Fascinating peek into the Northeast

Nativity rulesA melange of folk and tribal dances from northeastern statesarranged  

he National School of Drama, New Delhi and the Department of Culture, Government of Telangana brought the glorious tribal arts and culture of the seven sister states of northeastern India to Hyderabad last week. A group of charming Chero dancers from Mizoram trooped on to the stage, while the audience watched with bated breath, their quick paced dance negotiating the fast clapping bamboo sticks. It created a fantastic rhythm for the agile dance manoeuvres. The petite Mugyanta dancers from Nagaland with lamps on their heads danced with dexterity. The Kabui Nagas of Manipur with horns as their headdress invited the beasts to dance. The huge tribal drums, high pitch tremolo singing, exotic and colourful handloom dresses, all brought alive the earthy endearing spirit of tribal dances from Northeastern India in Hyderabad.

The Biju dance of the Chakma adivasis from Tripura ushering the New Year, the delightful Lambada dancers of Telangana in all their regalia dancing vigorously to exciting rhythms were a sight to behold. The rivalries between tribes of Mizoram and the ferocious contest leading to enslaving of the dead warriors’ souls were feisty and fierce. The spears and the shields and the war cries added to the ferocity of the dance. Hoza Giri, as always, had the spectators awe struck with the girls performing difficult feats with the lamps on bottles balanced on their heads while performing a variety of acrobatics. The Magar and Gurung tribes from Sikkim, the Moirang Nagas from Manipur with the Lausha warrior dance, the Wah Buddhist dance from Tripura, Veer Bhushri from Assam, the amazing antics of the Manipuri warrior dancers with their bamboo sticks and human pyramids in Chorol Jogoi, the Misi Solzong from Meghalaya were all a window to a rare and world of the rich Indian tribes. The Gusadis and Oggu Dolu from Telangana had the audiences watching them wide-eyed.

Hyderabadis got to witness this rare treat during the Aadirang Mahotsav (March 3-5 at Shilpa Kala Vedika) presented by the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi jointly hosted by the department of Language and culture, Government of Telangana.

Waman Kendre, Director, NSD, shared how the festival is expected to provide a platform to explore the beauty and richness of the unique identity of India through tribal art and culture. Ratan Thiyam, Chairman, NSD, stressed upon unity in variety, which is the hallmark of Indian culture. The seven sister states of the northeastern India have their own unique identity. Tripura, Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Telangana were brought together with a majestic display of their tribal culture and art forms.

A bazaar with a fascinating variety of handlooms and crafts was set up. A seminar with scholars such as Anup Ranjan Pandey, B K Mohanty, Kanu Patil, O Mutthaiah, V V Bhedekar, Jayadheer Thirumal Rao, Kailash Patnaik, Prakash Kndle, Subramanya Naidu and others provided valuable inputs on a variety of topics on tribal culture. Such feativals, which are efficiently choreographed with quality in arts and artistes, should be seen often.