Masoom Grover



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Instagram:- @masoomgrover_

I’ve always been fascinated by stories and how they travel through time. But what intrigues me the most is that we never really know the true story because as it travels, it is retold with editions, omissions and human bias. And therefore, some part, if not all of it is always lost. 

Last year I came across the story of Nalanda University in the Bihar state of India. It was a monastic-cum-educational institution for students from all across the world, teaching subjects like Theology, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Medicine, Philosophy etc. around 5th century AD. In 1193 AD, a Turkish invader destroyed the library of this university by burning it down. Around 9 million manuscripts were burnt and a magnitude of knowledge was lost. Time and again, history has seen such loss of knowledge and the story of Nalanda stayed with me. I sometimes wonder what all would have been there inside those books that no longer exist, and this irreversible loss gave birth to ‘Lost Stories’. 

As a little girl, every afternoon, I used to listen to my badimumma (grandmother) narrate stories of gods, asuras , kingdoms, animals, plants, independence, partition, spirituality, mythology, tales from Panchtantra and even her own life experiences. Most of these stories either ended with a lesson so that I could understand morals and values in life, or were simply events that had occurred in the past and she wanted me to be aware of our history and culture. These stories were passed down to her by her mother and grandmother as heirlooms and she passed it down to me. I feel that all these stories influenced me and is a huge part of who I AM. 

In this book called ‘Kahaniya’ I narrate these stories in the form of textiles by using silk-screen printing and hand-embroidery on indigo-dyed cotton poplin. Burning this book containing stories that are a part of me is symbolic to burning of those manuscripts and erasing a huge part of knowledge from human history. Burning this book not only destroyed a crafted piece of textile that I invested 12 months of my life in but also the stories that have trickled down from layers of generations to finally reach me and hence a legacy. This depicts the true meaning of loss in my perspective. 

By burning this book I intend not to repeat the history but to rewrite it. ‘Lost Stories’ is an ironic attempt to change the narrative and immortalise the loss of knowledge. 

Masoom Grover | Textiles 5
Kahaniya: Lost Stories
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Kahaniya - stories
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Through the Jaali Window
Masoom Grover | Textiles 2
The Night Sky
Masoom Grover | Textiles 1
The Cycle of Rebirth
Masoom Grover | Textiles
The Two-Headed Bird
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