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Indepth Arts News:

"The Teacher and the Taught: S.H. Raza, Sujata Bajaj"
2003-02-20 until 2003-03-10
Guild Art Gallery
Mumbai, , IN India

One who attempts to teach on the mere basis of reference is an instructor. One who combines the referential knowledge with his logic and tries sincerely to experience the ultimate and teaches only what he has experienced is a teacher or Acharya. But, a Guru is one who has the absolute experience of truth and hence, complete knowledge. And such a person himself will become a source of reference and the ground of logic for others. Hence, every Guru is a teacher or rather 'The Teacher'. Because, only the one who has experienced the truth in full, is authorized to teach it to others. - Yogasharya Venkatesh

Paradoxes, pluralities and hybridities. These are recurring leitmotifs, that appear whenever we consider the question of what constitutes 'Indian'. Right from the dawn of civilisation, from the Indus-Harappan period moving into the twenty-first century, India has never been constant. Turbulent, constant and phlegmatic by degrees, India has been in a state of constant flux. A flux, which is very much a part of its own inherent consciousness.

Sayed Haider Raza is one of India's great icons. Founder of the Bombay Progressives, Raza rose like a meteor in the modernity of Indian art and in the contemporaneity of Indian art he stands as a metaphor for timelessness. Time and again on his frequent annual visits to India, Raza speaks of the inner vitality and inner dynamism of India. The energy, the spirit and quintessence of the land of his birth dominate his personal space, from which emerges his external space, the canvas. At the turn of the century Raza's visits have become more and more frequent. It is towards India that he looks for his creativity to unfold.

As part of a natural progression, the master seeks to bestow the knowledge so hard won to a new generation. One that will take the teacher's learnings and chart a new course. The connections between Sujata Bajaj and Raza are tenuous but the underlying thread is one of spirituality, of the deeply introspective quality that Raza has imparted to Sujata.

The Guru-Shishya Parampara harks back to ancient India and is the very soul of India's oral tradition. It embodies the living and learning relationship between master and pupil. Evolving from the era of the great Indian seers, the tradition signifies the complete emotional, intellectual and spiritual surrender of the deserving shishya to the guru. 'Gu' translates as dark and 'Ru' as light. Thus, 'Guru' is interpreted as 'darkness to light,' or one who leads from darkness to light. Guru is a teacher or spiritual mentor who guides the shishya (student or disciple) from sightlessness or ignorance to bliss, wisdom, and enlightenment. The relationship between the guru and the shishya is one of all-pervading learning and complete trust, born out of the shishya's total surrender to the universal glory of the art. To the shishya, the guru symbolises the art itself, while for the guru, the shishya signifies the continuity of the art. The guru shares the sacred knowledge of the art only with kindred souls, sincere in their quest.

Both S.H. Raza and Sujata Bajaj are linked by their deep connection to terra firma, their shifting of boundaries and spaces, and the literal crossing of geographical spaces. The vitality and energy that is so quintessentially Raza is transmuted in the works of Sujata, there is an exchange of ideas, their relationship may not fall within the strict parameters of the master and the disciple or perhaps even the guru shishya parampara, however there is an indelible link between the two. An intense feeling for each other's work, a sense of empathy and constant interaction and a sensitivity that defies time and space.

Alka Pande
Art Historian

S.H. Raza
Witness 1980-2002
Acrylic on Lino
118 x 118 cm

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