Twelve-year-old Mohit Kumar’s one-room house in East Delhi’s Kundli is spilling over with awards he has won for his artistic brilliance. But grinding poverty may force the painting prodigy to give up the easel and pitch in with family responsibilities.
The Class VII student may have to give up his colourful dreams to learn zari work so the family gets to eat two square meals a day. Mohit’s younger sister Arti also gave up schooling to help her father earn a living.
“Although we would like him to pursue painting, learning zari work like his forefathers will help him earn his daily bread,” said Deepak Kumar, the boy’s father, also engaged in zari work. Kumar, who works on contract, brings home Rs 2,000 a month.
“We have tried all we can to help him realise his dreams, but the costs of paints, brushes and paper is much more than we can afford,” he said.
Dismayed with his inability to help his son pursue his passion, Deepak turned to President Pratibha Patil for assistance. And the President’s office immediately offered to help him. “It would be unfortunate if a talented boy like Mohit is unable to pursue his creative passion owing to lack of funds. Mohit and several others like him are the future artists of the country and they do us proud,” said Archana Dutta, spokesperson to the President.
President Patil’s secretary Christy Fernandes met Mohit’s family and assured them assistance from the President’s office. To begin with, the office will pitch in with a computer and art supplies for Mohit. Subsequently, the matter will be come before the Welfare Board, Rashtrapati Bhavan, which will decide upon the quantum of monetary assistance.
The Balasree honour for 2007 perhaps best sums up Mohit’s prodigious talent. It says: “His artwork exhibits master strokes and phenomenal vision woven in the form of story. His paintings show a magnificent rhythm of colour, originality, aesthetic sense and creative ingenuity.”