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Harsh Chhajed

An Artist from the City of Lakes, who carves dried-up froth of Sea.

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 “I was the only child to my parents and thence they were really protective of me. They wouldn’t let me play with the other kids of our neighborhood, and the only way left for me to idle away the time in the simplistic years of 50s and 60s was art. I simply drew sketches and slowly got skilled in that, though my choice of subject in higher education was Science. In fact, I got selected in the Regional Engineering College Bhopal, but my protective parents didn’t let me go. So it was then I focused all my attention to my childhood time killer, drawing and painting. I became proficient in modern arts and got successful enough to have my arts installed in art galleries. Sea froth carving entered into my life at a later stage. We used to receive glass-cleaning material at our home, that was the time when chemical window cleaners hadn’t entered the Indian market, and one of those materials was the dried up sea-froth. Made of Calcium and Magnesium Carbonate the thing has a hard shell and softer insides. These insides were used to clean the windows of heritage buildings. Later the people involved in the trade of the stuff told me that the thing has medicinal qualities and Vedic doctors used to utilize it in treatments of some diseases. It was the first time I took interest in the seemingly unimportant thing. In 1963, 

I made my first sea froth carving. After that, this unique art, unique because I am yet to learn about any other person who’s engaged in similar art, earned me recognition beyond my expectations. I got my first National Award- Certificate of Merit for Master Craftsman in 1982. After that several other institutes rewarded me for the unique craft. But what pleases me more than these awards is the number of well-recognized people whose appreciation I’ve managed to earn with this art of mine. Some of these people are chief Election commissioner T.N. Seshan, Padma Shri Rajasthani Poet Kanhaiya Lal Sethia, Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar, Raj Singh, Lata Mangeshkar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Ashok Birla, Shankar Dhyay Sharma, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, P.V. Sharma, and the chief art curator of President's Estate Mrs. Vimala Sharma.”

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