| The Bihu workshop under way at the B.K.B. Auditorium on the Gauhati University campus on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
April 9: The notion that Gauhati University only offers degrees in mainstream subjects is passť. The institution is now planning to introduce certificate courses in dance forms of the Northeast, or more specifically, Bihu, Xattriya and Manipuri.
Gauhati University vice-chancellor .K. Medhi today said the university had already given the nod to introduce performing arts certificate courses and was waiting for Dispur to sanction some posts for teachers.
The courses will be run under the newly set up Institute of North East Studies, which, for the past few months, has been working to seek effective ways of implementing the courses. Today, the institute held a Bihu workshop, which, as the teachers said, was a part of their process of implementing Bihu as a certificate course.
“The three courses can be implemented as soon as Dispur sanctions the teachers’ posts. At present, if a person comes from outside the state or a foreign country to learn Bihu dance, he/she has to travel from place to place to learn the dance form. If a course is introduced, he/she will be able to learn it with ease,” said Medhi, talking to the media after inaugurating the workshop.
“The university has approved introduction of the certificate or diploma courses on Bihu, Xattriya and Manipuri dances. As these courses are new at the university level, we are trying to see how these can be included. This workshop is a part of our experiment,” said Umesh Deka, director of the institute.
Medhi said the university was also mulling to introduce a one-year diploma course on drama in association with the National School of Drama (NSD). The Institute of North East Studies had also conducted a month-long workshop on drama in association with NSD.
The daylong Bihu workshop was conducted at the university’s B.K.B. Auditorium under the guidance of Bihu guru Prasanna Gogoi and Bor Bihua Nila Bora, who enlightened the students about the different kinds of Bihu geets and various instruments like pepa, dhol and gogona used in Bihu.
Gogoi, who has travelled various countries displaying his skill in playing the pepa, told the students that there were three kinds of pepas, including jor and juria pepas, which can be played following some rules. He urged the students to be cautious while performing Bihu, taking care not to distort it.
Bor Bihua Nila Bora said the environment helped a lot while learning folk dances or songs. “It is a matter of happiness that today, Bihu is no longer confined to a certain area in the state. The entire state can provide an environment to learn Bihu,” he said.
“There are so many things that we do not know about Bihu. A workshop can help us to know about them. But if we get a course on it, it can be immensely beneficial for the students. It is a very good decision that the university is planning to introduce Bihu, Xattriya and Manipuri dances certificate courses,” said Anup Lahkar, a student.