Jadu means magic and pata is a scroll. Jadu pata is a magical scroll created by patuas - artist-storytellers, who wander from village to village carrying painted scrolls made by sewing together painted scenes on paper sheets. The scrolls are rolled and carried on their journeys and during their performance they open the roll and through myth-making and storytelling bring the complex illustrations to life for their audiences. Interestingly, they employ their library of a dozen themes in a judicious manner by narrating different interpretations for each theme depending on their audience. Hindu, Muslim and Santhal gathering call for different stories. The common themes include the Baha’s Feast - a mix of Hindu and Santhal folklore, the creation myths, paintings of the goddess Kali and the escapades of the god of hell Yama. These magician-storytellers live off the money and offerings the villagers give them. The intensity and macabre style of narration would inversely enhance the status of the artist amongst the communities he visits.
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