The need to revive the intricate art of Devanagari Calligraphy!

We interviewed some Devanagari Calligraphy artists and asked them about the essence and significance of this craft in India, which is an exemplary pillar of Indian heritage and history.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
devanagari calligraphy

In the fast-paced world of computers and technology, where writing with pen is becoming obsolete, these Devanagari Calligraphy artists are trying to preserve the scripts of India.  

India is adorned with numerous languages and art forms. These languages and art forms when combined together can produce a magnificent display like Devanagari Calligraphy. Devnagri is an alphabetic script with some syllabic features derived from the Brahmi writing system, used for the writing of Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit and many other languages of India. When paired with the beautiful art of writing it becomes Devanagari Calligraphy. We interviewed some Devanagari Calligraphy artists and asked them about the essence and significance of this craft in India. 

Art Work by Guruprasad Shinde - means "Create your own happiness" in Devanagari 

Devanagari serves various purposes: for some, it is a formal writing system; for others, a means of self-expression; and for yet others, a medium for preserving the traditional scriptures of our country. This artistic form can be traced back to around the 8th century when it gained popularity for religious manuscripts and books. Breaking down the word into two parts, 'Deva' means god, and 'Nagari' means city. Thus, the name can be translated as the 'script of the city of gods.'

People often associate Devanagari Calligraphy solely with religious texts, assuming it has a sacred nature. However, this perception is not entirely accurate. This ancient script can seamlessly blend with modern expressions. Rajat Bhele, also known as Letter Monk, emphasizes, 'Devanagari Calligraphy is an art form that strives to preserve its natural essence while providing artists the freedom to express their feelings. It encompasses various styles, including formal, abstract, experimental, and expressive writing.'

In formal writing, adherence to the structural anatomy of each letter is crucial. Shirish Chavan, aka Calligraphy Enthusiast, explains, 'One must follow a specific pattern and adhere to the given structure when practicing this form of writing.' On the other hand, unconventional calligraphy allows for experimentation with letters, enabling individuals to play with fonts and create personalized versions. Shirish illustrates, 'For instance, if you're angry, you can write the Marathi word "Raag," meaning anger, in a bold and vibrant manner to express your emotions.'

This form of calligraphy becomes a canvas for depicting moods and emotions. Guruprasad Shinde, aka The Calligraphy Factor, emphasizes, 'Regardless of the chosen style, the art should effectively convey the artist's emotions to the readers. Moreover, both artists and the general public should comprehend the nuances and value of the language.

Art Work by Rajat Bhele - depicts "Ego leads to a fall" in Devanagari

Guruprasad's perspective stems from a personal experience where he observed a lack of appreciation and importance given to this art form, a sentiment shared by other artists. Shirish remarks, 'People in India don't respond to this art form appropriately.' All the artists unanimously express their disappointment when they witness a lack of recognition for an art that demands significant practice, especially when contrasted with the willingness of foreigners to pay a substantial price for its perceived value. Nevertheless, they acknowledge the existence of a positive side, as some individuals genuinely appreciate their work.

Rajat believes, 'Adapting to current trends can gradually make people aware that Devanagari art is not outdated; it can appear cool and stand out with a fresh approach.' As artists, they recognize the importance of understanding audience preferences and continuously improving their skills. Rajat shares, 'I am currently exploring black lettering (a form of calligraphy) and the Ranjana Script from Nepal to give Devanagari Calligraphy a unique twist.' This approach serves as a means of raising awareness among the masses about an art form that often goes unnoticed.

Art Work by Shirish Chavan - means "Artist" in Devanagari 

While Bhele is contributing in urban areas, Guruprasad aims to promote the art form in rural areas as well. He organizes small Devanagari workshops and events in his village in Maharashtra, intending to build a robust community that can pursue this art as a career. Speaking about the impact of community-building initiatives, he mentions, 'One of our fellow artists, who is also a teacher, organizes a 4-day workshop called 'Akshar Mohatsav' in Pandharpur, a village in Maharashtra. Artists, predominantly calligraphy artists, gather from every corner of Maharashtra to share their knowledge.'

Shirish is actively involved in a community of Devanagari Calligraphy artists from various states in India, where their collective goal is to pass on the art to the next generation before it fades away. He shares his future plans, saying, 'I am also working on a project called Callikriti - a fusion of Calligraphy and Kalakriti. We aim to spread the Devanagari script, Hindi, and Marathi culture through merchandise. This involves incorporating prints, motifs, letters, quotes, or poems in our Indian languages to raise awareness about the art.'

In a world where writing with pen and pencil is nearly obsolete, these efforts represent crucial ways to preserve and revive a script that stands as an exemplary pillar of Indian heritage and history.

Devanagari Calligraphy artists Brahmi writing system Calligraphy Enthusiast unconventional calligraphy black lettering Ranjana Script from Nepal Ranjana Script Devanagari workshops Akshar Mohatsav community of Devnagri calligraphy artists Devanagari script