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75 Years Of India's Independence

We The People: How Madhubani Painting Helped A Domestic Help Find Her Place Under The Sun

Dulari Devi was awarded the Padma Shri for her contribution to Mithila painting, a traditional art form of Bihar.

Dulari Devi, Madhubani artist

In 2011, when renowned Mithila painting artist Mahasundari Devi was conferred the Padma Shri award, Dulari Devi had no idea what it was all about. Curious, she had asked Mahasundari Devi about it. A resident of Raanti village in Bihar’s Madhubani, 55-year-old Dulari had been working at the house of Mahasundari Devi as a domestic help.

About 10 years later, Dulari Devi has herself been conferred the same award, Padma Shri, for her contribution to Mithila painting, a traditional art form of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur and other adjoining districts. A member of the Mallah (fishing) community, which falls under the Extremely Backward Caste (EBC), her journey from domestic help to Padma Shri has been tumultuous.

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