Bengal's immortal artist: Nandalal Bose

When the great Bengali artist Nandalal Bose was a little boy, one day he saw a man drawing something on a wall. When he came nearer and saw that it was a beautiful picture, he requested the artist to draw something for him.

The artist said, "I cannot do anything for free. You have to give me some money."

So the little boy gave the artist three paise, which is the equivalent of about one tenth of an American cent. The artist took the three paise and drew two or three lines. The little boy said, "You have not completed the picture."

The man responded, "You gave me three paise. What more can you expect for three paise? If you give me more, then only will I draw more."

So the little boy gave the artist three more paise. Then the artist drew a few more lines, but still the picture was not complete.

"It can never be complete," the man said, "unless you give me more money."

The little boy kept giving the artist three paise at a time, and each time the artist would add something more to the picture. Finally, to his wildest surprise, the boy saw that the artist was drawing his portrait. The boy was so moved and amazed to see his own face so beautifully drawn. The artist was drawing with charcoal and water. Instead of a brush, he used rags.

Eventually, this little boy, Nandalal Bose, became a great, immortal artist himself. He also used charcoal, water and rags for some of his most important works. These were done in Santiniketan, which is so well-respected by millions for its literary, cultural and artistic life.

Santiniketan was founded by Rabindranath Tagore. He made Nandalal Bose the first head of the art department and this art department subsequently became famous throughout India.