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This artist pays tributes to martyrs differently since 1999

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By Archana Sharma

Jaipur, Jan 31 (IANS) Meet artist Chandraprakash Gupta who is paying rich tributes to Army martyrs differently since the Kargil War of 1999.

He has been making oil paintings of the war heroes and gifting them to their families after travelling miles to their villages to ensure they get a feel of how their Army Hero is loved across the nation by people unknown.

Speaking to IANS, he says, “During the Kargil war, I came to know that over 85 Army heroes from Rajasthan sacrificed their lives for the sake of their nation. The news of their heroism made me proud but I was also feeling hollow and helpless wondering how I can condole their bereaved families as a son of the soil and make them feel the depth of love and respect their son is garnering across the nation.”

“I was an artist and the only thing I knew was drawing, painting and sketching. Hence came the idea of making their oil painting portraits and gifting it to their families,” he adds.

So basically the idea cropped up in 1999 with the Kargil War. While sitting in my crammed Devdas Studio in Chaura Rasta Bazaar, I painted the picture of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, resident of Kota district, on an impulse. His aircraft was shot down by a Pakistani missile, he informs.

Since then Gupta has done 275 portraits, of which 85 are those of Kargil martyrs.

These are all war heroes who came to the battlefield but did not come back.

He also travels miles on his own and gifts these portraits to their families personally.

Till date, he has travelled to 60 villages no matter how much in the interior they are but he ensures that he reaches each martyr’s family and meets and gifts these portraits to them personally.

Besides using his brush, he makes much effort to paint them and there are other unseen efforts too.

As soon as he learns of the martyrdom of a soldier, he communicates with his family or the Sainik Welfare Department for a photograph. Then for a week, he makes his brush work in the studio. Once the portrait is done, which is a memorial stroked with colours, he makes ground preparations to give it to the bereaved families.

At times, he carries the finished work to their doorstep and doesn’t charge a penny for the painting or his travel from anyone. The money, according to him, comes from his commercial work.

He has inherited the gift of making portraits from his father Brij Mohan, who was an artist too.

Learning the art of painting from him, he soon realised that his work should acquire a deeper shade for he wanted to commemorate the warriors of his land.

Former governor of Rajasthan Anshuman Singh acknowledged Gupta’s efforts by awarding him Rs 5,000 and presenting 20 of his paintings to bereaved families.

Recently, Governor Kalraj Mishra gifted his painting to the family of Assistant Commandant Jitendra Singh who was martyred in Jammu in 2018.

He was also awarded by the state government once for his efforts.

However the man is least bothered about rewards.

He says, “It makes an emotional scene watching young widows with infants in their arms and the aged parents mourning their sons.”

“But on looking at the portrait, a faint smile appears on their face and this is the reward of a lifetime,” he says.




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