Lalita Putty

Raghoottama’s wife Lalita was born on August 24, 1925 to Venkataramanayya and Lakshamma in Hassan, Karnataka. She was named Venkamma by her parents. As was the practice during those days, she was married at the very young age of 15 years to Raghoottama Putty. After marriage, her name was changed to Lalita and so she became Lalita R Putty.

Though she studied just upto 6th standard, her language was impeccable. Putty had discovered that his wife had very dextrous fingers and she was very good at stitching. Artist Subba Rao of Kalalmandira, Bangalore once showed a Chinese embroidery to an assembled audience and challenged: “Can anyone create a work like this?” Raghoottama Putty accepted the challenge and said, “You will see a piece like that in less than two years”. He returned home and inspired and guided Lalita to take to hand embroidery, and her first piece, Gopi Krishna, was produced in 1954.

In less than two years, she had become so adept in her craft that she won a silver medal for her work Marwari Woman, at an exhibition held at Indian Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar. In 1958, her work Protest (A crying baby) won her the OCM Pvt Ltd’s Prize at the same venue. The Gurudev (Rabindranatha Tagore) secured her the President of India Gold Medal and her work was certified the best in a National Level Exhibition in Amritsar. In 1960 and 1961, she won the Punjab Governor’s Award for her work Gurunanak.

Her works include Shivatandava, Ravindranatha Tagore, Gurunanak, Protest (named Alumore or Baby in tears by the Jnaanapeetha Awardee Da. Ra. Bendre), Jawaharalal Nehru, Meera, Gopikrishna, Marwadi Woman, Blue Jay, Niraaseya Poornime and After the Bath. Her workmanship was so good that the last Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar got the flag of his car stitched by Lalita.

Her active life started to slow down when her legs started to develop some problems, which eventually made her fixed to a chair. Despite this, she remained cheerful till her last days. She breathed her last on July 8, 2004.