In her hand-painted 128 feet long silk sari, Shrutika represents the life of Rajmata Jijau and the tale of Shivaji’s adventurous life.
A city-based artist has painted a 128-feet long sari to shine the spotlight on Shivaji’s mother, Rajmata Jijabai’s life and her relationship with her son.
In the city of Mumbai, where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s life and accomplishments are immortalised, it is no surprise that the Maratha warrior has been an inspiration to Maharashtra’s political leaders, writers and art practitioners since time immemorial. However, not much is written or known about the creator of this revered ruler, his mother – Rajmata Jijau. And so, just when the world celebrated International Women’s day on March 8, city-based artist Shrutika Pramod Ghag gave a stellar tribute to the woman who gave birth to the warrior-king.
In her hand-painted 128 feet long silk sari, Shrutika represents the life of Rajmata Jijau and the tale of Shivaji’s adventurous life. “It is my way of paying tribute to the source behind the man. Everyone talks about Shivaji Maharaj, but no one thinks about the one who brought him up with such strength. So, I want to bring her story and legacy to the forefront,” says Shrutika. Known for embodying an amalgamation of power, strength, love, wit, and sharpness, Rajmata Jijabai raised Shivaji while living through utmost difficulties and struggles. “She is the perfect example of what a woman should be in today’s world. I felt determined to portray her story through colors and brushes,” she says.
Illustrated with all the important events in Rajmata Jijabai’s life, the sari is an attempt to make people aware of her strengths as well as to acknowledge her power to inspire others. “Along with its artistic presentation, it’s been painted to highlight the beautiful journey of Rajmata Jijabai,” says the 25-year-old artist. For her, the sari is also a tribute to all the women going through struggles and difficulties in their lives and yet raising children and making our country proud. “We need more women in our nation who set such examples for the world. I am proud to be a woman, empowering other women through my art and my journey as an artist,” she says proudly.
A graduate in Textile Design, Shrutika started working as a designer. It was much later when she discovered her love for brushes and picked one for this exemplary painting. Her intimidating artwork doesn’t fail to mesmerise visitors in the gallery, although the process wasn’t a bed of roses. It took her almost 114 hours to complete this hand-painted sari. In fact, sitting regularly for more than 36 hours at times paid off when her work secured a place in the India Book of Records and the Unique Book of Records. “I am happy about it. I used get so tired that I would feel like quitting at times, but the next day I would just sit with the same energy,” recalls the artist. She further adds that she had to change her daily routine to pursue her passion and practiced long hours of meditation to be focused. “I practiced a lot, it’s like almost a two year process. I made a lot of sketches till I finally started on the fabric,” she adds.
In the 37 hand-painted portraits and block painted designs painted on the borders, Shrutika captures the lives of both the legends inspiring the artwork. “I portrayed everything that came into my mind and what all I have studied and researched, but everything from Jijau Mata’s point of view,” she explains. Asking about her research process, she rues that there is nothing much written about Jijau Mata on the Internet, but she spoke to some historians and read through archives to learn more about the elusive lady. “I read about every particular thing that Shivaji would do and how his mother would inspire and support him to implement his decisions,” concludes the artist.