Armed with a brush, a dalit fights paralysis with miniature art
Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia
Around 15 years ago Ranjit Kumar Regar, a dalit man from the beautiful city of Udaipur in Southern Rajasthan met with a fatal accident when he fell from a roof and got paralysed.
The accident left Ranjit hopeless as he was the sole breadwinner for the family.
Paralysed from the waist down and bedridden with a fatal backbone injury, Ranjit could hardly see any chance of him recovering and leading a normal life. Ranjit started counting every moment in despair after the unfortunate incident when his life suddenly robbed him of many basic comforts which most us take for granted.
With very little education and extreme physical paralysis there was not much to look up to for this poor man from the dalit community. Lying helplessly in the bed, he found himself on the verge of depression many a times. “After being left paralysed I had lost all hope in life. I thought there is nothing more for me to live. I was feeling terrible for being a burden on my family,” he says.
The thought of being eldest in the family also crippled his mental capabilities as he got engrossed in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts.
Ranjit would have been just another disabled person after that fateful accident with very little options for him but to look up to his old mother and his wife for his sustenance. Having been left hopeless and helpless by one fateful accident, there was hardly anything that could cheer him up until he cast his sight on something that was completely non-traditional for his family.
During these times Ranjit was bed ridden most of the time and could not move out. Gradually, family and friends limited the time they spent with him, and it was at this point that Ranjit touched upon God in the form of miniature art.
Miniature Art has become my best pal ever since I have been crippled. “It has become the most comfortable work for me after paralysis. It has given me the will-power to not only earn for me and my family but also to survive,” he says.
Not only has this art helped Ranjit in filling colours in his life but has also earned him respect in the locality. Ranjit recalls with a glint in his eyes how his friend who was physically normal and had a handsome income asked for some financial assistance after the latter lost his job.
Ranjit has been fortunate to have a family that supported him all through including in his risky endeavours. “My accident made me realise that one should not change his character with time. I am fortunate to have a strong support of my family in all the risks I took while trying for miniature art. If it has worked at the end of the day my family takes due credit for the same.
Ranjit’s mother Kamla Devi feels that her family is always ready to assist a disabled member but at times it becomes frustrated for the person who had been an economic support to the family. “We are there to help him with his daily needs but there are times when it is not possible for us to attend him and that turns out to be a very difficult situation,” she says.
The miniature art in which Ranjit dabbles has not only raised economic prospects for the hapless person but also showed him a new reason to fill colours in his life!