A Contribution by Joy J. Kaimaparamban, author of The Ayurvedic Healer. For more information see also his website at http://www.kaimaparamban.com/.
Rajah Ravi Varma was born as the son of Neelakantan Bhattathirippad of Ezhumavil Illam of Kunnathunadu Taluk in 1948 April 29. His mother was Uma Ambabai Thampuratti of the Kilimanoor Palace of Travancore.
Bhattathirippad wished to become his son a Sanskrit scholar. Ambabai Thampuratti’s ambition was to make her son a musician as well as a painter.
Ravi Varma used to draw pictures on the palace walls using charcoal pieces. In addition to their works the servants got the work of rubbing off the black lines which the child Ravi Varma had drawn.
There was a person who had been watching the talent of the boy, his uncle Rajaraja Varma. Being an Artist, he could teach his nephew the first lessons of drawing. Then Ravi Varma was given chance for creating color pictures using leaves and flowers and red arsenic and laterite stone. In those days colors were not available from shops. Painters themselves had to make them. Mixing colors in water he first drew landscapes, which he had liked more. His uncle was his guide in mixing colors in water and finding out new methods of drawing.
When Ravi Varma was in the age of 13, his uncle took him to the Palace of Ayillyam Thirunal Maharajah who had been ruling Travancore that time. The art loving Maharajah did arrangements for the boy to study more on Art, staying at Trivandrum. Ravi Varma’s residence was Moodathumadhom. As there were a lot of books about drawing and painting, he could go through them. In the reception room of the Palace there hung many paintings on the walls, which were drawn in the Italian style. Ravi Varma imitated that style.
In that period he could learn oil painting too. Ravi Varma stayed in the Palace for nine years and painted many pictures. In 1866 he got married with Pooruruttathinal Thampuratti of Mavelikkara Palace.
Ravi Varma drew Portraits of many great English men with speed and acuteness. They all wondered seeing the artistical brilliance of the young person. He was awarded several presents.
When an Exhibition was conducted in Madras in the year of 1873, he got the first prize for his outstanding picture, ‘Pichippoo Choodiya Kerala Vanitha’ (The Keralite women who crowned Mulla Flower). The same picture had got an award from the Exhibitn at Vienna City.
Due to some occurrences taken place in Trivandrum, Ravi Varma was forced to reside at Mavelikkara for a short time. Again he came back to Trivandrum.
When a picture Exhibition was conducted in Madras in 1874 his realistic painting ‘Tamil Woman’ got first prize.
The picture ‘Sakunthalayude Premalekhanam’ (The Love letter of Sakunthala) is considered to be a best example of Indian Art. When Moniar William a Sanskrit Scholar translated ‘Sakunthalam’ into English, the cover page picture was ‘Sakunthalayude Premalekhanam’.
When Ayilyam Thirunal Maharajah became Honorific it was a big loss to Ravi Varma. The next Maharajah Visakhom Thirunal was not friendly with him.
‘Seethayude Bhoopravesham’ (The Vanishing of Seetha into the Earth) got first prize when an Art Exhibition was conducted in Pune.
Following the expiry of his uncle Rajarajah Varma, Ravi Varma began to draw pictures basing ancient Indian Art methods.
In the Art Exhibitions of Calcutta and London, the pictures of Ravi Varma were awarded different prizes. He was honored as the greatest painter of the world.
Residing at Kilimanoor Palace, he drew ‘Naladamayanthi’ (Nala and Damayanthi), ‘Sri Krishna Janmam’ (The Birth of Sri Krishna), ‘Viswamithranum Menakayum’ (Viswamithra and Menaka), ‘Arjunanum Subhadrayum’ (Arjuna and Subhadra), ‘Radhamadhavam (Of Radha and Madhava), ‘Seethaswayamvaram’ (The Marriage of Seetha) and the like. It was a series of 14 pictures. Numerous people could see them when they were exhibited in Kilimanoor.
By this time his wife was expired.
In 1894, he established a Lithopress in Bombay for taking the prints of his paintings. First the copy of the picture ‘Sakunthala’ was taken. Following it ‘Saraswathy’, ‘Mahalakshmi’ and the like were Lithographed. Lakhs of pictures were sold. In 1897 Bombay and Pune were attacked by a Plague, which killed a lot of people. Ravi Varma was forced to sell his press and more than 80 pictures for a pittance. He fell into the catching of Diabetes which was not able to draw back him from painting. In 1905 October 2, the greatest Artist became Honorific
The Ayurvedic Healer
by Joy J. Kaimaparamban
Set in the intriguing atmosphere of India in the early 20th century, full of mysticism, love, compassion, and political drama, The Ayurvedic Healer tells the story of Madhavan Namboodiri, a physician practicing an ancient medical science, and his enduring love for Rosilie. By healing the underprivileged, regardless of their civilian and religious status, touching the untouchables, he follows his beliefs and disobeys the rules of his society. His life story is set in the background of India’s struggle for freedom, the communist revolt in the Southern State of Kerala, social advancement, and the emergence of new societies. The Ayurvedic Healer sweeps the reader into an exotic place and time, rendering an intimate experience through sharing Madhavan Namboodiri’s life and love.
Joy J. Kaimaparamban is not only a passionate story teller. He envisions people and events, past or present, in his native India as material for unwritten works. These visions and the ability to transform them into fascinating stories about his country is a trademark of his novels. [More information...]
The Ayurvedic Healer ia available through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.