An Evening of Bangladesh
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Lily Tekseng Delhi
We got a charming glimpse of Bangladesh last evening at the India Habitat Centre. Shadhona - A Centre for Advancement of South Asian Culture, in collaboration with the Bangladesh High Commission, presented an array of performance pieces from the region. The Charya dance, extensively practised in medieval East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and in present-day Nepal, was a theatrical feast. In contrast, the Baul performers, clad in lightning-like white, brought out the quiet, yearning countenance of the multi-faceted mendicant tradition. The performance of Tagore’s devotional songs was the cohesive glue of the occasion—after all, Tagore’s indebtedness to the Baul tradition and the Brahmo Samaaj, and his impact on Bengali culture in general cannot be stressed more. A pleasant surprise came in the form of Bongshi Anurag, a dance form based on the Manipur Vaishvana dance tradition. It was a testimony to the fact that people are generally older than nation-states, and will in all likelihood outlive nations. Different in many ways from the Indian Manipuri dance, still too similar to disregard the sisterhood of both the nationally-demarcated dances, it was like harking back to a time where peoples with their cultures didn’t have another official taxonomy to deal with. To steal the presenter’s words—for the moment it is Bangladesh.
Pics: Nida Anam