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Lines of art from a village far away


Pahuri art form brings alive the village life of Khandesh for the city people.



30th October 2005

If you like Warli folk art, then you will certainly love Pahuri. This art style has been created by artist Lakhi Chand Jain. Pahuri art finds its roots in the village of Pahur in Jalgoan, Khandesh, Maharashtra. Lakhi Chand Jain was born and brought up in this small village of Maharashtra.

Jain calls his childhood a memorable experience, which left behind distinct memories of smells, sounds and feelings of Pahur and its people, which have resulted in this art form, which he has named Pahuri. Reliving the past everytime, he fills canvas after canvas depicting the simple life that exists in these tribal villages.

Home for the tribal people of Pahur consist of just a mud hut and a shack. Children play in a small triangular area attached to the house, sleep, eat and live their entire lives in this small piece of land. People are happy with the simple life they live. Few possessions, little land, simple meals consisting of mainly raw onions, green chillies and chappatis (Indian bread) and sometimes a sweet dish only made to grace a festive occasion.

Lakhi Chand Jain uses his canvas to capture the essence and observations of his early life in Pahur - - like women giving birth to children in cramped quarters, children and childhood, youth, the middle aged working in farms, old age and then death, women doing their daily chores. Essentially, a life far away and unaffected and uncomplicated by the modernity all around.

Three to four years of intense research has led to giving this art form a final look. The creation of these simple line strokes is used by the artist helps him create figures in action. This creates a repertoire of images that talk about Pahur village life. These villages exist in the Dhulia and Nandurbar region of Maharashtra. The adivasis (tribal) of Pahur have also influenced the colours the artist has used in these canvases. Jain has covered over 300 topics, but he says there are over a thousand different situations that he needs to put down. “If painted – the process will take over a decade to complete.”

His village on the banks of the Waghur River lies very close to the Ajanta Caves. This place has also given birth to the local dialect called Khandeshi. Its festivals, rituals, folk arts, song and dance traditions, and literature, food like pithla bhakari kanda; mirchi ka thecha; daal batti; papad ki churi; puran poli amti; brinjal red gourd and fruits like bananas and berries, utensils of copper, implements such as supda, ukhal, jatye, khalbata, bata varvanta; agricultural implements, homes and their humble interiors besides the beautiful outdoors are very unique to Pahur.

“The winds of change are gradually eroding the indigenous flavour of the villages of India – this is why I felt it was time I did something about preserving my experiences for posterity. After all, how could I forget the soil that had nurtured my soul? While doing my graduation in Applied Art I went back to Pahur for every holiday. With the increase in my work load, the village has grown distant, but I observed and recorded them,” he says. ‘Pahuri’ is the medium through which I hope to offload some of those memories.”

The artist hopes that in the future, he will be able to record this art in photographs and in video films. He has made inroads into giving this art a more permanent life by getting them printed on T-shirts, bed sheets, towels, curtains etc. Calendars, letterheads, envelopes, gift articles, high tech prints, digital art, 2D cartoon film etc adorned with Pahuri art are also on way.

Pahuri is fairly simple to draw - just stick like figures. The artist has plans to come up with schemes that will create a unique niche and identity for this art form. “Pahuri is a medium through which the viewer will experience infancy, childhood, youth, adulthood and old age simply through straight lines.”

The memories are now etched out on a canvas in front of me in the form of Pahuri with them: “I traverse the times gone by – the village, its streets and squares. I sit looking about for and playing with my childhood friends….”

About the artist:-

Lakhi Chand Jain has studied Applied Art. You can contact him at A-202, Manav Mandir –2; Near Saraswat Bank, station Road, Kalwa, Thane – 400 605, Tel 022-25339865,
E-mail: - or


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