Posts filed under ‘Kosli Culture’
SAMBALPUR: Jitendra Haripal, the voice behind ‘Rangabati’, had never hoped for a Padma Award. A Dalit with no formal training in music who took to singing out of passion, he hopes the recognition might help him change his financial condition.
It was ‘Rangabati’, which took him to the zenith of popularity in the mid-70s. The song was recorded by All India Radio, Sambalpur in 1975-76 for Surmalika special programme and re-recorded (Disc) later on in Indian Record Company (INERCO), Kolkata in 1978-79. So far, he has sung in over 1,000 Koshali and Sambalpuri songs.
Even today, his voice continues to create euphoria among crowd whenever he sings at functions.
His first song recorded and broadcast was ‘Bhalu Palala Patarake’ followed by ‘Hai Kustan Hai Kustan’, ‘Mandal Bajila’, ‘Lenjera Ghanti Delana’ and many more such songs but it was ‘Ranagabati’ which made him popular.
However, his struggle for existence continues till date with one of his son, Paras driving an auto rickshaw to support their big family while he had lost another son, Pratap, who worked as a daily wager and fell to death at a construction site. Haripal has been bestowed with many awards including the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001, Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar, in 2015 for his unparalleled contribution to folk music.
Haripal got the news of his being chosen for Padma Shri Award from this paper while returning to Sambalpur from Panchmahalla in Ulunda block of Sonepur district.
Because she took birth on Gurubar (Thursday), parents kept her name Gurubari, which is a practice people follow in most part of the State. And, finally she also breathed her last on a Thursday.
Gurubari Mirdha from a nondescript village in Bargarh district left a void as she passed away recently with people of the State, particularly art connoisseurs, still remembering her sterling performance as a noted Sambalpuri and Dalkhai dancer. She had tremendous contribution to popularize Sambalpuri and Dalkhai dance in the country and singularly she was enough to keep the audience spell bound for hours together through the beats of her feet. Not irrelevant to mention that she even made former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to dance on the stage with her as Gandhi as an audience could not help it before the enthralling dance Gurubari was performing in Delhi.
But with so much talent in her, she was unable to cash in on it for her financial security. Almost during her entire life period, she was living a very miserable life. As a BPL person, she had been allotted an Indira Awas, but that she couldn’t be completed as yet.
In the year, 1987, an Odia vernacular daily carried a detail story about her poverty that drew the attention of the people abroad. And, moved by the report, Odia artist from Sweden PK Mahanadia wrote a letter to Surendra Hota of Bargarh expressing his willingness to help her financially. But at that time Gurubari couldn’t be traced as she went out of the State as a Dadan Shramik (migrant labourer) to another State.
“Think the fate of a versatile dancer opting to work as a Dadan Shramik with whom the Prime Minister of India had once danced. This is also fate of many people in Odisha who came in direct contact with many dignitaries, but remain poor forever. The case of Fanus Punji of Kalahandi is another bright example,” said Sureswar Satapathy, an elite citizen of Bargarh.
Under her guidance, a college teacher in Bargarh wrote a short play entitled ‘Lekri’ (torn up clothes ) that narrated the poverty of the versatile lady artist. The play depicts how all prizes, medals, felicitations and citations etc were meaningless for her and she needed money for survival that nobody gave her. But that drama couldn’t be staged as yet although it was completed when Gurubari lived.
“Till end of her life, a small pension from the Government and mercy of the villagers was the main source of her livelihood,” said her villagers.
In the month of Aswina, on the Mahaastami day of Durga Puja, people of Western Orissa celebrate Bhai Juntia. A total fasting is observed by young girls and women for the entire day and night to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga for amelioration and long life of their brothers. In villages young girls usually dance in small groups during this celebration which is known as Dalkhai dance. Dalkhai is a ritual-based folk dance which is accompanied by several musical instruments as well.
Dalkhai is basically a folk deity. Her abode is known as Dalkhai kuthi. The name Dalkhai is derived from the name of the deity as the dance is performed in her name. In the past, people worshipped the jungle deity to protect themselves from the wild animals and other dangers. Afterwards the deity became synonymous with Durga or Bana Durga. Usually through this dance they pray for the general happiness of the family and the village as a whole.
On the Durga Astami day young girls assemble on the bank of a river or a pond to take bath. One of them brings seven palm-full of sands and built a small platform for worship, they put four mango leaf and place burning wicks on them. This ritual is repeated seven times as seven girls bring palm-full of water and follow the same ritual. Thereafter prayers are offered to goddess Dalkhai for the well-being of their brothers. This is followed by songs and dances, where all the people – young or old – participate with equal enthusiasm. Earlier during the dance, young girls and boys join together in a question answer session.
In the afternoon, at Pantibela, all the girls assemble near the Dalkhai Kuthi with their baskets containing sand and other materials for worship. Some of them get dressed like Parvati and Iswara, while the rest of them carry umbrella, a stick and a water jug (Kalsi). In a procession they move to seven houses and come back to the Dalkhai Kuthi. Inside the Dalkhai Kuthi they perform several acts of the mythology. One of them acts as Bhima and some other act as Kubera. Bhima brings paddy from Kubera and sows it in the field. Songs and dances enacting various scenes from the mythology are essential part of Dalkhai.
Returning home the girls prepare for further rituals. They prepare leaf cups containing piece of sugarcane, yellow thread called 멽ita?, 108 pieces of duba (evergreen grass), 108 pieces of unbroken rice; along with it small branches of Amla and Dahana (a sweet smelling leaf), puffed rice and dhup are placed. Separate leaf cups are arranged for each brother.
After taking bath in the river bank they prepare platform for worship. Fruits like ladies finger, frankincense (Kunduru) etc. are placed as offerings to the goddess Dalkhai. Then they change their clothes and carry their baskets and assemble near the Dalkhai Kuthi. They collect seven clay statues of Parvati, Iswara, Ganesha, Tortoise and Bull are placed inside the Dalkhai Kuthi. The ritual starts with Dhunkel and Bharni beat of the dhol. It is often seen that a person becomes possessed by a spirit of one of the deities. The villagers ask several questions regarding the wellbeing of the village. The ritual then comes to an end.
On the ninth day, all the girls again assemble near the Dalkhai Kuthi. After collecting all the articles used for the ritual on the previous day, they move in a procession accompanied by drumming of dhol and nissan to seven houses and then to the river bank to immerse all the articles. After taking bath they return home, and the 108 dub, 108 rice and yellow thread are offered to their brothers. Till the end of the tenth day of Dasahara, they are engrossed in Dalkhai dance. The entire village plunges into an energetic mood by the intoxicating effect of the melodious song and dance.
Dalkhai is performed as a ritual, whereas dance and song remains its principal interest. The dancers stand in a semi-circular formation during the dance. One after another they sing a couplet and at the end of it they dance in a particular way by bending at the waist level and move their feet rhythmically accompanied by musical instruments.
During the song dhol is played and subsequently other musical instruments like Nishan, Tasha, Jhanj and Muhari are accompanied.
The songs are composed from couplets to sixteen lines. The singer begins the song uttering “Dalkahi Re, Dalkahi Re” (twice) and finishes the lines with another pronouncement of “Dalkahi Re”. Mostly the songs are of romantic themes. At times one can find the description of nature, seasons, gods and goddesses; sometimes satire and teasing also. The singers have to depend entirely on their memory while rendering the songs – presence of mind comes handy.
During rendering Dalkhai usually Raserkeli, Mailajada, Jaiphul are also rendered. The lyrical depiction of Rasarkeli, MaelaJada and Jaiphula may look similar with Dalkhai. However, the song and rhythm of drums has different beats and style.
Dilip Kumar Padhi VU2DPI
Following is a report from the Sambad:
BHUBANESWAR: After screening of Odia film ‘Aadim Vichar’ (The Ancient Justice) at the Indian Panorama Category of International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014) on Tuesday, audience and journalists asked Atal Bihari Panda, protagonist of the film, about his age. Panda, who is attending the IFFI for the second time in a row, gleefully replied, “It is just a number”. The 84-year-old actor, who portrayed the role of ‘Kondh Budha’ (an elderly man of Kondh tribal community) in the film, was appreciated by one and all at the biggest film festival that celebrates Indian cinema.
‘Aadim Vichar’, directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra, is the octogenarian actor’s second film, the first being ‘Sala Budha’ (The Stupid Oldman) that got the Best State Film Award – Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami Award – for 2013.
Even at this age, Panda’s exuberance was visible at last week’s State Film Awards where Panda danced on a Sambalpuri folk song to a houseful audience at the Utkal Mandap. He also bagged the Best Actor Award for playing the role of ‘Sala Budha’. “I do not let my age shadow my acting skills,” says the Sonepur-based actor. ‘Aadim Vichar’ is a sequel to Mohapatra’s ‘Sala Budha’, a Sambalpuri movie, that dealt with the plight of elderly people in villages of Western Odisha. ‘Aadim Vichar’ portrays the societal structure of Kondh community in Kandhamal. After IFFI, the film will be screened at three more national level film fests.
Panda who was a stage actor and script writer by profession, had never thought of acting in any Odia films. “I got into Sala Budha by chance. Sabyasachi Mohapatra during his youth had done a small role in one of my plays ‘Phata Mardala’, where I played the lead character. Besides, his father Kapileswar Mohapatra and I were classmates. Two years back, Sabyasachi approached me with an idea of converting some of the short stories that Kapileswar authored into a film script,” he recalls. Although the script was ready, Sabyasachi could not find any senior actor in Ollywood to play the lead role of ‘Sala Budha’. “After nearly three months, he came to me again and urged me to be the protagonist of the film. Though I was reluctant initially because of my age and lack of experience in films, Sabyasachi convinced me. I was 82 when shooting for the film started, but today I am extremely thankful to my director for giving me this opportunity. He has taught me how to face the camera,” he says. Prior to ‘Sala Budha’, he had done a 45-minute tele-film ‘Dangar Tale Dambaru Baba’ on tribal communities in Odisha for Doordarshan.
‘Aadim Vichar’, Panda says, is the most difficult role he has played so far. He has written the script, based on Kapileswar’s stories, for this film as well. “Aadim Vichar is a longer film compared to Sala Budha and was shot in the hilly terrains of Kandhamal during winter. Since, it is a much more intense movie compared to ‘Sala Budha’, a lot of research and practice went into it,” says Panda, who has acted in over 100 plays apart from writing 63 dramas and six operas, both in Odia and Koshali language.
Both Sabyasachi and Panda are making three more films based on the tribal culture of Odisha and they would begin shooting for their third venture next year. Given a choice, Panda says, he would chose art films over commercial cinema any day. “I want to die a death like Balai Banerjee did. A popular stage actor of Janata Rangamanch of Cuttack, he died while acting on the stage. I too want to breathe my last on the stage,” Panda smiles.