Brij Lok Kala Foundation (BLKF) is derived from Brij Lok Kala Manch Samiti (BLKMS), the Indian entity of BLKF. BLKMS was founded by Mr. Ramesh Chandra Sharma and is now run by his son, Mr. Vishnu Dutt Sharma. Here is the story of these two great men:
In his early days, Mr. Ramesh Chandra Sharma used to advocate Brij Kala to a broader audience. He would often scour several villages and cities for artists. This was often not easy given cultural restrictions. For example, when Mr. Sharma came across a great artist who happened to be a woman, she would not be permitted to join as she was not allowed to leave her village because of social restrictions. Mr. Sharma would get disappointed at these limitations, especially given that Lord Krishna never believed in these boundaries yet they existed during his times.
Brij Kala artists are not readily available due to localization. To nurture fresh talent, Mr. Chandra, out of his love and devotion for this art, sacrificed his own personal assets to nurture young and fresh talents.
Ramesh only had one dream which he asked his son & his protege Vishnu Dutt Sharma to fulfill – Take “Brij Kala” to a wider audience on a global platform.
Ramesh was so devoted to this art that he would remain hungry till he fed all the artists who performed at events. Vishnu, understanding the hunger his father faced during these times, would bring jaggery & nuts for his hungry father. Vishnu took a pledge on the flame of Diya (lamp) that he will devote his life to promoting Brij Kala. He has seen the hardships of poverty to the extent that he would not even get to eat on certain days. Despite this, he remains committed to devoting his entire life to Brij Kala.
Vishnu Dutt Sharma
Mr. Vishnu Dutt Sharma is on a mission to connect with more and more people and inspire them to take this art to a global audience. With the advancement of Western culture in India, Brij Kala is facing a significant risk of extinction.
He has traveled to both national and international locations to promote Brij Kala and help people understand the importance of this art form. He has performed at many important festivals such as the Diamond jubilee festival (UK), Arfo-Asian game in South Africa, Doordarshan Kendra in Jaipur, Kala Ghoda festival in Mumbai, Bharat parv Utsav in New Delhi, Shri Jagannath rath yatra in Odisa, and the Indian Weak festival in Mauritius.
He also runs Goshala (Cow-shed) to protect cows and make products out of the cow dung like Incense cones, paintings, etc. Through this, he tries to help people in 2 ways
To provide jobs for women in villages
Provide positive energy. It’s believed that ingredients used to make the products destroy the negative energy of a place.
He is also passionate about helping blind artists. Vishnu has identified and trained several blind artists and helped them earn a living by becoming a part of different groups.
Throughout Covid-19, he donated 33 cows from his own goshala to different artists so that they can earn something by selling cow milk. He has also sold his own farms to feed his team of artists till they can be self-sufficient. This is Vishnu’s gutsy dedication toward preventing this art form from becoming extinct.