The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is organising a festival on Ram Katha in oral narrative and folk traditions at its Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road premises here these days.

Launched at an interactive session with Ram Varta artists of Dongaria Bhil community on November 27, the festival features workshops, seminars, exhibitions and performances. Ram Varta was first in the series of documentation workshops and it will go on till January 20 with groups from different States. The second phase of the workshop has already started in which artists from Assam are performing Ram katha in Sattara tradition. It will continue till December 19.

This would be followed by performances from West Bengal, who will bring along with them the traditional puppet show and the traditional Patta painting. Artists from Himachal Pradesh will perform the Gaddi and Kullu Ramayana and also a folk drama called Barlaj.

Two groups of performers -- Mewati Jogi group from Alwar region and Manganiar from Western Rajasthan -- will perform from Rajasthan. The workshop will also have performers from Pauri Garhwal with their traditional theatrical form of Ram katha. The performance arts would be audio visually documented and released in March next year. A film on Ram katha tradition with the Northeast has been commissioned under this project.

Madhur Tankha