6 key lessons on Self Empowerment through Madhubani Art



6 key lessons on Self Empowerment through Madhubani Art


Madhubani Art is one of the traditional and heritage art of India that originated in the Mithila region of India. Although it’s a group of different styles, the main essence and motive behind all these styles remain the same. Traditionally this art is used for decorating walls for the auspicious functions, but now the canvas of this art is much more diverse, and so are the themes and ideas.

The evolution empowered the people of the Mithila region and provide them the fame and appreciation they truly deserve.

How did  Madhubani art  come to be: The history of this art 

The intricate motifs, vibrant colors, and the curious eyes of the character looking at you. The flowy color strokes tell the story, the story of how does Madhubani art originated? 

It tells the story when the daughter of King Janak, the princess of  Mithila kingdom “Seeta” is getting married to the “Ram” prince of the mighty kingdom Ayodhya. 

King Janaka ordered to decorate each wall and house of the kingdom with beautiful paintings. It was commissioned to the artisan women of the land. The use of natural colors and designs and patterns inspired by surrounding those women gave birth to art today known as Mithila art or Madhubani art.

I was fortunate enough to be born in the household of a small village in the Mithila region of Bihar state of India, the land Where Madhubani art originated from.

Each and every corner of the walls of my home is decorated with patterns and motifs, animals, humans, birds, and trees. I grew up observing the experienced hand of my Grandmother and Mom, coloring those motifs occasionally with colors derived from flowers and other natural substances. It’s not like their talent is limited to the walls, they spread the colors on canvas too. 

But it was never the same, The art was still used to decorate only walls until the massive earthquake of 1934 hit the land of Mithila. A British officer visited the land for inspection but was mesmerized by the art portrayed on the inner wall of home deep in the village of Jitwarpur.

He captured some pictures of the wall painting known as “Bhiti Chitra” and published them in an international magazine.

Soon the pictures got due recognition, and so did the art of Madhubani. Still, it was a drought many years later, which expanded the canvas boundary for Madhubani painting. The art that was merely done to decorate the home walls is now on paper, cloth, and whatnot. 

The expansion of Canvas gave wings of empowerment to the women of villages of Mithila, who were confined to the boundary of home till now. 

How does Madhubani art empower the artists and community?

Unlike most of the earning work where the dominance of men is clearly visible in the devolving countries, Madhubani art is traditionally a woman-dominated area. The art is passed from mother to daughter or daughter-in-law. When this art found the canvas, it brought empowerment to the life of the women of Mithila. Let’s understand how


 The boundary of home not only confined the talent but soon crushes self-confidence. Thousands of women in the Mithila region although very talented and creative but due to lack of opportunity with them lost their self-confidence and limit themselves. But the situation when they found the canvas to show their creativity, they gained their confidence back and rock the world with their talent. The story of this transformation is what motivates me to believe in myself.

2. Courageous:- 

My mother told me the story of  Mahasundari Devi, which still gives me the courage to do things against all odds in society.

My mom told me how Mahasundari Devi broke the societal norms of keeping the Purdah (Veil) in the year 1961 and picked a brush to color her feelings on the canvas. She created her own niche in painting and founded a cooperative society named “Mithila Hastashilp Kalakar Audyogki Sahyog Samiti” to empower artists to take one step further.

The courageous step taken, helping women till now to come and snatch what they deserve.

3. Career orientation:- 

My grandmother once committed only to the household chores and never appreciated for her skills, the economic condition was not that good at that time. But the wave of recognition of Madhubani art reached our doorsteps. She took the opportunity and placed the traditional wall art on the canvas. 

The appreciation of her artwork not only helped her to gain confidence but supported the family financially too. She passed the heritage to her daughter and my mother, and this family skill is still running in my blood. 


From depicting the harvest season, local market, changing weather, and children playing, Madhubani painting beautifully renders the scenes from day to day rural Indian life. The depiction of Wedding ceremonies and emotions and feelings attached to different events are very hard to communicate in words, but with the help of this Art, women showcase their day-to-day struggles and life lessons in a more profound way. It’s a perfect way for me too to express my thoughts in a creative way.

5. Relevance:- 

With the help of art, the women of Mithila not only showcased the traditional themes but presents the contemporary issues in a very creative way. Issues like Mental health, climate change, and gender discrimination found their place in Madhubani paintings. Malvika Raj, one of the contemporary Madhubani artists, presents social issues in such a creative way that people found inspiration from it.

6. Well-being and Happiness 

When these women from rural India find their confidence back, able to stand on their own feet and value their existence, they arise and bring change to society. They make society free and promote equality. They not only empower themselves but inspire other people too to bring the change.

The value of these paintings is more than just a piece of art for the people of Mithila; It is a part of our culture and now a part of their existence and empowerment.


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