Dehradun is not only the capital of Uttarakhand, it is the pioneer district of the entire country in every aspect one could possibly think about. Be it the aesthetic valleys or the rich heritage, the rapid growth and the educational institutions, Dehradun is the pride of the nation. It has been the muse which has produced the finest artists. Not only for the native Doonites but the beauty of the place has managed to bring out the artists inside the immigrants from the different regions.
It is the most desirable place for any person who wants to pursue a career path that is out of the box. The time is not far when Dehradun will alone be enough against the rest of the states, to account for the nation's most number of successful stories.
Maanas Lal the recipient of 'Pride of Doon' award is a live example of the charisma of the gorgeous state capital 'Dehradun'.
Hi Maanas, our readers want to know about you and your journey to where you have reached today?
I am a photographic artist and painter based in Dehradun. I have participated in numerous exhibitions in different cities of the country. I have been fortunate to have patrons from all walks of life. My works have traveled far and wide and can be found in personal collections from Bangalore to London. I am a contributing artist to national and international online portals and my works have featured alongside great artists like M F Husain and S H Raza in the promotions of these portals. My works have also been published in the anniversary edition of Outlook Traveller and the National Geographic website. I have numerous book covers and illustrations to my credit. I write as a freelancer for various publications including Dehradun's very own Himachal Times and Garhwal Post. I write a column titled Broad Brush for Himachal Times every Sunday.
What does being creative mean to you?
Being creative is my way of being. I shudder to imagine my life without the creative germ which infected me long years ago. I think creativity is the basis for all new invention and creative people are the ones who hold the key to making a society grow.
You are native to Lucknow. When did you move to Dehradun and what was the reason behind it?
My father was in a transferable job and chose to come to Uttarakhand after the creation of the state. Once we shifted to Dehradun in 2000, my family and I fell in love with the place. I may have been born in Lucknow but my strongest sense of belonging is to the city of Dehradun.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have? And who is your inspiration?
I don’t think patterns, routines or rituals can go hand in hand with creativity. The only ritual is to think with an open mind and treat my subjects whether animate or inanimate with the utmost respect. My father, a retired IPS officer, who has been my partner in crime after hanging his boots, is my immediate inspiration. I have also drawn inspiration from artists like Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, MF Husain and Henry Cartier Bresson. Men of science like Stephen Hawking and leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru also inspire me a great deal.
What role does the Artist have in Society?
All developed cities of the word have one thing in common, an art gallery at the city square. That tells you the importance of art and artists in any society. In an Indian context, the responsibility of artists ranges from bringing the plight of our people to light to taking the nation’s name on the world stage. If there has to be a transformation in the way our society functions, artists will have to spearhead the change. It is high time to implement creative solutions to tackle problems that have plagued us Indians from times immemorial.
What are you trying to communicate with your art? What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
I love creating abstract art which allows the viewer the scope to interpret works from his or her own perspective. Some recurring themes in my work are global warming, terrorism, and woman empowerment. Choosing between my works is like choosing between children. However, if I had to pick one it would be a painting titled ‘Paris is burning’ which was made on the day of the dreadful Paris terror attacks in 2015.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
The best advice given to me which to my mind holds true for any person, creative or otherwise, is to push your boundaries. The mind must never be at rest with has been achieved. There is always scope for more and more.
You have recently been conferred with the prestigious ‘Pride of Doon’ award by the Doon Citizens Council, your thoughts on that?
Any recognition from the citizens of a cultured city like Dehradun is bound to hold a special place in my heart. I am humbled and would try my best to live up to the tremendous faith that the people of the city have shown in my art.