1915 - 78

A self-taught artist, poet, storyteller, and an active member of the Communist Party of India, Chittaprosad drew inspiration for his art from village sculptors, artisans as well as puppeteers. In 1943-44, he experienced the Bengal famine  first-hand,  resulting  in  his brutally  honest depiction  of   human suffering in stark drawings and sketches made  in  pen  and  ink. These drawings and reports were published in People’s War, and culminated in Hungry Bengal, an eyewitness report comprising of written text and profuse sketches in stark black-and-white, copies of which were seized and destroyed by the British.

Powerful  and  emotive,  his  art  of  caricature  emerged  as  a  statement  in favour of   the oppressed masses and as a  denunciation  of   the  ruling  class.  As a  self-conscious,  reflective  testimony, the  drawings  and  caricatures  of   this period  were  a  forceful  outcry  against the  tyranny  of   domination  and  an indictment of  prevailing conditions. Underlying  the  biting  humour  was a  compassionate  humanism  and  his images  were  essentially  an  appeal  on behalf   of   the  labouring  poor  and  the marginalised.

Apart from his body of works representing human suffering, the proletariat and the marginalised classes, Chittaprosad did several landscapes and cityscapes, portraits, female figures, nudes and illustrations for books. A  defining  moment  in  Chittaprosad’s life  was  his  meeting  with  Frantisek Salaba,  a  Czech  puppeteer,  who lived  briefly  in  Bombay,  and because of  whose association, a film on his  life, Confession was made  in  1972 by Pavel Hoble, which went on to win a special prize from the World Peace Council.