‘What is the difference between calligraphy and sonography?’ A student once asked calligrapher and designer Achyut Palav during a workshop. “I was upset and didn’t know how to react. This is the sorry state of affairs in the city,” he laments. “But calligraphy is appreciated all over the world and we should be proud of our Devanagri script.” <b1>
Palav left for Russia on Sunday to represent India at the international calligraphy exhibition organised by the National Union of Calligraphers and MVK Exhibition Company, Russia to be held from September 16 to 21.
His name was recommended by international calligraphers to represent India. “For me this is a great honour and responsibility, as I have completed 25 years in this field,” he says.
“Today most of us don’t even know to read our mother tongue, leave alone write it. Even English is typed on the computer keyboard and not written. The exhibition aims at developing our individuality.
He goes on to say that writing is useful for the fine motor skills and motion co-ordination development. It also reflects our personality and enriches our aesthetic perception of this world.
“Handwritten letters reflect the character of human beings. But, this is only one side of the truth. The other side is that each letter has its own character, identity, fragrance, voice and feature,” adds Palav.
The event will witness the participation of 21 countries and all scripts will be demonstrated. Exhibitions, demos and workshops will be held at the Repin St Petersburg State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
The exhibition aims at reviving the lost art of calligraphy in Russia and make it widely available by creating conditions for its development.
Palav will be giving a lecture and a demonstration as a part of the master class on The Aesthetically Rich Indian Calligraphy.
Having worked with various scripts, Palav finds the beauty of Urdu handwriting fascinating. “There are many beautiful scripts but Urdu is the best as it is very artistic.”
Today one identifies calligraphy with Palav as he has been working with different Indian scripts. He has held solo exhibitions in India and abroad and has won a number of National and state awards. The master calligrapher has also written Aksharanubhava – a book on calligraphic expression.
Palav’s search for legible hand writing began in his school days when he came across a quote of Marathi saint-poet Ramdas, who, in his verse has said that “he who writes neat and clean to please others is the real learned person”.
This led Palav to a research on Modi, an ancient form of Devnagiri script. And from his juncture he went on discovering many facets of the art.
He designed and published diaries on themes of Marathi saint poets like Ramdas, Tukaram, Dnyaneshwar who provoked him much in the skill although his first inspiration was RK Joshi, who injected new life in Neo-Marathi poetry of post 1960.
Palav, unfortunately, never wrote poetry in its literary form but his calligraphy went on to express more than what a poem could. And more over, many poets have preferred to get their book covers adorned by Palav’s calligraphy.
What makes his art interesting is the application – body painting, fashion and interior designing thus giving a wider canvas to this wonderful art.