Apr 6, 2022     GKFTII


The tradition of India painting resets in antiquity. These designs created through Rogan painting, are well known for their beauty, in which each single motif signifies an important aspect of life.

Use of Rogan paste for production designs on fabrics is an ancient tradition not knows too many people. It was reported in the India magazine of her people and culture that Roghan, however, was always a marginal-tradition, never widely known in India.

Rogan Printing or Rogan Painting is an art of cloth printing practiced in the KUTCH district of Gujarat, India. In this craft, paint made from boiled oil and vegetable dyes is laid down on fabric using either a metal block (printing) or a stylus (painting).

The craft nearly died out in the late 20th century with rogan painting being practiced by only one family today. Rogan painting is very well known for its Tree of life and happiness concept wok.

Katri rizwan sidhvikis a Rogan artist from Nirona in Kutch. He claims that Rogan painting is an ancient art with having 400 years of history. Forbearers of the seven generation old art are Abdul Gafoor Khatri’s family, for they appear to be the only family practicing the little known art in the small village called Nirona in kutch.

Rogan art with Tree of Life Motif         Rogan Painting in the village of Nirona, Kutch, Gujarat

The Rogan art of painting is an ancient art over three hundred years old. The traditional Rogan flower motifs and designs speak of a Persian influence and the word Rogan itself means oil-based in Persian. Today, Nirona in kutch is the only place where this work is created. When castor oil is heated over fire for more than twelve hours and cast into cold water, it produces a thick residue called rogan, which is mixed with natural colours obtained from the earth. With a six-inch wooden stick or pen, the craftperson then draws out from this a fine thread which is painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table-frame or any outline. Rogan painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, table cloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and even saris.

Rogan art is a rare craft that is not well known even in india. Because of its rare qualities, it’s practiced by only one family in india and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. Most of the other artisans have lost their art as it was not passed on during partition or lost from generation to generation. Rogan art is currently the bread earner for a family of Khatris.

Rogan is 300 year-old inherited tradition that once flourished in Gujarat’s Kutch region. Today, only Abdul Gafur family of Nirona village practices Rogan. This craft form is preserved by the men-folk since generations. The word rogan comes from Persian, meaning varnish or oil. The process of applying this oil-based paint to fabric began among the Khatris, a Muslim community who came to India from Sindh, Pakistan. Although the name, rogan (and some of the traditional designs) suggests an origin in Iran, there are no reliable historic records to prove this.

Rogan work in India

Rogan painting was initially practiced in several locations in the Kutch region. The painted fabric was mostly purchased by women of the lower castes who wanted to decorate clothing and bed coverings for their weddings. Therefore, it was a seasonal art, with most of the work taking place during the several months when most weddings take place. During the rest of the year, the artisans would switch to other forms of work, such as agriculture.

Reason of Decline of Rogan Art

With the rise of cheaper, machine-made textiles in the late 20th century, rogan-painted products became relatively more expensive, and many artists turned to other occupations as the sale very poor. Ultimately, only one family, the Khatris of Nirona, Gujarat, continued the craft.

With the rise of cheaper, machine-made textiles in the late 20th century, rogan-painted products became relatively more expensive, and many artists turned to other occupations.

Efforts made to Revive Rogan Art

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, several factors came together to bring about a renewed interest in rogan art, especially painting.

First, after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, when much of the region was devastated, the water and electricity infrastructure was improved, new roads were built, and the number of flights into the regionwere increased, all of which led to an increase in tourism.

 Second, local cooperatives and non-profit groups helped local artisans, including rogan artists, to increase their market by selling in urban settings and online.

Third, many members of the Khatri family won state and national awards for their art, thus increasing the prestige of their work.

Finally, in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the U.S. White House, and gave President Obama two rogan paintings including a tree of life. They were painted by Abdul Gafur Khatri, a national award winner.

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