sulabh swatchh bharat

Friday, 22-March-2019


The artistic makeover of the oldest railway station in Bihar has indeed been a journey of women empowerment


The almost forgotten Bihar’s Madhubani railway station has come back to life with Madhubani paintings adorned across the place, which has been done by some 230 local artists who came together to redecorate the station and give it an artistic makeover.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, brand ambassador of the Rail Swacch Mission of the Indian Railways and founder of Sulabh Sanitation & Social Reform Movement, on 7th April tagged Madhubani as “the cleanest station of the country”.
Madhubani art, which is essentially a form of folk art belonging to Bihar, is known for the manner in which unique geometric patterns are used to create colourful paintings. The traditional art form has been passed down from generation to generation.
Once looked after as one of the dirtiest railway stations in India, Madhubani in Bihar now sports a completely different look with Mithila paintings adorning its walls.
The rich artistic and cultural legacy of Madhubani region has contributed to one of the cleanest stations in the country. Mithila paintings are done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens and matchsticks. Artists use natural dyes and pigments to make geometrical patterns.
The excruciating work was undertaken as a Swachh Bharat Mission. As much as 14,000 sq ft area of the railway station was painted by these artists, who did the job on a voluntary basis, without charging any money for the same as ‘Shramdaan’. However, help was provided to them in the form of painting equipments that were provided by the railway authorities.  After the completion of the work, they were felicitated.
Divisional Railway Manager Samastipur R.K. Jain said it was a unique initiative of the Indian Railways to experiment with local artists voluntarily painting the works in a short span of two months.
The project started on October 2 with the aim not only as a beautification and cleanliness project but also to highlight the skill of the town’s artists.
More than 225 artistes in which 80 percent of the volunteers were local women who had never really worked outdoors or in the presence of men. As majority of the women stood over the busy platforms, shaping and designing the contours of the intricate patterns, they were brought under one single canvas that left them empowered. They no longer need any middlemen to commission them work. Instead they have left their names and contact details under their artwork which helps people reach them easily. The artistic makeover of the oldest railway station in Bihar has indeed been a journey of women empowerment.
“It is a kind of world record as the total wall area of more than 14,000 sq ft has been fully painted with various themes under traditional Mithila painting style, said Gannath Mishra, a senior railway official, who has supervised the project.
Post the makeover, the Madhubani railway station has become a magnet for travellers who admire the traditional form of art.