| Secular show: Martial arts performers rehearse before the Ram Navami procession. Picture by Srinivas
Jamshedpur, March 27: A group of 12 youngsters from Kulti in the Burdwan district are busy perfecting their martial art, which will find an expression tomorrow during the Ram Navami processions in the steel city.
This all-Muslim group comprising Irfan, Sazzaq, Shakeel, Pervez, Mubarak, Feroze, Yusuf, Tony, Taz, Hussain, Nazir and Guddu, is out on a mission. They want to transcend all communal feelings to enthusiastically participate in the Hindu festival.
This eight-year-old group that calls itself the “Lajawab Naujawan Club” is on its first visit to the steel city. This team is a fair mix of contract workers, tailors and even brick-makers.
Last year, the group members put up an impressive performance in Dhanbad, which marked their debut at a Hindu festival. “We perform at festive occasions on invitation,” said an enthusiastic Md Sazzaq, the team leader of this minority group, which performs during three specific festivals including Muharram, Chaliswaan and Ram Navami on invitation. While the first two are celebrated with a lot of vigour in the Muslim community, the latter is celebrated in a major way among Hindus.
The group specialises in games involving the lance, sword and also a few more sharp instruments though “practise sessions happen only a month in advance,” said a confident Irfan, the veteran performer in this talented group.
The team leader insists that they play in small groups only, as the individuals involved share the rapport to use the dangerous weapons in combination. “All of us have mostly inherited this art from our forefathers. We look forward to appreciation from people at large,” said a humble Md Pervez, who feels that risks are many but they get inspiration when everybody admires their art.
While the team is busy practising their lethal art, the man responsible for starting this wonderful movement of sorts watches from a distance.
“It feels great to know that they take such an interest in putting up shows during this festival,” stated Banna Singh Janghel, the president of Lallan Akhara, the group under whose banner the artistes would perform. Janghel said knowledge about this team first poured in from an acquaintance in the Burdwan district, who had watched them perform at a local event. He admitted this has been possible only because of a liberal society today.