It was a matter of concern for disciples and admirers of folk dance legend Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu as the administration and the Department of Culture forgot to celebrate his 94th birth anniversary on Wednesday.
Activists of Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu Smaranika Committee (PBSSC) decided to make no celebrations on the day as a mark of protest against the government apathy towards folk art forms. PBSSC secretary Bighneswar Sahu, who also happens to be the grand son of the legend, said, “It is an irony that the government that takes much interest in promoting modern dance groups which have no footing in Orissa's cultural heritage, has no respect for the folk art forms.”
The greatness of the master folk dance guru Bhagaban Sahu can be assessed from the fact that he had revived and codified several folk dance forms of south Orissa.
He was best remembered by people all over the country for the much-acclaimed movie ‘Bagh Bahadur' which was based on ‘tiger dance' one of the folk dance forms revived by him. He had also choreographed the movie. Major folk dance forms which were revived by him included ‘tiger dance', ‘ranapa', the dance on stilts, ‘jodi sankha', ‘chedheia chediani' etc.
Although a Brahmin he had made tribals and dalit folk dance artistes living in remote jungles his guru to master the dance forms to bring them to the notice of international arena.