Gujarati Calligraphers Community uses the art to bring solace to a pandemic devastated population.
The virus, representing all that is dark is back, determined to unleash devastation of an unprecedented scale, that too with renewed vigour and mutated to boot. As mankind grapples with its fate, death and despair staring at its face, it is also showing examples of extreme stoicism, of an innate and unyielding desire to resist, to refuse to cower down before the adversary, to keep on fighting. This is, thus, also a story of hope, of a spirit indomitable, a celebration of life in its purest form.
In Gujarat, where the virus has has already bared its fangs, even as the pandemic rages outside, members of the Gujarati Calligraphers Community have picked up their pens in defiance and are setting up an example which will be worth emulating.
Says Sunil Pandya, the man behind the Gujarati Calligraphers Community, “we realised that we needed a release to maintain our sanity during this period of extreme adversity. It was our common passion for the pen, for calligraphy, that had brought all of us together and the difficult times helped us come even closer, to find refuse in Calligraphy, to help each other cope”.
And cope the Gujarati Calligraphers Community did, to begin with, by organising Virtual Meetings on the weekends where members shared their individual expertise with the group, discussing and sharing their work. Knowledge was shared freely and talks were given on the different methods of beautiful writing, egging the members to explore unchartered areas of the art form.
On a more practical level, the meetings have been priceless in that they have dwelled extensively on the proper use of different tools of calligraphy, which has led not only to better understanding of the finer nuances of calligraphy, but have also resulted in an overall improvement in the quality of work of the group members. “We are glad” says Sunil Pandya, “that we were able to use the time in the most constructive manner possible. We explored, for example, experimental calligraphy and worked extensively on the application of flourishes to our work. This alone, we all feel, has made all the difficulties worth going through, as the sheer joy of unveiling newer vistas has given us the courage to endure.”
Hima Parmer, who is otherwise a software professional and is a regular member of the Gujarati Calligraphers Community, found the activities extremely helpful, especially as an aid to cope up with the sheer madness of the world outside. “Calligraphy has always worked as a catharsis for me, something that I fall back upon as a stress buster” she says. “The activities of the group not only helped soothe the frayed nerves but also helped me focus on the positive side of life. The way the members of the group, especially the senior members, helped everyone through these difficult times has been exemplary. We may have started as individuals but have ended up as one big family. Calligraphy has not only been a great enabler, but also a unifier”.
This unique aspect of fraternity can best be gauged by the facts that the group is also a platform for the members to exchange their calligraphy material, which leads to a greater dissemination of the tools of creation. The excitement that runs through the group, when a member participates and wins the laurels in competitions is another pointer of the bonds that exist. When Vipul Sondagar won the top slot in a national calligraphy event or when Sunil Pandya’s work was selected for special mention by none other than the Maestro Prof KC Janardhan who was judging the Competition conducted by Click Pens, the victories were celebrated by every member of the Gujarati Calligraphers Community, almost as personal achievements. The work of the community has also been very well appreciated, with the people of Ahmedabad hailing its contribution as Sunil Pandya conducted multiple calligraphy sessions which provided the much-needed relief to school going children suffering from online fatigue.
The Gujarati Calligraphers Community, which has more than three hundred active members in the present, is planning to step up its meets to help each other and let their Calligraphy vanquish the Corona. As a matter of fact, such has been the good vibes that the community has generated that it has been flooded with requests for membership and it has now been decided that to address the growing needs, Vipul Sondagar will start an online training session on Gujrati calligraphy shortly.
Shubh Pandya, the youngest member of the Gujarati Calligraphers Community, who is all of nine years and is in Class V says, “calligraphy has changed my life as I am now loved and respected by my teachers and friends in school because of my handwriting. It has calmed me down and helps me focus more on my studies. During the lockdown, while most of my friends spent terribly distressing days lacked up in their rooms, it was calligraphy that helped me spend my time constructively”.
For more information: https://gujaraticalligraphers.com/