Reviving Art and Craft through the Indian Railways

Craft, Handloom, Art, Tourism

Reviving Art and Craft through the Indian Railways

Srivastava, Jashoda Priya

A summary of recent initiatives at railway stations and on-board railway trains
  • Railway Stations that got a unique makeover
Like many young children in India, I too had a fascination with travelling in trains. My excitement would climb every time I walked onto a railway platform: the hustle of crowds, the hum of diesel engines ready to depart, the train announcements and whistles! Travellers moving hundreds of kilometres on a journey that cut across India from north to south & east to west ; all that liveliness & potential packed into one railway platform of my hometown was something my heart never tired of.  I’d keep thinking of this unique, lovely connect between train journeys and the distant places that they take you to. And I think it fuelled my deep interest in arts and painting, leading me to tap our railway family & friends for art and craft stories on the Indian Railways. Thus, I stumbled upon the lovely tale of Madhubani railway station in Bihar Dating back to the British Raj, crafts of local artisans were looked down upon by the stiff upper lipped British Railway officers. And so imposing stations, with their grim grey masonry, were what one usually saw everywhere, even in post-colonial India. Until recently, when a brilliant idea led to an Indian-style graffiti attack in Madhubani station near Samastipur, Bihar.  As a part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, the task to adorn the station involved over 225 local Madhubani painting artists voluntarily working for more than 20 days to give an entire makeover to the station that was o...


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