ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Chittaprosad (1915-78)

The birth centenary of Chittaprosad, the radical artist from Bengal, was last year. Born in 1915 at Naihati in present-day North 24 Parganas District, West Bengal, Chittaprosad settled in Chattagram, now in Bangladesh. He developed a great reverence for the heroes and heroines of the Chattagram uprising of the 1930s, and came into contact with the Communist Party of India (CPI) in the early 1940s. P C Joshi, the general secretary of the party, who visited Chattagram at the time, was impressed by Chittaprosad’s artistic acumen. This was a turning point in his life.

Joshi advised Chittaprosad to be acquainted with the tradition of rural folk painting and the Indian art tradition. He took him to Bombay and engaged him as an artist in People’s War, the party journal. The party sent him to Medinipur District to cover stories of the victims of the Bengal famine (1943). This led to Hungry Bengal, a first-hand account of the famine, comprising written text and sketches in stark black and white, carried in People’s War. The British confiscated and destroyed thousands of copies of Hungry Bengal when it came out as a book. Chittaprosad also recorded the armed peasant struggle in Telangana.

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