Pandit Sansar Chand Baru ( 1902-1995 ), the first Modern painter from jammu ( fondly known as master ji ) shall always be remembered for his unique style ; A Grand fusion of Pahari and Modern Art.
It is believed that BARU community of Brahmins migrated from Assam and settled in Jammu and Himachal hills. They were Kul Purohits of various hilly Rajput rulers. Pandt Dhanpat Baru ( Father of Sansar Chand Baru ) was Raj Purohit to Maharaja Partap singh and the family lived at Pucca Danga Jammu in Fattu Chougan locality. When Pandit Dhanpat saw that his son was least interested in Academics , he requested Jagat Ram " *Chhuniyaa " , a noted artist during those days, to impart some basic lessons in painting to Sansar chand .Young sansar chand was sharp in learning drawing . As time passed , this young boy matured to a fine water colour Artist and got a permanent job as Drawing master in Government Technical Institute Kachhi Chhawni ( Presently Government Girls Higher Secondary school Kachhi Chhawani) Jammu .
As first Curator of Dogra Art Gallery Jammu ( now Known as Dogra Art Museum ) , master ji is responsible for retrieving a large number of original Basholi Miniature Paintings from some influential individuals and preserving this invaluable Heritage for posterity . For this, he repeatedly contacted Padha ( Upadhaya ) family from Basholi for procuring some valuable Basholi Miniature paintings . The ancestors of Padha family were Physicians to the rulers of Basholi . Sri Kunj Lal Padha of Basholi finally agreed to present about 70 paintings ( Rasamanjari theme ) to Bakshi Ghulam Mohd who donated all this Treasure to Dogra Art Gallery Jammu . Some paintings were also gifted to Dr Karan Singh by Kunj Lal Padha.
The Persian handwritten SHAAHNAAMA was brought to Gogra Art Gallery through singular efforts of master ji . Credit goes to him for collecting numberless artifacts for Dogra Art Gallery that include Dogra costumes , Coins , Manuscripts , Handicrafts , Ornaments , Terracotta Heads , sculptures ,Metal Objects , intricately carved Marble Jharokhas , Arms and Stone Inscriptions in Takri.
In 1944 ,Alongwith Bhagwat Prasad Sathe , Deenu Bhai Pant , D C Prashant , Narayan Mishra and Prof Ram Nath Shastri , Master ji established DOGRI SANSTHA . And Master ji was unanimously elected to head the SANSTHA as its first president .
In 1948, this sanstha performed “ Bawa Jitto Da Balidhaan “ the first Dogri Play at Tikri . Due to his initiative , a grand exhibition of Paintings done by Artists from Duggar land was organized inside Technical Institute Kachhi Chhawani Jammu . In 1952 , Dogri Sanstha organized another exhibition of paintings (done by artists from Jammu ) at New Delhi .
Master ji took personal interest for compilation of “ JAAGO DUGGAR ” the first collection of Dogri poems published by Dogri Sanstha . JAAGO DUGGAR was followed by NAMEE CHETNA. NAMEE CHETNA was initially published from Delhi but finally DOGRI SANSTHA started its full time publication from Jammu.
Joined by Kehri singh Madhukar , Prof M R Puri, Prof Goverdhan singh ,D C Prashant , Ram Nath shastri, Dinu Bhai Pant and many more writers and intellectuals, Master ji would be seen going from door to door or selling copies of NAMEE CHETNA in Pucca danga or Raghu Nath Bazar so as to popularize it.
He also seved as Court Painter during the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh .
He was a disciplined person and never compromised with his principles . A thorough gentleman and honest to the core , he remained a lover of nature which is evident in his water colour landscapes . When his trusted friend, noted artist and sculptor Vidya Rattan Khajuria was posted at Institute of Fine Arts in Srinagar, Master ji paid some visits to kashmir and did some memorable Kashmir landscapes .
As artist, he was comfortable in many formats and styles like Pahari Miniature , Bengal School , Portraits , Landscapes and abstract .
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