The other world’s symbols.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The bullock cart continues to be a common means of transport in rural India – says the display board.
This information may astonish a visitor 100 years later from now; today, it only evokes amusement. Yet, ‘Group of Bullock Carts from Various Regions’ is the most beautiful display in the National Crafts Museum. The collection itself is part of the museum’s brick-paved Village Complex, which was designed by architect Ram Sharma and sculptor Sankho Choudhury in 1972 to showcase traditionally built rural dwellings across the country. There is the Pigeon House from Gujarat, the Gond hut from Madhya Prdaesh, and the Kullu house from mountainous Himachal Pradesh, installed on a hillock.
And then there is the Gadulia bullock cart from Rajasthan. The display board says that it serves as the portable residence of the nomadic Gadulia tribe. Standing still in the museum, this caravan home, made from keekar wood, appears like a fish out of water.
It was raining the afternoon The Delhi Walla visited the museum. Most of the wooden carriages were shrouded in white polythene sheets. There were no visitors except for a couple sitting beside the Gujarati hut.
Plucked off from their rural setting, the carts of the Crafts Museum have acquired profound personalities. They symbolize a remote-seeming life, although hundreds of people arrive daily in our city from villages where these exhibits are as real and unavoidable as poverty. The Crafts Museum will probably not impress those migrants.
Where Bhairon Marg, Pragati Maidan Nearest Metro Station Pragati Maidan Time 10 am to 5 pm (Monday closed)
The cemetery of the carts