Idital : Unique Murals of Souras
Idital : The Voice of Ancestral Spirits of Souras
I.S:Dr. Manoj Mishra,
Idital found in one elderly Shaman house
‘Idital’ is a novel work of art of one of the most ancient ethnic groups of Odisha ,Lanjia Souras . This artistic expression is quickly vanishing and should be recorded and protected for our future generations.
It was in the month of December 2022 (from December 14th to 20th) , I was there in Puttasingh region near Gunupur . What I found over there is that around 80% indigenous Soura youths have become converted Christians and they do have no inclination towards this rich tradition with religious significance.
I.S: Dr. Manoj Mishra,Author with the Shaman Soura woman who has drawn this Idital
These fascinating murals of Souras are remarkable in contrast with some other primitive tribes of Odisha and the country too. Souras convey the act of doing Iditals from days of yore. That goes a long way past anything envisioned by the Gonds tribal people or by any other Indian tribe . The murals of different tribal communities are pretty much enriching in nature yet of Souras , they are significant with a strict religious and aesthetic reason . Each Idital contrasts from another on account of structure, items and images relying upon the reason for which it is done . This fine art can be arranged by their motives behind and composition . The pictograms pass on a message if deciphered or dissected particularly by the Shaman (Soura priest) himself.
This Idital is drawn on the mud walls of huts of Souras with the assistance of rice flour glue to pay tribute to the dead (Dumba) to get their attention /blessings, to get better harvest, to deflect sickness and normal disasters ( like cyclone or cloudburst rain etc.) and for the general prosperity of the family and the villagers in total . Barely any individuals articulate these murals as ‘Ittalan’ or ‘Anital’, yet the right ( that is uttered by practically all) and present way of expression of the Souras of Puttasing ( near Gunupur ) locale peruses as ‘Idital ‘. They safeguard those pictograms for a very long time and some of the time reestablish it by drawing over the bygone one with little varieties. The old murals stay noticeable faintly behind the upgraded one.
Subject/ Theme of Soura Paintings
Souras have a sincere belief that it is an extraordinary offence to fail to remember their forefathers / progenitors in their social events, distresses and sufferings. The uniqueness of Soura culture is the never-ending love and affinity towards their forefathers whom they call ‘Dumba’. They accept that their forefathers living in a different universe after their demise still intently care for the prosperity of the family. They treat their forefathers as living citizens of their community from whom they get counsel and love in varying social statuses. The idea of forefathers is the fundamental subject of Soura murals which is regularly expounded in their pictograms. The focal subject of most Soura murals is all about drawing houses or temples for hereditary spirits in their interior home walls .
The soul on whose honour the mural is drawn sits in the middle circling it are different symbols and scenes as desired by the soul of that particular forefather over dreams that come to the ‘Shaman’ ( their village priest) or the Iditalmar( painter ). Souras put stock in black magic, trance, spirits , ghosts and so forth. Souras feel that the otherworldly power controls the day today happenings on our earth . They look for the favours of divine beings and their forefathers by summons and sacrifices ( like fermented rice wine, chicken or goat etc) . To remind and revere their forefathers , they place these concealed powers at home looking like symbols on the wall. Those murals are drawn on walls either by Shaman or the Iditalmar following routine procedure as designed by the Shaman customarily. While drawing the idital, the Shaman remains in trance and is guided/ directed by the spirit of those forefathers .
Different Events Shown in Iditals
I.S. Wikipedia , Idital
Several events like the following find a place in the Iditals.… for instance
a) naming of another conceived child
b) carriage of carcass
c) funeral rituals being performed
c) marriage scenes
d) hunting scenes
e) Soura women bringing
firewoods,water pots etc.
f) Aeroplanes flying , bus moving
g) Appeasement of forefathers by
sacrificing goats/ chicken etc.
and ..so forth
I.S: Anurag Mallick, Idital
The idital talks a great deal on the Soura philosophy and their conviction framework. Idital is a rich writing as craftsmanship where the Shaman / Iditalmar is the essayist who interprets them generally on the interior walls of Soura huts. The Souras accept that the disappointed forefathers are the reason for sickness and infection so they attempt to appease them by giving sacrifices and worshipping daily.Iditals are never drawn outside the house for design reasons like other wall painting and jhoti of different other tribes. That shows its religious and aesthetic significance since the Souras treat it as a shrine.
The fundamental objective of Soura painting is to give a house inside the house in an emblematic way to the forefathers with all prerequisites so it can reside in harmony and care for the improvement of the family. The Soura murals ( Iditals) stand apart from a whole lot of tribal paintings because of its representative love and affinity with their forefathers and for all alive and lifeless powers set in one Idital .
It is no wonder that ‘Idital’ is a line drawing . Its essential interaction is simple and receptive; however the natural thought behind enlivening the spirits of forefathers by providing all sorts of prerequisites goes beyond the understanding of several modern day people.That remains a mystery.
Raw Materials Used
& Procedure Followed
Prior to painting , the wall is washed with a foundation variety that is the red earth blended in with water by a piece of cloth by the Soura women . The composition is finished with the assistance of white hued rice glue. The brushes are made from date palm or bamboo sticks somewhat smoothed toward the end . The mix of two differentiating tones.. that is reddish earth foundation and white drawing are very alluring. They frequently use lamp black ( collected from kerosene fuelled lanterns)on the borderline to feature their murals.
Image : Dr. Manoj Mishra
It has been seen in the last few decades that this fascinating artform is quickly vanishing and the Soura people are leaving this custom. Seeing the latest thing , it may very well be presumed that this rich artform will disappear and soon after a couple of years it will just stay in theory / books. The primary reason behind the extinction of Soura painting is adoption of Christianity by most Soura tribal people. Since more than last 50 years , there has been quick changes because of huge Christian missionaries . It is a direct result of this uncontrolled conversions being committed by missionaries in various thickly populated Soura pockets. This has driven unavoidably to the deficiency of creative pursuits. Literally the elderly Soura women have stopped drawing Iditals on their house walls.
The Soura murals are additionally changing rapidly under the effect of new financial and social powers . It was because of the exposure to new types of culture and way of life, the young mass are reluctant to go for drawing Iditals on their walls. Rather they want to draw it on small pieces of canvas so as to make it easier to sell to domestic and foreign tourists as well.
Dr.Manoj Mishra , email@example.com