By Keshav Malik

 

It has been said that the only secret is that there are no secrets, and that we being limited beings, things often appear ta us in a mysterious light. This may well be so, but tram that very source flaws our sense of suspense, of never fully knowing what obtains. In knowing anyone, but especially those in pursuit of the muses, you are likely to scratch your head from time to time, and that despite all your familiarity with them.

The foregoing words are elicited even as the present author inertly meditates his knowledge at Rameshwar- as person and as artist. What is the precise relationship between these two categories ? Mystifying, notwithstanding my certainties on sundry counts. In the following pages I would like to dwell mainly on the artist in this man, and that inspite at having spent long hours with him, and so in varied life situations over the decades. But the ground beneath Rameshwar's person, like under any other artist's, remains terra incognito, primarily. We may speculate, at this point, on the matter but are still unable to propound fool-proof axioms regarding it.

 
 Surely, Rameshwar Broota can be corporeally described pretty exactly, having over time kept his body's weight as light as light may be. But how may we account for the gathering weight of what he crafts ? That's where the mystery inheres. I have several guesses, but shall desist from naming them. I'd rather look back in time ignoring memories of the other endlessly interesting to-mg and fro-ing artists, as of cataclysmic or else routine events and recapitulate my innumerable encounters with the painter's work.
Keeping this in mind, I go back to November 13, 1964, when the painter was in his early twenties, and still fresh from his alma mater, the Delhi Polytechnic. On this particular occasion there was a group show at Delhi Silpi Chakra, and so tram my notes on him, then, this is what I had to say ''Rameshwar is skilled at textures. His is a sort at nature painting; a natural world, but not the one seen by the naked eye, only the inner. One can have rows and rows of toppling rectangles, semi-circles or horse-shoe signs and symbols. All of which, plus a dry surface, afford a masculine, resolute feel to his work."
I believe that these circles, rectangles and so on disappeared in due course, but the resolute feel to his work was maintained doggedly. Then more time elapsed and I only had glimpses at the painter's person seen wandering around the Mandi House along with his buddies. But then came yet another group show, at the same Silpi Chakra (3 April 1965), and thereby my fresh assessment of his work within another collective context-"Rameshwar Broota's graphics are among the more ambitious lunges in the exhibition, and they are at the same time the 'darker' end of the spectrum, that is, with their concentration on the present century's mankind- that maker of beautiful objects but a hell in himself, more often than not. This kind of, so to say paranoid' sobering up, is perhaps essential our present mindless smugness as to the shape of things to come. The painter's is a pin-pointed finger."
But, as it happened there were perhaps a passing, rather erratic interlude, during 1967. In that year was the Silpi Chakra Annual on 24 February, and when the painter, along with his fellows, was led, I felt - "to explore the bizarre, an extreme instance of it being the work of  Rameshwar Broota. Perhaps for him a passing phase."
What i said appeared corroborated in some ways soon after, at the Triveni Gallery Group Show of March 31,1967.
I had jotted down thus - "Rameshwar Broota is young . But no matter, in his exhibition he creates several compelling, attractive effects. This is especially so in those of his musing, semi- dreamy works altogether pleasing,being warm & human in an unusual. way."

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