Millennium Post

War and peace

Art and Aesthetic presents an exhibition of Pop-up and Installations Lament- Mahabharata by artist Sankha Banerjee in the Capital. Curated by Amit Mukhopadhyay, the exhibition will continue from March 23 to April 4.

Lament basically deals with war, destruction, loss, ruin and tragedy. Mahabharata witnessed the Great War and destruction of life. It is not a tale of how a kingdom was won or lost  , it is a narrative of human tragedy. So is the Second World War, which witnessed a brutal destruction, death and the rise of Fascism. The recent conflicts in the Middle East and Palestine. Is not a full scale war as we understand now, but the brutality of the conflict has led to millions dead, homeless, and without any hope of a Nation/ State.

Many stories of Mahabharata were in ‘oral tradition’ in ancient India. It has at least 3 compositional layers. The first one is a Kshatriya tale with the name of ‘Jaya’, which is essentially a war-story. It is a poetic narrative of the battle of Kurukshetra.

In the second layer, some tales based on the eternal notions of morality were incorporated into it. Human qualities like kindness, forgiveness, truthfulness and self-command were appended to the ‘Jaya’ to form the ‘Bharata’. And much later, in the beginning of the Gupta period, its final stratum was created. This is called the Brahmanical addition which primarily comprises elaborate eulogies of the deities and the Brahmins and is widely considered to be of poor literary value.

The Mahabharata is a huge net with an epochal war at its center. The realization of this war gradually sinks into each character as they proceed towards it, and surprisingly, the thought that flows like a stream throughout the epic is this – war is catastrophic, war is always undesirable.  Peace is desirable. It gives us the insight that victory in a war can be far more dreadful than loss. And yet, it is tranquility of mind, rather than pain, which accompanies this deep insight.

Art and Aesthetic, F213/A, 1st Floor, Old M B Road, Lado Sarai
When: On till April 4
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