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Culture to tame vulgarity
- Classical shows to fight sleaze at Sonepur Mela in winter

A culture vs brassy war is in the offing at Sonepur Mela this November.

It would be up to you to decide whether you want to enter the dimly lit theatres where women perform raunchy dance numbers or sit back and enjoy some classical Bhojpuri numbers by artistes of repute.

After the state government decided to change the image of Sonepur Mela,primarily famous for its cattle fair, the art, culture and youth affairs department, in association with the tourism counterpart, are planning to break the dominance of popular theatres that have been an inseparable part of the Mela by introducing cultural events, which the department feels, will stand against the alleged vulgar theatres.

The cattle fair apart, the Sonepur Mela is also associated with theatres in which scantily-clad girls, brought from several parts of the country, showcase dance numbers, after dark. They try to excite the audience with their explicit moves.

The district administration of Saran and the tourism department, which organises the fair, have tried to clamp down on the theatres by monitoring their activities with the help of closed-circuit television cameras and surprise raids.

“The department is in talks with the tourism department regarding this. We do have a couple of months before the Sonepur Mela starts on November 6. We would surely monitor activities at the theatres this time,” said Vinay Bihari, the art, culture and youth affairs minister.

However, he added, the larger plan involves organising cultural programmes that would draw people from the theatres.

Both the departments are preparing a proper itinerary. There would be impressive cultural programmes on contemporary Bhojpuri music by popular artists during the month-long fair.

“There are people who still want to be a part of good cultural shows,” Vinay Bihari said.

The Sonepur Mela is organised on the banks of the river Gandak on the occasion of Kartik Purnima.