Ekalavya was a self taught master of archery. As the story goes, he sees the Pandava and Kaurava princes practicing in Dronacharya’s ashram and requests the guru to teach him as well. Drona turns him down citing his lower caste. And so the boy makes an idol of Drona and practices before it (presumably watching the lessons of the other boys in secret as well) and masters the skill of archery. Drona discovers this when he finds a dog running around with its mouth full of arrows and asks for the boy’s right thumb as payment for the “lessons”. Without hesitation, Ekalavya offers his right thumb to his guru despite knowing that it will hurt his archery.
The important foreground pieces are Ekalavya ready to offer his thumb, Drona demanding for his payment, the statue of Drona that Ekalavya practices before and the poor dog that ends up with a mouthful of arrows because it barked too loudly and disturbed Ekalavya’s practice session. Also, I made Ekalavya’s color scheme mimic that of Drona as a way of representing a student wanting to copy his teacher in more ways than one.
The background in this piece is more symbolic, representing the simple life that Ekalavya comes from, surrounded by mountains, forests and his own little hut.