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Chittaprosad Bhattacharya's Art on the Bengal Famine

North 24 Parganas, West Bengal

January 25, 2023 to January 25, 2024

Chittaprosad Bhattacharya was born in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. He was a political activist and artist who evocatively and sensitively represented the horrors of the British-inflicted famine in Bengal in 1943 in his art.

Bhattacharya was sent by the Communist Party of India to travel to the parts of Bengal worst affected by the famine and to document his experiences through writing and art so that the British atrocities against the people could be carried to the national public. Chittaprosad prepared a series of ink sketches that vividly depicted the terrible conditions of the people of Midnapore and Bikrampur, the worst affected regions. His artworks show young children with sunken faces, afflicted with nutrition-related diseases such as Kwashiorkor and impoverished peasants suffering from hunger, with their rib cages and bones prominently sticking out. One of the most evocative sketches is that of a child named Kshetramohan Naik, surrounded by vultures and other scavengers. These illustrations were published in the party newspaper Janayuddha and subsequently compiled into a book titled Hungry Bengal. However, the colonial authorities seized copies of the book and had them burnt.

Chittaprosad Bhattacharya’s art on the Bengal Famine played a critical role in informing the masses regarding the British barbarism inflicted on the Indian peasantry.

Source: Indian Culture Portal