

The aim of the concept was not only to decorate the railway junction, but to emphasize the skills of the artists too.

As mentioned earlier, the artists did not take pay for the work, but after the project completion, they were duly felicitated. Moreover, the painting brushes, colors, refreshments, and other paraphernalia were offered by the railway personnel.

Furthermore, the railway minister, Piyush Goyal, posted pictures on social media accounts and appreciated the work of the artists.

The efforts put in by the artists was also hailed by the representative of the Rail Swacch Mission, Mr Bindeshwar Pathak, who termed Madhubani station to be cleanest rail junction in the country.

Moreover, a cash reward of Rs 2000 each for the artists was announced as well.

Mithila painting has garnered Geographical Indication status as well. Now, there are discussions to replicate the work in other railway stations of Bihar too.

Credit: Kalasiddhiart
Credit: Kalasiddhiart

A Note on Mithila Paintings

Mithila paintings seemed to have originated in Nepal. Also, the artwork reflects scenes from mythological books.

Mithila art form is folklore painting and practiced in India’s Mithila region (particularly Bihar). The art form is also known as Madhubani artwork which means ‘forest of honey’. There is mention in the Ramayan texts of this type of painting as well.

Also, on the station’s walls, you will find scenes from the Ramayana, considering the fact that the birthplace of Sita was Mithila. Also, her Bidaai and marriage to Ram and other such sequences are plastered on the walls.

Credit: Indian Express
Credit: Indian Express

Scenes from Indian Mythological Texts in Mithali paintings

On your visit, you will notice that scenes from the Mahabharata and Chhat Puja festival celebrations have been depicted as well.

In earlier times, women belonging to the upper castes would paint on the walls on special occasions with Mithali art form. They would use fingers and twigs to paint the freshly plastered mud walls of their homes for illustrating their thoughts. Also, they would use a paste made of powdered rice. The paintings gained popularity and were seen at marriage functions too. Also, colors derived from fruits and vegetables were used as paints.

Some Mithila styles include Godna, Bharni, Katchni, and Tantrik. The basic premise of Mithila paintings are depictions of Gods and Goddesses. Also, Geometric patterns are a feature of this painting style. Some other facets of the painting include deity figures, use of bold colors, flower drawings, and double line borders. In short, motifs, flora, and fauna are drawn under this painting style. 

Credit: Indianrailinfo
Credit: Indianrailinfo

Mithali Art Form

Nowadays, twigs, fingers, matchsticks, and nib-pens are used to paint under this art form. The paintings make use of natural dyes and pigments too. In addition to walls, the paintings are drawn on canvas, cloth, and handmade paper as well.

On a concluding note, all we would like to say is that the project is commendable and a job well executed.