Shree Malchand ji Jangid of Churu, Rajasthan, was a master sandalwood craftsman who won the national award in 1971 by Former President of India V.V. Giri and a special award the following year from the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Fifteen years later he died leaving behind a wealth of the most delicate and exquisite carvings for posterity. He also ensured that his traditional skill as a sandalwood carver was passed on to his children and grandchildren. Though sandalwood is no longer easily available, the skill has stayed alive in the Jangid family. Now this work has been going on from generations. the work function of sandal wood intricately carved to play in a manner standing tradition in this art today.
The two carvings of Rajasthani women, decked in traditional attire and jewellery, are masterpieces in which the veils have the appearance of filigree. The taller of the two has 11 intricately carved scenes depicting the rich history of India. Dedicated to the legendary Maharana Pratap and other great rulers, the depictions include the battle of Haldighati, the sacrifices of Hadi Rani and Pannathai, the assassination of Mohammed Ghori by Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Pratap’s battle with Bhamasa, Rani Padmini’s johar.
Some 22 of Malchand’s priceless sandalwood carvings have been brought to Delhi by Saurabh Singhvi, son of the late collector Prakash Chand Jain, who was an ardent fan of Malchand’s work. On display at the Arts of the Earth Gallery is the life-size sitar which won him the national award. Made in the late Sixties, its fine workmanship is to be seen to be believed. Valued today at Rs 15 lakh, the sitar, which took close to three years to make, is dedicated to 16th century musician Tansen. It has 10 panels, each of which opens to reveal different facets of the singer’s life. A smaller sitar, also dedicated to Tansen and made in the late Seventies, depicts three scenes from the maestro’s life. The central chamber shows Emperor Akbar’s court in which Tansen is singing and the nratiki (female dancer) is in full flow. Besides intricate jali work, the sitar has miniature carvings that are amazingly detailed.
The guldasta, or traditional Rajasthani flower vase, is another beautiful piece that took years to make. The 2-ft tall creation has 13 depictions of historical events — the court of Mughal king Jahangir, known for his dispensation of justice, Rani Laxmi Bai fighting the British, Gandhiji at Sabarmati Ashram and Jawaharlal Nehru at the Red Fort, among others. The tiny tricolour can be seen fluttering fearlessly.
The guldasta is perched on an intricately carved circular table made out of local Rajasthani wood.
A FRAGRANT LEGACY
The fragrant sandalwood grows predominantly in Karnataka and is used extensively in puja and other religious rituals. The paste has cooling properties. The wood is so valuable that it is usually sold in grams. It has an even texture because of its close grains and fewer knots. The heart of the wood is most used and it has a fragrance that lasts years. The yellow/brown sandalwood grows darker with age after it is cut.
Sandalwood carving dates back by many centuries, and a succession of ruling dynasties have conferred on it a royal status. Under such patronage, the craft flourished and entire families took to this trade. Although there were many craftsmen in Karnataka, Churu became the second centre for sandalwood carving. Today, the craft languishes in the absence of both craftsmanship and quality sandalwood due to the ban on its felling.
The Jangid family has been involved with the craft from the Mughal era. Although some family members have moved to other professions, a core group remains involved. In fact, the family boasts not less than seven national award winners.
The works on display have been collected over 40 years by two generations of collectors. They have been preserved with utmost care, but the current owner wishes to sell them because he is no longer confident of being able to care for them. These exquisite carvings of antique value would make for worthy additions to the National Museum.
(This article was published on November 7, 2013)
MOVED FROM CHURU TO JAIPUR!
Mahesh Jangid (3rd generation) on May 20, the Jangid family had moved base from Churu in Rajasthan to Jaipur, the capital of the state. Along with his family, including the two little sons, It was going to be a monumental event for the family. He was the third generation to have learnt the craft of miniature carving and was moving to the big city hoping to make it bigger. With the skill honed under the tutelage of his father and grandfather (MALJI JANGID), some tools of the trade and dreams of making it big, the family moved to Jaipur. It was tough. It helped that there were some who admired his craft and were ready to buy the intricately carved products he made on sandalwood.
Mr Mahesh Jangid is 3rd generation of The Jangid Family:
Mahesh Jangid Born in Churu District, Rajasthan, Mahesh learned the art of woodcarving at the age of seven, under the guidance and care of his grandfather, Shri Mal Chand Ji, a renowned artist and a National Award winner. After a basic education, Mahesh gave up studies to devote his life to sandalwood (Santalum album) carving and by the time he was 24, Mahesh had earned his own national carving award for his extraordinary miniature work.
In 1993, he won the National Award for his sandalwood carved hand fan and his extraordinary achievements. Mahesh has shared his passion and techniques with his two sons, who have also gone won few awards and recognitions for their carvings. Mahesh has broken a number of records with his work, when he carved his fine, delicate smallest jointless chain from a solid piece of sandalwood. The chain is 315mm in length and weighs just 160g. He has also since carved one more jointless chain from another solid piece of sandalwood, this time with the chain measuring 10ft long with 496 links and weighing just 12g, which is the longest wooden jointless chain. Mahesh has two records in the Limca Book of Records for making these jointless chains and also has a record in the Indian Book of Records and one record in the Global World Record for the same pieces. To promote his work, Mahesh participates in national art and crafts exhibitions and fairs, such as Delhi Haat, Suraj Kund Mela, Master Creations Delhi, etc., but he also participates in international art exhibitions and fairs in France, Germany, Egypt, Malaysia, Poland, Switzerland and more. Mahesh looks to his sons for continuing the family tradition. So we can say the M&R Handicrafts roots are Strong Enough.
Next generation of artisans- Mohit & Rohit Jangid:
MALJi | Online Art Gallery Started by 4th Generation of Jangid family, and Mohit Jangid and Rohit Jangid from the family started this Company for Art lovers and Carvers, becouse they belongs from wood carving so they know the Value of this Wood Carving Culture & Saving This Culture for next generations.
Mahesh’s son, Mohit, started learning the art since he had just turned a teenager. He went to Greenfield School, Jaipur and after he was back home, he would often spend hours at their home, practicing the craft. His younger brother, Rohit, too followed his footsteps. They actively lend a helping hand to their father even as they hone their own skills.
Mohit and Rohit have both been recognised for their skill by the state, even while they were in school. Little did his classmates or teachers know about their skill. So, when the picture of Mohit receiving the award from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was printed in the newspapers, they suddenly became a recognised face in school. Classmates used to pull Mohit’s legs, taunting him for being an artist and having the time to play with them.
Mohit never bothered about being called the artist as he had found his calling early in life.
Over the last few years, Mohit and Rohit have added a new dimension to the business by taking it online. Thanks to taking their art online, they have been able to find art lovers and buyers connect with them from cities across the world. While there are customers who regularly buy the designs that the family carves on sandalwood, they now want to expand their sphere of influence. But there is nothing that the Jangid family has with them as memory.
“Someday I would like to build a museum that can people can come and see the kind of work that the three generations of my family have done. I hope to take their name ahead,” Mohit said. His father, Mahesh, sitting next to him smiled in appreciation.
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Mr. Mahesh Jangid is 3rd generation of "The Jangid Family"
Mohit Jangid is 4th generation of "The Jangid Family"
Rohit Jangid is 4th generation of "The Jangid Family"