Other States

Odisha ignoring Sahu in his birth centenary year”

Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu and (right) with PM Indira Gandhi in 1968  

Folk dance enthusiasts and disciples of folk dance legend of Odisha Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu lamented that even in his centenary year, the government had failed upkeep the memory of this great personality, who had codified most folk dance forms of south Odisha.

September 21 is the 101st birth anniversary of Bhagaban Sahu, who was born in Ganjam district in 1914. He passed away on August 12, 2012. Even in his centenary year, the State Culture Department as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi did not show any interest to revive his memories, said secretary of Padmashri Bhagaban Sahu Smaranika Committee (PBSSC), Bighneswar Sahu. Villages like Narendrapur and Badakusasthali in Ganjam district happened to be laboratory of folk dance by Bhagaban Sahu and his disciples still keep up his tradition there. But no programme has been planned there to observe his birth centenary or anniversary.

G. Krishna Reddy, a disciple of this great maestro, said: “It is an irony that the government as well as political leaders are taking much pain to promote modern dance groups and singers on TV channels although they have no footing in Orissa’s cultural heritage while due respect is not shown for the folk art forms and its gurus who are identity of Odisha.”

Mr Bighneswar said they had requested the government and State Sangeet Natak Akademy last year but in vain.

According to former secretary of Odisha Sageet Natak Akademi, Manmath Satpathy, Mr. Sahu own revived and codified several folk dance forms of south Odisha like tiger dance, ranapa, the dance on stilts, jodi sankha, laudi, paika dance and chadheia chadheiani. He is also remembered as the choreographer of the much-acclaimed movie Bagh Bahadur based on tiger dance form revived by him. Academician and folk researcher Venkat Rao Reddy also termed Bhagaban Sahu as a social reformer, who despite being a Brahmin had become disciple of tribal and Dalit folk dance gurus living in remote jungles to master the folk dance forms and to codify them for international arena. Bhagaban Sahu trained common poor villagers to become folk dance artistes to add up to their income.

Admirers of this legendary folk dance guru demanded that the State government institute a chair in Berhampur University or Odisha University of Culture in his memory, install his statue at a public place, release postal stamp in his memory and institute of an award for folk dancers. They also wanted Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) to establish a library in the city.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 12:58:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-ignoring-sahu-in-his-birth-centenary-year/article7671935.ece

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