Recently, some well-known architects and designers came forward to re-do some of the railway stations free of cost. The Railway Minister too gave a clarion-call to leading architects to help the Indian Railways to renovate/re-design some of the stations which are in bad condition. However, people of Madhubani didn’t wait for any call from the Minister or other railway officials, but joined hands on their own to convert their railway station, once considered to be one of the dirtiest in India, into a most beautiful station in the country.
Madhubani railway station, under East Central Railway (ECR), bordering Nepal is one of the oldest in Bihar and like many other stations in the country was crying for makeover. Nearly 230 Mithila artists came together, thanks to government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, decided to give a facelift to their railway station free of cost. Railways, on their part, participated in the campaign by providing the artists required equipment. Artists used fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, matchsticks and natural dyes and pigments. As much as 7,000 sq ft area of the railway station was decorated by these artists with Mithila paintings on voluntary basis. The artists used the Madhubani paintings in order to depict the day-to-day life of the people in the region along with the other aspects of their culture and society.
Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of various communities in Mithila region of India and Nepal. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterised by eye-catching geometrical patterns. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women.