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Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 1:15 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 1:15 AM (IST)

Revival of ancient folk art in focus

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 16

As the budget session of the Punjab Arts Council begins, the hope for several dying performing arts of Punjab gets a new push. Documenting the remaining of the folk artistes from genres of performing arts that took a hit with the passage of time, the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi will work out a revival plan through folk festivals.

Informing about the same, akademi president Kewal Dhaliwal said, “We are looking to design a proposal that ensures the revival of folk artistes through festivals which will be held at regular intervals across Punjab. A handful of artistes have been documented and also put on the revival list.”

According to a previous study undertaken by Dhaliwal himself, folk art forms, especially the performing arts, need an immediate revival. “If you consider the head count, only five or six groups of Nakkaals, an ancient folk art form of Punjab, remain along with handful other artistes who still continue the legacy of their forefathers. Even ‘Bhand’ and ‘Marasi’ communities are looking towards other options to earn livelihood due to diminishing work.”

Rajendra Singh, another theatre director, who has extensively worked for two years under a project by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs on documenting and rehabilitation of Bhand and Marasi community, feels that the financial aid from the Centre and the state government can do a lot to revive these dying arts. “Most of the artistes, who are associated with these ancient folk art forms through generations, are now migrating to other states for livelihood, or are forced to do labour jobs in the absence of any employment opportunity. There is a big number of such artistes, who are carriers of our rich cultural legacy but have been forgotten.”

The Centre had initiated two projects in collaboration with the akademi and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to document and rehabilitate folk artistes of Punjab. “But the projects were suspended midway due to lack of funding,” says Singh.


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