Chandan Bose ✿ The rich social world of patam art in Telangana


21 April 2020

Patam art by the Danalakota family

Our latest podcast interview with leading craft scholars includes Chandan Bose, whose study of naqqash artisans in Telangana reveals a sophisticated narrative art form.

There is a new generation of craft scholars who seek to work in partnership with artisans. Chandan Bose recently published book on patam art in Telangana is very much a conversation a naqqash artist, Vaikuntam. The book is a very thorough account of this graphic art, along with the complex social relations it involves. But Bose also reflects on the active role played by Vaikuntam in leveraging ethnography to promote his caste. As he quotes Vaikuntam, “It is only because you are asking these questions that I am telling all of this.”


Vaikuntam, naqqash artist

Here are some of the terms that Bose employs in his study:

  • Picture – patam
  • The collective involved in patam production – Adugukunetollu
  • Storytellers – jatis
  • Artist – naqqash
  • Lifelike quality – O’dupu
  • Underdrawing – nakkal
  • Writing in black – sairatta
  • Healthy working environment – pauti tatvam
  • Workspace – karkahaana

As part of our series of podcasts on leading craft scholars, we interviewed Chandan Bose about the path that led to Vaikuntam and the issues it raised. We learn about how the plight of Gond folk artists prompted his concern about the role and value of the artisan in contemporary India. He reflects on the value of formalised heritage structures such as Geographic Indicators and future challenges to be explored.

Chandan Bose is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. His work focuses on the meaning of work and livelihood, and ways of knowledge production and sharing among skilled communities. His first monograph Conversations Around Craft (2019) is an ethnographic study of a household of artisans in Telangana, who share their experience of making ‘crafts’ and of being ‘craftspersons’ in contemporary India. He is currently working with second-generation artisans in urban India to understand how inheritance, technology and urbanization help shape visions of a future.

Further reading

Bose, Chandan. 2019. Perspectives on Work, Home, and Identity From Artisans in Telangana: Conversations Around Craft. Springer.

Interview for Jugaad Project

Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below.  If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider becoming a subscriber.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *