Alleged detention in Japan behind tribal artist's suicide

Hinduatan times

Bhopal: THE SUICIDE by eminent tribal artist Jangan Singh Shyam has shaken the artist community of Madhya Pradesh.

Jangan Singh, adorned with the Shikhar Samman award, committed suicide at a museum in Japan on July 3, where he was being allegedly kept in detention. Jagan Singh had gone to Japan on a three-month visit at the invitation of the Mithila Museum authorities near Tokamachi.

It is alleged that Jangan was forced to prolong his stay there and his visa, which was to expire on July 12, was extended against his wish. Jangan feared that he may never be allowed to come back to India and thus he took the extreme step.

The Mithila museum is said to have been founded by some persons from Bihar with funds from the Japanese government and industrialists. Initially, the museum was interested in Madhubani paintings for their international repute and saleability. Later on, tribal paintings and tribal artists like Jangan 'also allured' it.

Jagan had earlier been to this museum once. A lady from Kolkata known as 'Madam' used to work as a mediator between the artists and the museum.

The fax received by the multi-art complex Bharat Bhawan here from the Indian embassy in Japan, quoted Japanese police as saying that Jangan was under severe depression for several days. The Japanese police on their part quoted museum authorities. The fax said that he had booked a return ticket for July 21 by Bangla Biman. Later, the museum curator, a Japanese national, informed that Jangan's flight was booked for July 26 and his stay was extended by some days because he was yet to complete a painting.

Artists known to Jangan said that he used to make desperate telephone calls asking them to send a letter or a fax to the museum informing about 'serious illness' of his wife or his wards so that he was allowed to return. Jangan had also written a letter to his wife informing her about his mental state and eagerness to return.

He wrote the letter in Gondi dialect, perhaps to ensure that the museum authorities couldn't understand it.

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Referred by: Mukandan CM
Published on: July 7, 2001
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