Art mentors

Many of these East Bengal refugees practiced different crafts for livelihood generation. Watching shell bangle makers, idol and doll craftsmen and clay potters, Sen got involved with clay modeling. He used to spend more time drawing and painting than in his school studies. Subhinoy, an artist friend of his parents who lived outside the refugee camp, inspired Sen to hone his drawing skill. However, he advised Sen never to become an artist to avoid ultimately dying in poverty as his experience was that art has no future in India.


When India was partitioned 1947 to create Pakistan, a new country for Muslims, about 20 million people of Bengal and Punjab were displaced and brutally victimized. Sen’s wealthy, literate family had huge landed property in erstwhile East Bengal, the present Bangladesh, which was carved out to be East Pakistan for Muslims. So for being Hindus Sen’s family was overnight evicted from their home. Without taking any possessions, they fled for their lives amidst people warring over religion, and so became squatted refugees in West Bengal.