Agartala, Jan 13, 2021, ENEWSTIME Desk
# Jaydip Chakrabarti
Mini r Maa’r Ghorer Pichone Nil Maricher Gach, Hasa ni go Mini r Maa – a group of boys and girls, in a jovial mood, were rhyming the verse with clapping and flapping sitting in a harvested crop land.
Some non-Bengali tourists were passing by – they stopped their car and de-boarded after hearing the verse. Even as they were ignorant to the meaning of the verse, the sound of the verse with a perfect pastoral touch seemed to have enthralled them. The children were reciting more such verses.
“Wow, I do not know what these do mean – but somehow I can connect myself with the rhymes”, one of the tourists said in Hindi.
All these were happening at Alpona Gram in Lankamura – a few kilo meters away from Agartala city area. Lankamura got a huge aesthetic transformation last year after Sanskar Bharati along with few other Government agencies started working with local villagers to promote Alpona.
Now, the Alpona Gram is ready to observe Burir Ghar and Poush Parvan with a series of exquisite folk theme based dramas, dances songs, kirtan and lots of homemade pitha-puli.
“This year we are working to revive the forgotten cultural traditions linked with Poush Sankranti. In Lankamura, giving a loot (tossing up coconuts etc in the air which are to be grabbed by devotees and revelers) is a big occasion.
This year, a Kadma of weight more than 3 kg will be given in a loot. If I am not wrong, this Kadma is the biggest one in the State. Only a strong person will be able to grab it and hold it after the loot. If it falls on the ground, the Kadma will break into pieces”, said secretary of Sanskar Bharati Suman Bhattacharjee.
Bhattacharjee along with Subal Biswas, Prashanta Sinha, Suman Majumder and Biplabjit Chakraborty happily explained different folk art forms that the villagers, especially children and womenfolk had learned during last three weeks.
“Eminent artists are volunteering and imparting training. The objective is revival of our lost culture and make Gen-next interested about folk arts instead of remaining glued to mobile games or TV”, Sinha said.
Meanwhile, Biplabjit Chakraborty, in chaste Agartala ascent recited - Mini r Maa’r Ghorer (which when translated means: there is a blue chilly plant behind the house of Mini’s mother. O, mini’s mother, is it true).
This verse children and youths of Agartala used to recite during Alonti and Poush Sankranti, long ago. The song indicated a strong community bonding between the elders and younger people. Chakraborty continued, with growing consumerism and rapid urbanization – the practice of participation of all in a ‘Parvan’ has almost vanished. And, elders are the worst victim as they have been pushed into loneliness.
“At present, Mini r Maa is missing in our society, we are trying to bring her back. Our children are smart enough but without having a link with roots, no one can sustain and folk arts are our roots”, Bipabjit babu explained.
As part of Poush Parvan celebration, this year, participation of children in folk art activities has re-ignited memories of my childhood, said a sexagenarian Shanti Kapali – a skilled alpona artist and expert in several other rural art forms. Like Shanti, other womenfolk and children are also participating with enthusiasm.
Entire area of Kapali Para is now boiling in excitement. It’s no longer an obscure hamlet but abuzz with arrival of tourists almost every day.
“Locals are co-operating with us and tourists. Tourists can interact with locals. Here nothing is formal –everything is natural and genuine. A simple talk with any elderly person will remind you about your grandparents”, Suman Bhattacharjee claimed and the Hindi-speaking tourist group agreed.
# Jaydip Chakrabarti may be contacted at email@example.com