Yakshagana is rich with therapeutic value, says Samaga

Published - April 21, 2024 09:35 pm IST - MANGALURU

Yakshagana scholar and a former chairman of Karnataka Yakshagana Academy M.L. Samaga speaking on Yakshagana at a programme organised by Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences at Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Manipal on Friday, April 19.

Yakshagana scholar and a former chairman of Karnataka Yakshagana Academy M.L. Samaga speaking on Yakshagana at a programme organised by Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences at Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Manipal on Friday, April 19. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Yakshagana is a complete traditional theatre art that includes aesthetic, intellectual, classical, and folk elements, and it is rich with therapeutic value, according to Yakshagana scholar and a former Chairman of Karnataka Yakshagana Academy M.L. Samaga.

Speaking on Yakshagana at a programme organised by the Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in Manipal on Friday, April 19, Mr. Samaga said Yakshagana, which possibly originated as a ‘singing style’ a few hundred years ago, developed as singing compositions. In its present form, possibly it is about 200 years old. “Now it is a complete theatre form which includes song, dance, narrative, dialogues, costume, acting etc,” he said.

Yakshagana is undoubtedly rich with its aesthetics of song, dance and costumes, taking one to a different world. Even though its themes are majorly mythological, it is also intellectual, discursive and philosophical with much liberty in dialogues and discussions. While they generally stick to traditional conclusions, between the beginning and conclusion, there is much creativity, he felt.

Citing examples from many performances from Ramayana and Mahabharata, Mr. Samaga showed how the discussion could be intellectual and philosophical. Yakshagana, which started off as a temple art, has elevated itself to a more artistic plain with artists from all communities and women taking part in it. He explained the traditional structure of Yakshagana, experiments in it (such as that of Kota Shivarama Karanth), the northern and the southern styles, its recent trends in entertainment and education.

“Because of its aesthetic completeness, religious connection yet liberal stances, classical, folk, intellectual and philosophical elements, entertainment, educative and therapeutic value, Yakshagana is becoming more and more popular,” Mr. Samaga observed.

The head of the centre Varadesh Hiregange spoke.

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