Bahurupis Of Bengal

Bahurupi, a word which literally means "multi-formed" or "multi-faceted", has been derived from Sanskrit Language and is a century old profession emerging from the deep rural part of West Bengal in India. They are a group of folk artists who portray different mythological characters, mainly popular god or goddess like Lord Shiva or Goddess Kali. These artists generally come from extreme poor socio-economic backgrounds and hardly earn their living by depicting various characters. Despite the rare glimpses of the Bohurupi's now-a-days, some still are carrying the tradition mainly if there is any local village fair in rural Bengal. It is also a pain to see many underprivileged children of the itinerant Bahurupis having little or no access to formal education are forced by their parents to carry out this profession. While visiting a local fair popularly known as "Khoai -er Mela" [fair at Khoai], in Shantiniketan, India, I came across this family of Bahuroopis, where the elder sister and her younger brother dressed as goddess Kali and Lord Shiva, begging from the tourists visiting the fair. Their mother can be seen managing the makeup of her kid while he is handing over the coins to her -whatever he managed to beg around. Both the kid and his elder sister were carrying a no-expression face and you can notice a hint of lostness in her eyes. While shooting, I was trying to be friendly with them by starting a conversation and after a lot of effort I managed to capture a million dollar smile on the elder sister's face.

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