Folk artistes get new lease of life

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By SUNIL PATNAIK
  • Published 15.10.10
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Berhampur, Oct. 14: The state government has decided to launch a project in Ganjam district to save folk arts from dying out.

This move comes at a time when most folk artistes are gradually shifting to other professions as the art form is in a moribund state.

“We have shortlisted about 350 organisations to give a new lease of life to folk art forms such as pala, daskathia, prahallada nataka, radha krushna leela, ghudki, ram leela and bagha nacha,” said Krushna Chandra Nisank, district culture officer, Ganjam.

“We want to make various folk artistes part of schemes such as NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Shikha Abhiyan and others. These schemes would help fund their performances at villages,” said Nisank.

“The objective of this project is to unite folk artistes and save the dwindling art form. We have formed cultural forums in 22 blocks in Ganjam and at the district headquarter Chatrapur to coordinate the entire project, which was implemented in June,” Nisank added.

“A person working as part of any of the schemes would easily understand the messages told through folk arts such as pala and daskathia. In the process, the art forms that are dying out due to lack of patronage will get a fillip,” said Nisank.

Each of the cultural troupes in the 22 blocks would perform 300 days a year, making it 6,600 performances.

The troupes have been given seed money of Rs 1 lakh, out of which Rs 20,000 is for buying new musical instruments.

Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro praised the initiatives of the Ganjam administration to give a new lease of life to folk art forms and popularise various government programmes through them.

“The state government has decided to implement this project throughout Orissa. At present, there are about 5,000 artistes who make a living out of folk arts. Through this project, we would send them to various states to perform,” said Patro.

“Art can never die as it is related to social reforms and literature. But the need of the hour is to give certain art forms like folk art as much exposure as possible,” said Prof. Laxmi Narayan Rout, chairman PG council, Berhampur University and a faculty member of the history department.

“The project has given folk artistes like us a second life,” said Sisir Satpathy, a daskathia singer.