By |2020-02-19T13:23:28+00:00February 19th, 2020|Inspiring Story|
People call me a passionate man. I call myself artist.
Name: Sultan Baig
Age: Can’t recall the precise figure
Currently exhibiting at Ahmedabad Haat, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Working since: Class VIII, around 22 years
Type: Family Business
Place of birth: Udaigiri (Mysore, Karnataka, India)
Master of: Woodwork
Ever since I can remember, I have watched my father caress small but sharp pieces of wood with a loving smile.
Like a mother feeds, plays & teaches its child, my father used to cut wood, paint wood, create wood out of wood.
I inherited this love for wood from him.
A lot many things I wanted to say to the interviewer, but they asked me limited questions which were, “how many exhibits I have done? Difficulties I have faced in business?” etc etc
How could I face difficulties when I do the things I travel so far for even if I do not have the money to return home.
How could I face difficulties in creating unique pieces of wood art even if people do not purchase them?
Life is good.
To answer what they(curious writers of this tale) asked me:
Yes, I have done 185 individual exhibitions of my work.
Business is not a guarantee in each of them.
Like here, in Ahmedabad, it has been 3 days & I have not earned even 1000/- Rs.
I have no money to go back home & that is why I am waiting here every day for someone to stop & buy instead of
stop, pick a colorful attractive product to inquire indifferently and walk away leaving me once again, hopeless.
What I can say is I am satisfied. I provide employment to 3 more men like me, someone who loves his work, but never learned how to sell them.
It takes around two & a half hours to make 1 small piece of art.
The instrument I use to cut & polish wood is a sharp string tied to a C shaped wood.
“Madam Coolie picture dekha hai aapne? Hume bhi us picture me Amitabh Bachhan jaisa hi lagta hai.”
I too give my blood & sweat to create what others give Rs 100/- for.
I am currently making a temple, a mode of devotion. On being asked about religion, he replied that, “people worship gods. I worship work.”
(Written by the interviewer from what he heard & saw in 2 rounds of interview)
Price of his current work:
Wood owl big size – Rs 190/-
Wood owl small size – Rs 140/-
A joint of wood owl big size – Rs 350/-
A joint of wood owl small size – Rs 275/-
An idol of Ganesha & Krishna – Rs 375/-
A rural house – Rs 200/-
A snake – Rs 75/-
Keychain – Rs 20/-
Round Container Small – Rs 20/-
Round Container Big – Rs 30/-
Keyholder – Ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 300/- (depending on piece to piece)
Pen stand – Rs 100/-
From the interviewer:
The artist is a regular worker of Belapur, 200 kilometers from Ahmedabad, near Mumbai (Maharashtra, India)
He loves the place where an artist like him gather a market on the roads & exhibit the colorful wonders of life.
The business may or may not happen, but a round of laughter is guaranteed amongst themselves.
If art is not the soul of life, then I don’t know what is…


Art + someone = Artist
One great story leads to another. After talking to Sultan Baig, we wandered ahead from one colorful shop to another. Sultan introduced us to a few of his friends he had made in Ahmedabad Haat. We met Ravi, a middle-aged man with a big smiling face, Mullah kaka (uncle), an old man sleeping & waiting for his first customer of the day in the evening… etc
Picture Credit:- Jahnavi Pandya
The next day, Sultan was leaving for Mumbai in hope of earning as Ahmedabad had proved to be a fruitless journey. His taxi had almost reached the gates when Ravi came running from the gate & stopped him. His anxiousness for Sultan, whom he had met only a few days ago, to drop him to his station regardless of his own shop left me confused & well… respect.
We decided to wait for Ravi to come back. My curiosity wouldn’t let me leave without exploring this man’s mind who, till yesterday, was a sweet but average artist. Why so much love in a friend of a few days? More like a competitor actually!
Picture Credit:- Jahnavi Pandya
RAVIKUMAR belongs to Bihar. By his shop were a few kids who started showing us MITHILA paintings on hand made paper. Ravi not only makes painting for a living but teaches these kids for free only because he promised them! They destroy his work by cheating on quality and earn for themselves by selling their rip-offs but he only laughs as we ask him if he is aware about that.
Ahmedabad Haat is a road themed market with shops on left & right. The shops at the back rarely get any business while the shops at the front or beginning of the gate get all the customers. Ravi was offered a shop at the front but he declined when a fellow competitor requested him to exchange shops. We visited Ahmedabad Haat regularly. Imagine our happiness when we saw him moving to a shop in front, only to see him moving back to a poorly located shop the next day. But he was still happy. An artist living on meager supplies, slow demand & poor profits is giving up his opportunity for an unknown person is not something I have ever seen before.
Picture Credit:- Jahnavi Pandya
Their handmade sheet is made of cotton (60 %) and paper (40 %). The beautiful images of love, childhood & abstract were hanging from their shop walls on Sari(Indian 9 yard cloth draped), Chunri (Indian cloth is worn with Salwar Kameez) and curtains of Tasal silk, Paper Silk, Silk & Cotton. His paintings are carved from POINTED BAMBOO. Inspiration from Ramayana & Mahabharata was evident from his artworks. He uses natural colors made from babul, neem, flowers & vegetables.
The natural beauty remains in youth forever. One painting takes about 15 to 16 days. Repeat work takes 8 to 9 days. In business from the last 3 to 4 years, he pays tribute to his brother-in-law as his guru (teacher). He ever wishes to leave MITHILA PAINTINGS, it helped him earn to complete his studies, it has given him a source of income, a house & satisfaction.
These paintings are called as “MADHVANI PAINTING” or “MITHILA PAINTING”.


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