An Untold Story of Baij’s Sculptures & their relationship with the Passer-by of Sansad Marg
Perhaps very few people today in India know the name “Ramkinkar Baij”, even though he is considered as one of the pioneers of modern Indian sculpture and a key figure of contextual modernism. Ramkinkar Baij’s work indeed has a unique relationship with every Delhite. In some way or the other, we have been encountered his art since our childhood days.
Most of us, who have visited the Connaught place by taking the Parliament street (Sansad
Marg), will recall the two giant demon statues standing next to Indian Reserve Bank gate. These are the two iconic Yaksha-Yakshi statues. As part of Hindu mythology, they are the attendants of Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth and have influenced knowingly and unknowingly every passer-by of Delhi’s Parliament street over the decades.
The story goes that these twenty feet statues were started when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, commissioned Ramkinkar Baij to make these two monumental sculptures, to ‘stand guard’ just outside the Reserve Bank of India in New Delhi. As such a huge piece of stones was rare to find in Northern India, Ramkinkar had to travel across the country and finally settle for the sandstone found at Baijnath in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The transportation of the stone became a saga by itself. A fairly generous budget was finished transporting the stone to Delhi where the work was to begin. The stone had to be cut in a certain way and the shapes of the open railway wagons had to be modified in order to carry the material to Delhi.
These two statues were not just giant copies of the ancient Yaksha and Yakshi sculptu