Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Puri Rath Yatra

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rath Yatra

Mains level : NA

Lakhs of devotees thronged the coastal town of Puri town to witness the annual Rath Yatra with three decorated chariots of sibling deities Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra towed in front of the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple.

About Jagannath Rath Yatra

  • Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannatha is celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Orissa, on the east coast of India.
  • It involves a public procession with a chariot with deities Jagannath (Vishnu avatar), BalaBhadra (his brother), Subhadra (his sister) and Sudarshana Chakra (his weapon) on a ratha, a wooden deula-shaped chariot.
  • The huge, colourfully decorated chariots, are drawn by hundreds and thousands of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha temple, some two miles away to the North.
  • It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year.

Back2Basics: Puri Temple Architecture

  • Jagannath Temple is a very big temple and covers an area of 37000m2. The height of the outer wall is 6.1m.
  • It is surrounded by a high fortified wall 6.1 m high is known as Meghanada Pacheri.
  • The main portion of the temple is also surrounded by a wall known as Kurma Bheda.
  • The temple is built in Rekha Deula style and has four distinct sectional structures, namely –
  1. Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls)
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch)
  3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall)

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of-

(a) Chalukya (b) Chandela (c) Rashtrakuta (d) Vijayanagara

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Sao Joao Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sao Joao Festival

Mains level : Not Much

As in every monsoon, Catholics in Goa will celebrate Sao Joao, the feast of St John the Baptist.

Note: The name typically sounds like a North-Eastern festival, but it is not.

What is Sao Joao and where is it celebrated in Goa?

  • In Goa, Catholics celebrate all the feasts of the Roman Catholic Church, which include the feast of St John the Baptist on June 24.
  • John the Baptist is the person who he had baptised Jesus Christ on the river Jordan.
  • Traditionally, there are spirited Sao Joao festivities in the villages of Cortalim in South Goa and Harmal, Baga, Siolim and Terekhol in North Goa.
  • However, over the years, pool parties and private Sao Joao parties in Goa have been a “complete package of merriment and joy” for tourists.

Course of celebration

  • The celebrations will include revellers sporting crowns made of fruits, flowers and leaves, and the major draw of the feast is the water bodies – wells, ponds, fountains, rivers – in which the revellers take the “leap of joy”.
  • Enjoyed by children and adults alike, the festival also includes playing the traditional gumott (percussion instrument), a boat festival, servings of feni, and a place of pride for new sons-in-law.

What does jumping into water bodies symbolise?

  • The youngsters in Goa celebrate this occasion with revelry and perform daredevil feats, by jumping into over flowing wells or rivulets.
  • The boys are found merrily jumping into the water to commemorate the leap of joy, which St John is said to have taken in the womb of his mother St Elizabeth when virgin Mary visited her.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Mela Kheerbhawani

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mela Kheerbhawani

Mains level : NA

Kashmiri Hindus, locally known as Pandits, will celebrate the Zyestha Ashtami at the Mata Kheerbhawani temple at Tulmulla in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.

Kheerbhawani Temple

  • The temple is dedicated to the goddess Ragnya Devi.
  • The festival, known as Mela Kheerbhawani, is the largest gathering of Hindus in Kashmir after the annual Amarnath Yatra.
  • Situated 30 km from Srinagar city, it is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Kashmiri Hindus.
  • The temple gets its name from kheer, or milk and rice pudding that pilgrims pour into the spring inside the temple complex as an offering to the goddess.
  • Hundreds of local Muslims, too, traditionally join the celebrations.

Legend of the festival

  • Legend has it that the water of the temple’s spring changes colour from white to red and black.
  • The colour of the water is said to predict the impending future.
  • If it changes to black, it is seen as inauspicious or an impending disaster.
  • Kashmiri Pandits say that the water had turned black before they were forced to flee Kashmir during the militancy of 1990.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

 

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Traditions- Communities

  1. Chaliha Sahib Festival- Sindhis
  2. Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra- Gonds
  3. Wari-Warkari- Santhals

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 3

(d) None of the above

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Karaga Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Karaga Festival

Mains level : NA

The centuries-old Karaga (temple fair) festival was recently held at the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Bengaluru.

Karaga Festival

  • It is celebrated annually in the Chaitra month (March/April) according to the Hindu calendar.
  • The festival has found its roots in the epic Mahabharata.
  • It honours Draupadi as the ideal woman and Goddess Shakti.
  • The word ‘Karaga’ translates to an earthen pot, supporting a floral pyramid and an idol of Goddess.
  • The Karaga is carried on the head of the bearer without touching it.
  • The carrier wears a woman’s attire with bangles, mangal-sutra, and vermillion on his forehead.

Cultural significance of Karaga

  • The Karaga procession makes a customary halt at Astana e-Hazrath Tawakkal Mastan Shah Saharwardi Dargah to pay obeisance to Tawakkal Mastan.
  • The Dargah, a symbol of syncretic Sufism, has been taken care by the Muzavvar family for several generations.
  • According to them, the history of the Dargah goes back to at least 300 years when Tawakkal Mastan, who came to Bengaluru with his horses looking for business opportunities, was adored as a saint.
  • Hyder Ali, who was the ruler then, was a patron of Mastak for his good deeds.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Madhavpur Mela

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Madhavpur Mela

Mains level : Not Much

The Madhavpur Mela was recently inaugurated by the President of India.

In the entire country, there is no other fair which the President and host of Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of a number of states visit.

What is the Madhavpur Mela?

  • The Mela is a religio-cultural fair taking place every year in Madhavpur, a village on the Porbandar coast, also known as Madhavpur Ghed.
  • The village has temples of Madhavraiji, or Lord Krishna, and his consort Rukmini, believed to have been built in the 15th century.
  • It is also known for its sandy sea beach, the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea, a sea turtle hatchery and the Osho Ashram
  • The fair begins on Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birth anniversary falling on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar, and culminates on Tryodashi, the 13th day of the month.

Mythology behind the fair

  • The fair celebrates the marriage of Lord Krishna with Rukmini around 4,000 years ago, as per Hindu mythology.
  • The fair begins on Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birth anniversary falling on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar, and culminates on Tryodashi, the 13th day of the month.
  • According to mythology, Lord Krishna had established his kingdom in Dwarka near Porbandar.
  • Rukmini, daughter of King Bhimak of the present-day Arunachal Pradesh, wanted to marry Krishna, while her brother wanted to marry her off to Shishupal, Krishna’s cousin.
  • Therefore, Krishna abducted Rukmini, brought her to Gujarat and tied the knot with her at Madhavpur village.
  • Today, to mark the wedding, marriage rituals go on for five days.
  • They culminate with the idols of Lord Krishna and Rukmini being taken out in a procession through Madhavpur for ‘samaiya’, a ritual to welcome the bridegroom back home with his bride.

Significance of the fair

  • The President observed that fairs and festivals have bonded the people of India for ages and that Madhavpur Mela also integrates Gujarat to the Northeast of India.
  • This fair reflects that, despite our languages, dialects and lifestyles being different, Indians, since time immemorial, have been one culturally.

Do you know?

There is one such festival called ‘Pushkaram’ which is celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. Devotees from Tamil Nadu perform rituals at the banks of Brahmaputra River.

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Artform in news: Yakshagana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Yakshagana

Mains level : Not Much

Many students from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Rajasthan are enrolling for training of Yakshagana theatre.

What is Yakshagana?

  • Yakshagana is a traditional theater, developed in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga and western parts of Chikmagalur districts, in the state of Karnataka and in Kasaragod district in Kerala.
  • It emerged in the Vijayanagara Empire and was performed by Jakkula Varu.
  • It combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form.
  • Towards the south from Dakshina Kannada to Kasaragod of Tulu Nadu region, the form of Yakshagana is called as ‘Thenku thittu’ and towards north from Udupi up to Uttara Kannada it’s called as ‘Badaga Thittu‘.
  • It is sometimes simply called “Aata” or āṭa (meaning “the play”). Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn.
  • Its stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other epics from both Hindu and Jain and other ancient Indic traditions.

 

Try this question from CSP 2017:

Q.With reference to Manipuri Sankirtana, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a song and dance performance.
  2. Cymbals are the only musical instruments used in the performance.
  3. It is performed to narrate the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3.

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1 only

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Festivals in news: Gudi Padwa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hindu new year , Gudi Padwa

Mains level : NA

The President of India has sent his greetings to fellow citizens on the eve of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba.

Gudi Padwa

  • Gudi Padwa is a spring-time festival that marks the traditional New Year for Marathi and Konkani Hindus, but is also celebrated by other Hindus as well.
  • It is celebrated in and around Maharashtra, Goa, and the union territory of Damaon on the first day of the Chaitra month, to mark the beginning of the New Year according to the luni-solar method of the Hindu calendar.
  • Padava or paadvo comes from the Sanskrit word pratipada, which is the first day of a lunar fortnight.
  • The spring festival is observed with colourful floor decorations called rangoli, a special Gudhi dvaja (flag garlanded with flowers, mango and neem leaves, topped with upturned silver or copper vessels), street processions, dancing& festive foods.

Significance

  • Gudhi Padva signifies the arrival of spring and to the reaping of Rabi crops.
  • The festival is linked to the mythical day on which Hindu god Brahma created time and universe.
  • To some, it commemorates the coronation of Rama in Ayodhya after his victory over evil Ravana, or alternatively the start of Shalivahan calendar after he defeated the Huns invasion in the 1st century.

State-wide celebrations

  • Bihu among the Assamese of Assam.
  • Cheti Chand among the Sindhi people
  • Navreh among the Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Pahela Baishakh among the Bengalis in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
  • Puthandu among the Tamils in Tamil Nadu.
  • Samvatsar Padvo among Hindu Konkanis of Goa and Konkani diaspora in Kerala
  • Vaisakhi or Baisakhi among the Punjabis in Punjab.
  • Vishu or among the Malayalis in Kerala.
  • Ugadi among the south-Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba in Manipur

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Art-form in news: Santhali Sohrai Murals

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sohrai Murals

Mains level : NA

Santhali communities of Odisha and Jharkhand are changing their ways of painting traditional Sohrai murals to modernity.

What is Sohrai?

  • Sohrai is a harvest festival of the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
  • It also called cattle festival. It is celebrated after harvest and coincide with festival of Diwali.

What are Sohrai Murals?

  • Sohrai Mural is an indigenous art form is practised by the women of Santhal Community.
  • Ritualistic art is done on mud walls to welcome the harvest and to celebrate the cattle.
  • The women clean their houses and decorate their walls with murals of Sohrai arts.
  • This art form has continued since 10,000-4,000 BC. It was prevalent mostly in caves, but shifted to houses with mud walls.

Features of this art

  • This Sohrai art form can be monochromatic or colorful.
  • The people coat the wall with a layer of white mud, and while the layer is still wet, they draw with their fingertips on it.
  • Their designs range from flowers and fruits to various other nature-inspired designs.
  • The cow dung that was earlier used to cake the walls of the house is used to add colour.
  • The dark outline is visible due to the previously applied contrasting white mud coat.
  • The artists are spontaneous in their drawing. The designs are usually drawn from the artist’s memory.
  • The personal experience of the artist and their interaction with nature are the biggest influence.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

What is Agni Kandakarnan Theyyam?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Theyyam ritual dance

Mains level : NA

Ritual dance Agni Kandakarnan Theyyam performing at the Kaliyattam festival has begun in Kannur, Kerala.

What is Theyyam?

  • Theyyam is a popular thousand-year-old ritual form of dance worship in Kerala and Karnataka, India.
  • The people of these districts consider Theyyam itself as a channel to a god and they thus seek blessings from Theyyam.
  • There are about 456 types of Theyyam.
  • Theyyam is performed by males, except the Devakoothu theyyam; the Devakoothu is the only Theyyam ritual performed by women.
  • It is performed only in the Thekkumbad Kulom temple.

Major types of performances

  • Vishnumoorthi: It is the most popular Vaishnava Theyyam. This theyyam narrates and performs the story of Hiranyakashipu’s death by the Lord Vishnu in his avatar of Narasimham.
  • Sree Muthappan Theyyam: It consists of two divine figures is considered as the personification of two divine figures— the Thiruvappana or Valiya Muttapan (Vishnu) and the Vellatom or Cheriya Muttapan (Shiva).
  • Padikutti Amma: It is believed to be the mother of Muthapan. The Padikutti Amma Theyyam is performed in the Palaprath Temple in Kodallur near Parassini Kadavu in the Meenam (a Malayalam month)

Thee

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

What is Perini Dance?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Perini Dance

Mains level : NA

A Perini dance performance by artistes in Hyderabad has left the audience awestruck.

Perini Dance

  • Perini Sivathandavam is an ancient dance form, from Telangana, which has been revived in recent times.
  • It originated and prospered in Telangana, during the Kakatiya dynasty.
  • It is performed in honour of Lord Siva, the hindu god of destruction and it is believed that in ancient times this was performed before the soldiers set to war.
  • One can find evidence of this dance in the sculptures near Garbha Gudi (Sanctum Sanctorum) of the Ramappa Temple at Warangal.

Performance details

  • The Perini siva Thandavam is a dance form usually performed by males.
  • It is called ‘Dance of Warriors’. Warriors before leaving to the battlefield enact this dance before the idol of Lord Śiva (Siva).
  • The dance form, Perini, reached its pinnacle during the rule of the ‘Kakatiyas’ who established their dynasty at Warangal and ruled for almost two centuries.
  • It is believed that this dance form invokes ‘Prerana’ (inspiration) and is dedicated to supreme dancer, Lord Siva.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Which one of the following was a very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom? (CSP 2017)

(a) Kakinada

(b) Motupalli

(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)

(d) Nelluru

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Kodiyal Theru Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kodiyal Theru

Mains level : NA

The annual Kodiyal Theru car (chariot) festival has begun in Mangalore, Karnataka.

Kodiyal Theru

  • It falls in late January or early February in the Hindu month of Magha.
  • It begins on Tritiya or the third day of the bright moon and ends on the seventh to be followed by Holi (Okuli) after the festival.
  • For these six days, the Car Festival rules in the Car Street in front of the Venkatramana Temple in Mangalore.
  • The Festival begins with the Dwajarohana or hoisting of the ‘flag’ – actually a framed picture of Garuda.
  • This is done ceremoniously on the first day of the festival amidst the clanging of bells and the reverberation of drumbeats.
  • The Garuda stays aloft for the rest of the festival until he is again lowered in an equally ceremonial manner on the day of the Holi and this is the concluding event of the festival.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

What is Beating Retreat Ceremony?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Beating Retreat Ceremony

Mains level : Important national festivals and their significance

There are 26 tunes that will be played at Beating Retreat this year on January 29 skipping the “Abide with Me” tune.

What is the Beating Retreat function?

  • ‘Beating Retreat’ marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.
  • The military tradition began in 17th century England, when King James II ordered his troops to beat drums, lower flags and organise a parade to announce the end of a day of combat.
  • The ceremony was then called ‘watch setting’ and took place at sunset after firing a single round from the evening gun.
  • The ceremony is currently held by Armed Forces in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India, among others.

How did it begin in India?

  • Beating the Retreat’ has emerged as an event of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded.
  • The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.
  • Section D (Ceremonials) at the Ministry of Defence conducts the event.
  • The ceremony consists of musical performances by the bands, who each year play Indian and western tunes.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

UNESCO tag sought for Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Root Bridges

Mains level : NA

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has underlined some green rules for the living root bridges of Meghalaya to get the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag.

Living Root Bridges

  • A living root bridge is a type of simple suspension bridge formed of living plant roots by tree shaping.
  • They are common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. Such a bridge is locally called jingkieng jri.
  • They are handmade from the aerial roots of rubber fig trees (Ficus elastic) by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau.
  • Most of the bridges grow on steep slopes of subtropical moist broadleaf forest between 50m and 1150m above sea level.

Why is it so unique?

  • As long as the tree from which it is formed remains healthy, the roots in the bridge can naturally grow thick and strengthen.
  • New roots can grow throughout the tree’s life and must be pruned or manipulated to strengthen the bridge.
  • Once mature some bridges can have as many as 50 or more people crossing, and have a lifespan of up to 150 years.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Telangana’s Tribal Fair: Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

Mains level : Not Much

Medaram, a tiny village in Telangana’s tribal heartland of Mulugu district, is getting ready to host the Sammakka-Sarakka jatara, billed as the country’s biggest tribal fair.

Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

  • The mega four-day jatara, scheduled to begin on February 16 in Medaram. It takes place once in two years.
  • It is perhaps the only tribal fair devoted to pay tribute to tribal warriors who made supreme sacrifices defending the rights of aboriginal tribal people.
  • It symbolises the traditions and heritage of the Koya tribal people.
  • The sacred site in Medaram and its surrounding Jampanna vagu, named after tribal martyr Jampanna, son of Sammakka, comes alive with lakhs of devotees during the four-day jatara.

Why do tribals come to Medaram?

  • This festival commemorates a tribal revolt led by Sammakka and Saralamma, a mother-daughter duo, against levy of taxes on tribal people during drought conditions by the then Kakatiya rulers in the 12th century.
  • Tribals (and others) flock to Medaram during the jatara not just from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but also from as far as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
  • Sammakka and Saralamma are revered by devotees as tribal goddesses, and devotees make offerings to propitiate them to bestow health and wealth.
  • All the rituals at the jatara site are held in tune with tribal traditions under the aegis of tribal priests.

Features of the celebrations

  • One of the striking features of the tribal fair is the offering of jaggery to the tribal goddess at the altars (bamboo poles).
  • It encompasses common features of tribal fairs – die-hard devotees going into a trance, the sacrifice of fowls and goats, besides pulsating traditional drum beats accompanying folk songs.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

AP govt bans Chintamani Padya Natakam: A noted Telugu folk play

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chintamani Padya Natakam

Mains level : Not Much

The Andhra Pradesh government has brought the curtains down on the popular Telugu play ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’, which has enthralled people for almost 100 years.

Chintamani Padya Natakam

  • It is a stage play penned by social reformer, writer and poet Kallakuri Narayana Rao about 100 years ago.
  • In the play, the writer explains how people neglect their families by falling prey to certain social evils.
  • It was aimed to create awareness on the Devadasi system and how the flesh trade was ruining many families at that particular period.
  • Subbisetty, Chintamani, Bilvamangaludu, Bhavani Shankaram, and Srihari are some of the characters in the play.

Its performance

  • The play is named after the main character, Chintamani, a woman born into a family involved in the flesh trade.
  • The play focuses on how she attained salvation after repentance.
  • Subbi Shetty, a character in the play, loses his wealth to Chintamani and his character is utilised in a way that engages the audience.
  • Chintamani play is popular across the state. It has been performed at thousands of places.
  • The play continues to engage the audience even today and has become a must stage play in villages during Dasara celebrations.

Why it got banned?

  • Began as a social sermon, this play has been increasingly going vulgar.
  • Subbi Shetty, who resembles a person of a transgender community, is used to portray the social group in a bad way.
  • Obscene dialogues are added to the play in the name of creativity.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

How Republic Day tableaux are designed and selected

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Republic Day celebration

Mains level : Not Much

Recently, West Bengal’s tableau for the Republic Day parade was rejected without assigning any reasons or justifications.

Who manages the R-Day Parade?

  • The Defence Ministry is the responsible authority for the Republic Day parade and the celebrations.
  • Around September, it invites all the states, the UTs, Central Government departments, and a few constitutional authorities to participate in the parade through tableaux.

Managing Tableaux

  • The Defence Ministry shares the basic guidelines about what all the tableaux can or should include.
  • The tableaux of two different states/ UTs cannot be too similar, as the tableaux, together, should showcase the diversity of the country.
  • The tableaux cannot have any writing or use of logos, except for the name of the state/ UT/ department, which should be written in Hindi on the front, English on the back, and a regional language on the sides.
  • The Ministry also asks the participants to use eco-friendly material for the tableaux, and avoid the use of plastic or plastic-based products.

How are the tableaux selected?

  • The selection process is elaborate and time-consuming.
  • The Defence Ministry constitutes an expert committee of distinguished persons from fields like art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc.

Process of selection

(1) Submission of sketches

  • First, the submitted sketches or designs of the proposals are scrutinised by this committee, which can make suggestions for any modifications in the sketch or design.
  • The sketch should be simple, colourful, easy to comprehend and should avoid unnecessary detail.
  • It should be self-explanatory, and should not need any written elaboration.

(2) Music and Visuals

  • If there is a traditional dance involved with the tableau, it should be a folk dance, and the costumes and musical instruments should be traditional and authentic.
  • The proposal should include a video clipping of the dance.

(3) 3D Models

  • Once approved, the next stage is for the participants to come up with three-dimensional models for their proposals.
  • These are again examined by the expert committee for final selection, taking in view several criteria.
  • In making the final selection the committee looks at a combination of factors, looking at the visual appeal, impact on the masses, idea/ theme of the tableaux, degree of detail involved.

Do they have to be of a particular size?

The Defence Ministry provides each participant with one tractor and one trailer, and the tableau should fit on that.

  • The ministry prohibits use of any additional tractor or trailer, or even any other vehicle to be part of it.
  • However, the participant can replace their ministry-provided tractor or trailer with other vehicles, but the total number should not be more than two vehicles.
  • The tractor has to be camouflaged in harmony with the tableau’s theme, and the ministry stipulates a distance of around six feet between the tractor and the trailer for turning and manoeuvering.
  • The dimensions of the trailer on which the tableau will be placed is 24 feet, 8 inches long; eight feet wide; four feet two inches high; with a load-bearing capacity of 10 tonnes.
  • The tableaux should not be more than 45 feet long, 14 feet wide and 16 feet high from the ground.

(Republic Day celebrations from this year will start on January 23 instead of January 24 to include the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.)

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Art-form in news: Kathak

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kathak

Mains level : NA

Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj has recently passed away.

About Kathak

  • Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance.
  • The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the traveling bards in of ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers.
  • The term Kathak is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means “story”, and Kathakar which means “the one who tells a story”, or “to do with stories”.
  • Wandering Kathakars communicated stories from the great epics and ancient mythology through dance, songs and music.

Its origin

  • Kathak dancers tell various stories through their hand movements and extensive footwork, their body movements and flexibility but most importantly through their facial expressions.
  • It evolved during the Bhakti movement, particularly by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, as well as independently in the courts of north Indian kingdoms.
  • Kathak is unique in having both Hindu and Muslim gharanas and cultural elements of these gharanas.
  • Kathak performances include Urdu Ghazals and commonly used instruments brought during the Mughal period.

Major gharanas

  • Kathak is found in three distinct forms, called “gharanas”, named after the cities where the Kathak dance tradition evolved – Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow.
  • While the Jaipur gharana focuses more on the foot movements, the Banaras and Lucknow gharanas focus more on facial expressions and graceful hand movements.

Performance details

  • It involves both Nritta (pure dance) and Nritya (expressive dance).
  • Stylistically, the Kathak dance form emphasizes rhythmic foot movements, adorned with small bells (Ghungroo) and the movement harmonized to the music.
  • The legs and torso are generally straight, and the story is told through a developed vocabulary based on the gestures of arms and upper body movement, facial expressions, neck movements, eyes and eyebrow movement, stage movements, bends and turns.
  • The main focus of the dance becomes the eyes and the foot movements.
  • The eyes work as a medium of communication of the story the dancer is trying to communicate. With the eyebrows the dancer gives various facial expressions.
  • A Kathak performance can be solo, duo or team. In a technical performance, the speed and energy the dancers exchange with the audience increases in multiples, that is the tempo doubles or quadruples.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Harvest Festivals in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Makar Sankranti

Mains level : NA

The President has greeted the people of India on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and Pongal festivals.

Makar Sankranti

  • Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan or Maghi or simply Sankranti is considered as the transition day of Sun into the Capricorn.
  • Now the sun moves northwards in the Hindu calendar.
  • Dedicated to the deity Surya, many native festivals are organized all over India.
  • It mostly falls at the end of Kharif harvests.

Statewise festivals celebration

  • Pongal: In South India and particularly in Tamil Nadu, it’s the festival of Pongal which is being celebrated over 4 days at harvest time.
  • Lohri: It is celebrated in North India particularly in Punjab as a traditional winter folk festival or as a popular harvest festival of farmers.
  • Bhogi: In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated as a four day festival with a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels, and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful.
  • Magha Bihu: In Assam and many parts of the North East, the festival of Magha Bihu is celebrated. It sees the first harvest of the season being offered to the gods along with prayers for peace and prosperity.
  • Uttarayan: Gujarat celebrates it in the form of the convivial kite festival of Uttarayan.
  • Saaji: In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sankranti, start of the new month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.

Try this question from our AWE initiative:

Do we have cultural pockets of small India all over the nation? Elaborate with examples. (15 Marks)

 

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

‘Chillai Kalan’ begins in Kashmir

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chillai Kalan

Mains level : Not Much

Kashmir is in a deep freeze as the 40-day harshest spell of winter, locally called ‘chillai kalan’ has started with the minimum temperature already sub-zero in the entire Valley.

Chillai Kalan

  • Chillai Kalan is the coldest 40-day period of harsh winter of winter in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
  • It is traditionally defined as a seasonal period of harsh winter accompanied by a change in increase in both frequency and quantity of precipitation usually snow.
  • It begins from December 21 and ends on January 31 next year.
  • It is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) that occurs between January 31 and February 19 and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).
  • According to Persian tradition, the night of 21st December is celebrated as Shab-e Yalda-“Night of Birth”, or Shab-e Chelleh “Night of Forty”.

Its’ celebration

  • In the Persian tradition, the night of December 21, the longest of the year, is celebrated as Shab-e-Yalda (night of birth) or Shab-e-Chelleh.
  • Dozens of netizens from Kashmir named it the ‘Pheran Day’, after the long woollen gown worn during the winters in Kashmir.
  • Use of a traditional firing pot called Kangri increases.
  • Tap water pipelines partially freeze during this period. The Dal Lake also freezes.
  • The famous tourist resort of Gulmarg receives heavy snow which attracts skier’s from every part of the world.

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Langa-Manganiyar Folk Music

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Langa-Manganiyar

Mains level : NA

Considered the repository of the Thar region’s rich history and traditional knowledge, the ballads, folklore and songs of the Langa-Manganiyar artistes are being preserved through an initiative for documentation and digitisation.

Who are the Langa-Manganiyar?

  • The Langas and Manganiyars are hereditary communities of Muslim musicians residing mostly in western Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer and Barmer districts and in Pakistan’s Tharparkar and Sanghar districts in Sindh.
  • The music of the two marginalised communities, who were supported by wealthy landlords and merchants before Independence, forms a vital part of Thar desert’s cultural landscape.
  • The performances are in multiple languages and dialects including Marwari, Sindhi, Saraiki, Dhatti and Thareli.
  • The romantic tales revolving around legendary lovers such as Umar-Marvi, Heer-Ranjha, Sohni-Mahiwal, Moomal-Rana and Sorath-Rao Khangar have traditionally captivated audiences.

Instruments used

  • The Langa’s main traditional instrument is the sindhi sarangi; Manganiyar’s is the kamaicha.
  • Both are bowed stringed instruments with skin membrane sounding boards and many sympathetic strings.
  • Both Langas and Manganiyars sing and play the dholak (double-headed barrel drum), the kartal(wooded clappers), the morchan (jaws harp), and the ubiquitous harmonium.

Try answering this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Tradition: State

  1. Chapchar Kut: festival Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad: Manipur
  3. Thang Ta dance: Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 3 only

(d) 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here.
2
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Nuakhai

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nuakhai

Mains level : Not Much

In Odisha, Nuakhai, an important agrarian festival in the State is being celebrated today.

Nuakhai

  • Nuakhai or is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha and Southern Chhattisgarh in India.
  • It is observed to welcome the new rice of the season.
  • As per the customary practice, people offer the new grains of crops to the deities before their own consumption.
  • According to the calendar it is observed on Panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada or Bhadraba (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
  • This is the most important social festival of Western Odisha and adjoining areas of Simdega in Jharkhand, where the culture of Western Odisha is much predominant.
  • It is also a festival of social cohesion as all the members of the family come together to celebrate Nuakhai.

Try this PYQ:

Consider the following pairs:

Tradition                                    State

  1. Chapchar Kut Festival   —  Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad —  Manipur
  3. Thang-Ta Dance           —   Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 1 and 2

(d) 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here.
2
Please leave a feedback on thisx

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Saroop of the Sikh Holy Book

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Mains level : Not Much

A union minister has received one of the Saroops of the holy Guru Granth Sahib flown in from Afghanistan.

What is Saroop?

  • Saroop is a physical copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also called Bir in Punjabi.
  • Every Bir has 1,430 pages, which are referred to as Ang. The verses on every page remain the same.
  • The Sikhs consider the Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib a living guru and treat it with utmost respect.
  • They believe that all the 10 Gurus were the same spirit in different bodies, and the Guru Granth Sahib is their eternal physical and spiritual form.

Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

  • It was the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev, who compiled the first Bir of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1604, and installed it at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
  • Later, the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, added verses penned by the ninth master, his father Guru Tegh Bahadur, and compiled the Bir for the second and last time.
  • It was in 1708 that Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib the living Guru of the Sikhs.
  • Guru Granth Sahib is a compendium of hymns written by six Sikh gurus,15 saints, including Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Ravidas, Sheikh Farid and Bhagat Namdev, 11 Bhatts (balladeers) and four Sikhs.
  • The verses are composed in 31 ragas.

What does the act of carrying the saroop on one’s head signify?

  • The installation and transportation of Guru Granth Sahib is governed by a strict code of conduct called rehat maryada.
  • As a mark of respect, the Bir of the Guru Granth Sahib is carried on the head, and the person walks barefoot.
  • Whenever a devout sees the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib passing by, s/he removes her shoes and bows.
  • A ceremonial whisk is waved high over the Guru Granth Sahib either on the move or while reading from it.
  • Gurdwaras have a separate resting place for the Saroop, called ‘Sukh Asan Sthan’ or ‘Sachkhand’ where the Guru rests at night.
  • This takes place at the end of the day when the holy book is ceremoniously shut and rested. In the morning, the saroop is again installed in a ceremony called ‘prakash’.
  • Many tourists specially come to watch the prakash and sukha asan ceremony of the Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple.

Where are copies of the Guru Granth Sahib published?

  • There was a tradition among Punjabis, both Sikhs and Hindus, to copy the Guru Granth Sahib by hand and produce multiple copies.
  • The Udasi and Nirmla sects also played a role in making handwritten copies of the Birs until the British introduced the printing press.
  • Nowadays, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has the sole rights to publish the Birs of the Guru Granth Sahib, and this is done at Amritsar.

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Try answering this PYQ:

Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

 

Post your answers here:
1
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Harela Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Harela Festival

Mains level : Paper 1- Festivals in India

Villagers across Uttarakhand celebrated Harela, a festival of greenery, peace, prosperity and environmental conservation.

Harela Festival

  • Harela means ‘day of green’ and is celebrated in the month of Shravan (the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar) to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
  • People across Uttarakhand, especially the Kumaun region, associate greenery with prosperity.
  • The seeds of five to seven types of crops —  maize, til (sesame), urad (black gram), mustard, oats —  are sown in donas (bowl made of leaves) or ringalare (hill bamboo baskets) nine days before the festival.
  • They are harvested on the ninth day and distributed to neighbours, friends and relatives.
  • The flourish of the crops symbolizes prosperity in the year ahead.
  • People make clay statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, known as Dikare, and worship them a day before the festival.
  • Harela is also linked to the Barahnaza system (12 types of crops), a crop diversification technique followed in the region.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following pairs:
Tradition: State
1. Chapchar Kut: festival Mizoram
2. Khongjom Parba ballad: Manipur
3. Thang Ta dance: Sikkim
Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Appointments to the Kalakshetra Foundation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalashetra, Bharatanatyam

Mains level : Classical dances of India

The Central government has appointed 12 eminent artists and musicians to the board of the prestigious institution.

Kalakshetra Foundation

  • It is an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
  • Based in Chennai, India, the academy was founded in January 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale and her husband George Arundale.
  • Under Arundale’s guidance, the institution achieved national and international recognition for its unique style and perfectionism.
  • In January 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognized the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance.”

Who was Rukmini Devi Arundale?

  • Devi (1904 –1986) was an Indian theosophist, dancer, and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and an activist for animal welfare.
  • She was the first woman in Indian history to be nominated a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The most important revivalist of Bharatanatyam from its original ‘sadhir’ style prevalent amongst the temple dancers, the Devadasis, she also worked for the re-establishment of traditional Indian arts and crafts.
  • She espoused the cause of Bharata Natyam which was considered a vulgar art.
  • She ‘sanitised’ and removed the inherent eroticism of Sadhir to make it palatable to Victorian British morality and Indian upper-caste elites.

Back2Basics: Bharatanatyam

  • Bharatanatyam previously called Sadhir Attam is a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is one of the oldest classical dance traditions in India.
  • It has been nurtured in the temples and courts of southern India since the ancient era.
  • It is one of eight forms of dance recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi (the others being Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Manipuri, and Sattriya).
  • The word Bharata is a mnemonic, consisting of “bha”–”ra”–”ta”.
  • According to this belief, bha stands for bhava (feelings, emotions), ra stands for raga (melody, framework for musical notes), and ta stands for tala (rhythm).

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Shigmo Festival of Goa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shigmo Festival

Mains level : NA

The Shigmo or the Goan Carnival celebrations may be terminated this year due to rising covid cases.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2017:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Traditions                                            Communities

  1. Chaliha Sahib Festival              —          Sindhis
  2. Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra                —          Gonds
  3. Wari-Warkari                            —          Santhals

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the above

What is Shigmo or Shigmotsav?

  • Shigmo is the celebration of a ‘rich, golden harvest of paddy’ by the tribal communities of Goa.
  • Agricultural communities including the Kunbis, Gawdas and Velips celebrate the festival that also marks the onset of spring.
  • Shigmo celebrations last over a fortnight in the months of Phalgun-Chaitra months of the Hindu calendar that correspond with March-April every year.

Various activities in celebrations

  • The festival begins with ‘Naman’ that is the invocation of the local folk deities on the village ‘maand’ or the village stage.
  • It is held to the beats of percussion instruments like the Ghumat, Dhol, Mhadle and Tashe by the male folk.
  • This is called the ‘romta mell’ that moves from one village to another.
  • The celebration is replete with traditional, colourful costumes, mythological installations, painted faces and costumes of various hues.
  • Folk dances like Ghodemodini (a dance of equestrian warriors), Gopha and Phugadi are among the many dances performed by the participating communities.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Jaapi, Xorai and Gamosa in Assam

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jaapi, Xorai and Gamosa

Mains level : NA

As the polling date draws closer, decorative jaapis (field hats), hand-woven gamosas and bell-metal xorais are making frequent appearances in Assam.

Primarily used to felicitate important people and guests, these important symbols of Assamese identity and culture are abundantly seen in political campaigns across the state.

Jaapi

  • The jaapi is a conical hat made of bamboo and covered with dried tokou (a palm tree found in rainforests of Upper Assam) leaves.
  • It is most often used in official functions to felicitate guests.
  • The landscape of rural Assam features a more utilitarian version, which farmers wear to protect themselves from the harsh weather, both sun and rain, while working in the fields.
  • The first possible recorded use of jaapi dates back to the Ahom-era buranjis, or chronicles. Kings and ministers would wear them then.

Gamosa

  • The Gamosa, which literally translates to a cloth to wipe one’s body, is omnipresent in Assam, with wide-ranging uses.
  • It can be used at home as a towel (uka gamosa) or in public functions (phulam/floral gamosa) to felicitate dignitaries or celebrities.
  • The popularity of the gamosa has now traveled beyond Assam and is often used by a number of public figures.
  • It was during the anti-foreigner Assam Agitation of the early 1980s, when Assamese nationalism reached its crescendo, that the gamosa assumed a new role.

Xorai

  • Made of bell-metal, the xorai — essentially a tray with a stand at the bottom, with or without a cover — can be found in every Assamese household.
  • While it is primarily used as an offering tray during prayers, or to serve tamale-paan (betel-nut) to guests, a xorai is also presented along with the jaapi and gamosa while felicitating someone.
  • The bulk of xorais in Assam are made in the state’s bell metal hub Sarthebari in Bajali district.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Conservation of Ancient Folk Cultures

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various folk arts mentioned

Mains level : Not Much

To protect, preserve & promote various forms of folk art and ancient folk cultures throughout the country including Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala, the GoI has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.

What is the news?

  • Jharkhand is the member state of Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), Kolkata.
  • Bihar is the member state of North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC), Prayagraj and
  • Kerala is the member state of South Zone Cultural Centre (SZCC), Thanjavur.

Note the various folk arts mentioned and their respective states:

What are the various folk arts covered?

There is no dedicated scheme to preserve these particular folk art forms-

Jharkhand

  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Jharkhand are Faguwa Nritya, Turi Nritya, Faguwa Nritya, Turi Nritya, Paika Nritya, Hodopathy, Tribal dance (Karam Nritya).

Bihar

  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Bihar are Lok Gatha “Reshma Chuharmal” (Begusarai), Lok Gatha, Godana Painting (Madhubani), Lok Natya “Hirni-Birni” (Magadh region) etc.

Kerala

  • Ancient folk cultures being preserved in Kerala are: Poorakali, Malayankettu & Kannerpattu (Kannur), Daffumuttu (Malabar), Kanyarkali (Thrissur) and Arabanaumuttu (Kozhikode).

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Art in news: Tholpavakkoothu

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tholpavakkoothu

Mains level : India's puppetry

A shadow leather puppet in Kerala’s famous temple art Tholpavakkoothu is being animated by a robot in Palakkad.

Tholpavakkoothu

  • Tholpavakkoothu or shadow puppetry is a temple art form which is prevalent in the Bhagavathy temples (mother Goddess) in Palakkad district and nearby regions in Kerala.
  • Tholppava (Thol means leather, Pava means puppet) are moved with the help of strings, and their shadows are depicted on a screen with the help of a row of oil lamps in the background.
  • The story of Tholpavakkoothu performance is from the Indian epic, Ramayana.
  • In the olden days, it was performed elaborately over a period of forty-one days.
  • The narrative used for the performance is a mixture of prose and poetry called Adalpattu.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to Manipuri Sankirtana, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a song and dance performance.
  2. Cymbals are the only musical instruments used in the performance.
  3. It is performed to narrate the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3.

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1 only

Setup of the art

  • Tholppavas are made of the skin of deer and the puppet forms are made by making small holes in the leather that is then attached vertically to a bamboo stick.
  • Accompanying instruments include Ezhupara, Chenda and Maddalam.
  • The artists have to undergo several years of rigorous training to master this art form.
  • The puppetry is staged on a special structure in temple premises called Koothumadam.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Monpa Handmade Paper of Tawang

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Monpa Handmade Paper

Mains level : Not Much

PC: East Mojo

The sale of the 1000-years old heritage Monpa handmade paper or “Mon Shugu” is quickly catching pace after a special mention by PM in his Mann ki Baat.

Monpa Handmade Paper

  • Monpa paper is made from the bark of tree Shugu Sheng grown locally in Tawang and is identified by its distinctive translucent fibrous texture.
  • The paper is weightless but its natural fibres add great tensile strength to this paper making it apt for various artworks.
  • It has been used for writing Buddhist scriptures, manuscripts and for making prayer flags.
  • Writing on this paper is also known to be tamper-proof.

Note: This paper is yet to be awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

Revitalized by KVIC

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission, which revived this ancient art at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on 25th December 2020.
  • It has made Monpa Handmade paper available online through its e-portal.
  • The revival of this art assumes significance as Monpa Handmade paper was once produced in every household in Tawang and the paper was exported to many countries like Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar and Japan among others.
  • However, with the new technologies coming in, the handmade paper industry almost disappeared in the last 100 years.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

What is a Tripuri Risa?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tripuri Handloom

Mains level : Not Much

Tripura CM has of late made a statement to sport the Risa, a customary hand-woven cloth used by Tripura’s indigenous tribal communities.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Sr. Tradition State
1. Chapchar Kut festival : Mizoram
2. Khongjom Parba ballad : Manipur
3. Thang-Ta dance : Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct? (CSP 2018)

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2

c) 3 only

d) 2 and 3

What is Risa?

  • Risa is one of the three parts of customary Tripuri female attire, the other two being the Rignai and Rikutu.
  • The Risa, which is essentially a customary hand-woven cloth, is used as headgear, stole, female upper cloth or presented to honour a distinguished recipient.
  • The Rignai is primarily used to cover the lower part of the body and literally translates into ‘to wear’. The Rituku covers the upper half of the body, wrapping it all around.
  • However, it is also used as a ‘chunri’ or a ‘pallu’ of the Indian saree. It is also used to cover the head of newly married Tripuri women.

Its cultural significance

  • Apart from its beautiful designs, the Risa plays a host of crucial social utilities.
  • Adolescent Tripuri girls are first given Risa to wear when she reaches 12-14 years in an event called Risa Sormani.
  • The event involves prayers to a Lampra god, where her elder women pray for her wellbeing throughout her life.
  • However, it is also used in religious festivals like the Garia Puja, a customary festival of the tribal communities, or as a head turban by male folks during weddings and festivals, as a cummerbund over dhoti or headscarf.
  • The cloth is even used as a makeshift baby carrier on the mother’s back.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Who was Thiruvalluvar?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thiruvalluvar

Mains level : Sangam Literature

The Prime Minister has extended his venerations to Thiruvalluvar on the Thiruvalluvar Day.

Read everything about Sangam Literature from your basic sources.

Who was Thiruvalluvar?

  • Thiruvalluvar is fondly referred to as Valluvar by Tamils was born during 4th -5th century CE.
  • His ‘Thirukkural’, a collection of 1,330 couplets (‘kurals’ in Tamil), are an essential part of every Tamil household.
  • It holds importance in the same way the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana are in traditional North Indian Hindu households.
  • Thiruvalluvar is revered as an ancient saint, poet, and a philosopher by Tamils, irrespective of their religion.
  • He is an essential anchor for Tamils in tracing their cultural roots; Tamils are taught to learn his couplets word-for-word and to follow his teachings in their day-to-day living.

Also read:

Sangam era older than previously thought, finds study

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Kashmir’s ancient art of papier-mache

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kashmiri papier-mache

Mains level : NA

This newscard is an excerpt of the original article published in The Hindu.

Tap to know about other Geographical Indicators in news.

Kashmiri papier-mache

  • It is a handicraft of Kashmir that was brought by Muslims saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani from Persia in the 14th century to medieval India.
  • It is based primarily on paper pulp, and is a richly decorated, colourful artefact; generally in the form of vases, bowls, or cups (with and without metal rims), boxes, trays, bases of lamps, and many other small objects.
  • These are made in homes, and workshops, in Srinagar, and other parts of the Kashmir Valley, and are marketed primarily within India, although there is a significant international market.
  • The product is protected under the Geographic Indication Act 1999 and was registered by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks.

Back2Basics: Geographical Indication (GI)

  • The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines a GI as “a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin”.
  • GIs are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, handicrafts, industrial products, wines and spirit drinks.
  • Internationally, GIs are covered as an element of intellectual property rights under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
  • They have also covered under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Chillai Kalan

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chillai Kalan

Mains level : Not Much

People in the Kashmir valley are finding unique ways to celebrate the start of ‘Chillai Kalan’, a local term for the 40-day period of harshest winter that begins annually from December 21.

Tap here to read all about:

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Chillai Kalan

  • Chillai Kalan is the coldest 40-day period of harsh winter of winter in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
  • It is traditionally defined as a seasonal period of harsh winter accompanied by a change in increase in both frequency and quantity of precipitation usually snow.
  • It begins from December 21 and ends on January 31 next year.
  • It is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) that occurs between January 31 and February 19 and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).
  • According to Persian tradition, the night of 21st December is celebrated as Shab-e Yalda-“Night of Birth”, or Shab-e Chelleh “Night of Forty”.

Its’ celebration

  • In the Persian tradition, the night of December 21, the longest of the year, is celebrated as Shab-e-Yalda (night of birth) or Shab-e-Chelleh.
  • Dozens of netizens from Kashmir named it the ‘Pheran Day’, after the long woollen gown worn during the winters in Kashmir.
  • Use of a traditional firing pot called Kangri increases.
  • Tap water pipelines partially freeze during this period. The Dal Lake also freezes.
  • The famous tourist resort of Gulmarg receives heavy snow which attracts skier’s from every part of the world.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Thanjavur Art Plates

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GI tags in news

Mains level : Not Much

The makers of the Thanjavur Art Plate, with its roots in a craft that dates back to the Marathas of the 1800s, are banding together for its cultural and commercial rejuvenation.

Must read:

All time GI tags in news

Thanjavur Art Plates

  • The Thanjavur Art Plate is an artefact which is exclusively made in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • It is a circular plate made as a gift item. It is a handicraft consisting of metals such as silver, bronze, and copper embossed with figures of gods and goddesses at its centre.
  • Patronised by Maratha ruler Serfoji II (1777-1832), Thanjavur Kalai craftsmen were kept busy with orders for royal gifts, mostly decorative salvers, jewel boxes and vessels like water pots and ewers.
  • In its contemporary version, the craft has been commercially reinterpreted as ‘Thanjavur kalai thattu’ or Thanjavur Art Plate, a ceremonial platter made with silver, copper and brass layers in three stages.
  • The base is plated with alternate copper and silver panels, a bigger embossed silver motif on the central section, and the setting of globular jigna or sequins in the secondary relief.
  • It was given a Geographical Indications (GI) tag in 2007, as a proof of its long heritage.

Back2Basics: Geographical Indications in India

  • A Geographical Indication is used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
  • This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
  • Recently the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has launched the logo and tagline for the Geographical Indications (GI) of India.
  • The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) is a sui generis Act for the protection of GI in India.
  • India, as a member of the WTO, enacted the Act to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Geographical Indications protection is granted through the TRIPS Agreement.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Hispanic Heritage Month

Mains level : NA

The National Hispanic Heritage Month has begun in the US.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The event National Hispanic Heritage Month recently seen in news is primarily celebrated in which of the following countries?

(a) US (b) Spain (c) Mexico (d) Cuba

National Hispanic Heritage Month

  • The annual event honours the history, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors hailed from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
  • It is marked every year from September 15 to October 15.
  • The observation was started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was extended to an entire month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the year it was enacted into law.

Hispanics in the US

  • With a population of over 5.7 crores, Hispanic Americans are currently the largest minority group in the US, making up a fifth of the total US population.
  • More than half– 3.5 crore– are of Mexican origin, followed by Puerto Rican (53 lakh), and about 10 lakh each of Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans and Colombians.
  • The community is referred to as Hispanic, Latino or Latinx– terms that refer to a person’s origin or culture, without considering their race.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Nuakhai Juhar

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nuakhai Juhar

Mains level : NA

The PM has greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Nuakhai Juhar.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Tradition State
1. Chapchar Kut festival : Mizoram
2. Khongjom Parba ballad : Manipur
3. Thang-Ta dance : Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct? (CSP 2018)

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2

c) 3 only

d) 2 and 3

Nuakhai Juhar

  • Nuakhai or Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha and Southern Chhattisgarh.
  • It is celebrated at the time when the newly grown Kharif crop (autumn crop) of rice started ripening.
  • According to the calendar it is observed on Panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada or Bhadraba (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
  • This is the most important social festival of Western Odisha and adjoining areas of Simdega in Jharkhand, where Odia culture is much predominant.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

In news: Lingaraj Temple

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Temple architecture in news

Mains level : Temple Architecture of India

The Odisha government has announced to give a facelift to the 11th century Lingaraj Temple, akin to its pre-350-year structural status.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of- (CSP 2019)

(a) Chalukya

(b) Chandela

(c) Rashtrakuta

(d) Vijayanagara

About Lingaraj Temple

  • Lingaraja Temple is a temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • It represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar.
  • The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers.
  • It is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor.

  • Bhubaneswar is called the Ekamra Kshetra as the deity of Lingaraja was originally under a mango tree (Ekamra) as noted in Ekamra Purana, a 13th-century Sanskrit treatise.
  • The temple has images of Vishnu, possibly because of the rising prominence of Jagannath sect emanating from the Ganga rulers who built the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Why August 7th is called National Handloom Day?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Handloom, Swadeshi Movement

Mains level : India's handloom sector

Yesterday, August 7th was celebrated as the National Handloom Day. It was in 2015, the first National Handloom Day was celebrated.

Try this PYQ:

What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement? (CSP 2010)

(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.

(b) A sentence of 18 months rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.

(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab Colonization Bill.

(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekar brothers.

Why 7th August?

  • With the partition of Bengal, the Swadeshi Movement gained strength.
  • It was on August 7, 1905, that a formal proclamation was made at the Calcutta Town Hall to boycott foreign goods and rely on Indian-made products.

What is handloom?

  • While different definitions for the word have evolved since the Handloom (Reservation and Articles for Production) Act, 1985, where ‘handloom’ meant “any loom other than power loom”, in recent years it has become more elaborate.
  • In 2012, a new definition was proposed: “Handloom means any loom other than power loom, and includes any hybrid loom on which at least one process of weaving requires manual intervention or human energy for production.”

Back2Basics: Swadeshi Movement

  • Credit to starting the Swadeshi movement goes to Baba Ram Singh Kuka of the Sikh Namdhari sect, whose revolutionary movements which heightened around 1871 and 1872.
  • It gained momentum with the partition of Bengal by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon in 1905 and continued up to 1911.
  • It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements.
  • Its chief architects were Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, Babu Genu.
  • Swadeshi, as a strategy, was a key focus of Mahatma Gandhi, who described it as the soul of Swaraj (self-rule). It was strongest in Bengal and was also called the Vandemataram movement in India.

Important phases of the Movement

  • 1850 to 1904: developed by leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Gokhale, Ranade, Tilak, G. V. Joshi and Bhaswat K. Nigoni. This was also known as the First Swadeshi Movement.
  • 1905 to 1917: Began in 1905, because of the partition of Bengal ordered by Lord Curzon.
  • 1918 to 1947: Swadeshi thought shaped by Gandhi.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

In news: Madhubani/Mithila Paintings

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Madhubani paintings

Mains level : Not Much

An artist known as the ‘mask man’ of Bihar dispatches masks with hand-painted Madhubani motifs all over India.

Also read:

[Prelims Spotlight] Indian Paintings and Handicrafts

Madhubani Paintings

  • Madhubani art (or Mithila painting) is a style of Indian painting, practised in the Mithila region of Bihar.
  • This painting is done with a variety of tools, including fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks and using natural dyes and pigments.
  • It is characterized by its eye-catching geometrical patterns.
  • It was traditionally created by the women of various communities in the Mithila region of the Indian subcontinent.
  • This painting as a form of wall art was practised widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas mainly originated among the villages around Madhubani.
  • It is these latter developments that led to the term “Madhubani art” being used alongside “Mithila Painting.”

Its features

  • It uses two-dimensional imagery, and the colours used are derived from plants. Ochre, Lampblack and Red are used for reddish-brown and black, respectively.
  • It mostly depicts people and their association with nature and scenes and deities from the ancient epics.
  • Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings.
  • Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs.
  • Madhubani art has five distinctive styles: Bharni, Kachni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar.
  • This painting has also received a GI (Geographical Indication) status.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Bahuda Yatra

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bahuda Yatra, Puri Temple Architecture

Mains level : Temple Architecture of India

The Bahuda Yatra, the return journey of the deities to the Puri Jagannath temple after the annual Rath Yatra, was recently concluded amid permitted restrictions.

Bahuda Yatra

  • A/c to folk stories Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Goddess Shubhadra and Lord Balabhadra, returns from their aunt’s place at Gundicha Temple to Jagannath Temple.
  • This journey is known as Bahuda Yatra.
  • Nine days after the Rath Yatra, the yatra or the return journey takes place.

About Jagannath Rath Yatra

  • Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannatha is celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Orissa, on the east coast of India.
  • It involves a public procession with a chariot with deities Jagannath (Vishnu avatar), BalaBhadra (his brother), Subhadra (his sister) and Sudarshana Chakra (his weapon) on a ratha, a wooden deula-shaped chariot.
  • The huge, colourfully decorated chariots, are drawn by hundreds and thousands of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha temple, some two miles away to the North.
  • It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year.

Back2Basics: Puri Temple Architecture

  • Jagannath Temple is a very big temple and covers an area of 37000m2. The height of the outer wall is 6.1m.
  • It is surrounded by a high fortified wall 6.1 m high is known as Meghanada Pacheri.
  • The main portion of the temple is also surrounded by a wall known as Kurma Bheda.
  • The temple is built in Rekha Deula style and has four distinct sectional structures, namely –
  1. Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls)
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch)
  3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall)

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of-

(a) Chalukya (b) Chandela (c) Rashtrakuta (d) Vijayanagara

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

What is Axone?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Axone

Mains level : NA

A movie named Axone — also spelt akhuni —soya bean dish of Nagaland has been recently released.

The traditional ‘Axone’ dish is very unique in itself. However, one must note that it does NOT carry any GI tag. Still, there is a possibility of it being asked in match the pair type questions.

What is Axone?

  • Axone — also spelt akhuni — is a fermented soya bean of Nagaland, known for its distinctive flavour and smell.
  • As much an ingredient as it is a condiment, Axone used to make pickles and chutneys, or curries of pork, fish, chicken, beef etc.
  • While it is called ‘axone’ in parts of Nagaland, fermented soya bean is cooked with, eaten and known by different names in different parts of Northeast India, including Meghalaya and Mizoram, Sikkim, Manipur as well in other South, Southeast and East Asian countries.
  • Axone is prepared and eaten across Nagaland but is particularly popular among the Sumi (also Sema) tribe. They use it in every meal.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Traditional art of Talamaddale

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Yakshagana, Talamaddale

Mains level : NA

The traditional art of ‘Talamaddale’, a variant of Yakshagana theatre, has gone virtual in times of COVID-19.

Try this question from CSP 2017:

Q.With reference to Manipuri Sankirtana, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a song and dance performance.
  2. Cymbals are the only musical instruments used in the performance.
  3. It is performed to narrate the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3.

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1 only

Talamaddale theatre

  • Tala-Maddale is an ancient form of performance dialogue or debate performance in Southern India in the Karavali and Malnad regions of Karnataka and Kerala.
  • The plot and content of the conversation is drawn from popular mythology but the performance mainly consists of an impromptu debate between characters involving sarcasm, puns, philosophy positions and humour.
  • The main plot is sung from the same oral texts used for the Yakshgana form of dance- drama.
  • Performers claim that this was a more intellectual rendition of the dance during the monsoon season.

How it is different from Yakshagana?

  • Unlike the Yakshagana performance, in the conventional ‘talamaddale,’ the artists sit across in a place without any costumes and engage in testing their oratory skills based on the episode chosen.
  • If music is common for both Yakshagana performance and ‘talamaddale’, the latter has only spoken word without any dance or costumes.
  • Hence it is an art form minus dance, costumes and stage conventions.
  • It has an ‘arthadhari’ who is an orator, a ‘bhagavatha’ (singer-cum-director), and a ‘maddale’ player.

Back2Basics: Yakshagana

  • It is the oldest theatre form popular in Karnataka.
  • It emerged in the Vijayanagara Empire and was performed by Jakkula Varu
  • It is a descriptive dance drama.
  • It is presented from dusk to dawn.
  • The stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other epics from both Hindu and Jain tradition.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

In news: Raja Parba Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Raja Parba

Mains level : NA

The Prime Minister has extended his greetings to the people of Odisha for the unique Raja Parba festival.

Match the pair based question can be asked from festivals as such with pairs of name and celebrating state. Recently, the following festivals were also in the news: Ambubachi Mela, Thrisoor Puram, Meru Jatara, Nagoba Jatara etc.

Also, note the similarities between the Raja Parba and Ambubachi Mela …

 About Raja Parba Festival

  • Raja Parba is Odisha’s three-day unique festival celebrating the onset of monsoon and the earth’s womanhood.
  • As a mark of respect towards the earth during her menstruation days, all agricultural works, like ploughing, sowing is suspended for the three days.
  • Raja Sankranti is the first day of the Ashara month.
  • It is celebrated on the day prior to the Sankranti, (Pahili Raja), the day of Sankranti, and the day after, known as Bhu Daha or ‘Basi Raja.
  • The festival is essentially the celebration of the earth’s womanhood.
  • It is believed that during this time the Mother Earth or Bhudevi undergoes menstruation.
  • The fourth day is the day of the ‘purification bath’.
  • As it is a celebration of womanhood, a lot of the focus is on young women, who wear new clothes, apply ‘Alata’ on their feet and enjoy folk songs while swinging on decorated rope swings.

 

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Kheer Bhawani Mela

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kheer Bhawani Mela

Mains level : NA

In the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, the Annual Kheer Bhawani Mela in Tulmulla village of Ganderbal district has been cancelled by its religious trust.

Match the pair based question can be asked from festivals as such. Recently, the following festivals were in the news: Ambubachi Mela, Thrisoor Puram, Meru Jatara, Nagoba Jatara etc.

Try this:

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Traditions                                            Communities

1. Chaliha Sahib Festival              —          Sindhis

2. Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra                —          Gonds

3. Wari-Warkari                               —          Santhals

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched ? (CSP 2017)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the above

Kheer Bhawani Mela

  • The festival witnesses lakhs of Hindu pilgrims from across the country largely the Kashmiri Pandit Community, who throngs the famous Ragyna Devi Temple which is popularly known as “Mata Kheer Bhawani”.
  • The festival falls on the auspicious day of “Zeshta Ashtami”.
  • The term kheer refers to rice pudding that is offered in the spring to propitiate the Goddess, which became part of the name of the temple.
  • The devotees have been asked to cooperate with the authorities and perform the worship of the Goddess at their homes only.
  • However, the holy rituals and Aarti of the Deity will be conducted as per the tradition which will be shared with the devotees via social media.

Significance

  • Kheer Bhawani Mela is one of the biggest religious functions of Kashmiri Pandit Community.
  • It is believed and rather has been seen that the colour of the water in the spring around the Kheer Bhawani Temple changes its colour with the change in the circumstances of the Kashmir valley.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Rail adukku pathiram Utensils of Tamil Nadu

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rail adukku pathiram

Mains level : NA

The rail adukku pathiram a traditional set of kitchen utensils in Tamil Nadu has become the gathered attention of all over the past few days.

The traditional ‘rail adukku pathiram’ set of utensils are very unique in itself. However, one must note that it does NOT carry any GI tag and is completely out of use. Still, there is a possibility of it being asked in match the pair type questions asking – Q) Which among the following artefacts from Tamil Nadu carries a GI Tag?

Rail adukku pathiram

  • The rail adukku pathiram consists of 14 vessels of different sizes, neatly placed in a compact manner inside the largest container.
  • The vessels were earlier used by families to carry groceries and cook food during train journeys.
  • These vessels were used to cook food for a mini-wedding. The interesting aspect is the compact size and easy to carry.
  • It has two vessels to cook vegetables, a sippal plate to boil rice, a frying pan, a sombu, a bronze pot to carry water and vessels of varying sizes to cook food.
  • Many in Tamil Nadu had forgotten about the existence of these multi-layered vessels until a video surfaced online recently.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Toda Embroidery of the Nilgiris

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Toda embroidery

Mains level : Not Much

Many women and indigenous Toda artisans from the Nilgiris are producing thousands of stylish, embroidered masks for local residents, police, and sanitary workers.

Recently, the Assamese Gamosa was in new. Now the Pukhoor Embroidery has made it into the list. Keep a note of all such handicrafts. We can expect a match the pair based prelim question.

Toda Embroidery

  • The Toda Embroidery, also locally known as “pukhoor” is an artwork among the Toda pastoral people of Nilgiris, in Tamil Nadu, made exclusively by their women.
  • The embroidery, which has a fine finish, appears like a woven cloth but is made with the use of red and black threads with a white cotton cloth background.
  • Both sides of the embroidered fabric are usable and the Toda people are proud of this heritage.
  • This handicraft product is listed as a geographically tagged product and is protected under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act (GI Act) 1999.

Related facts

  • The local terms used to describe the embroidery work are ‘kuty’ or ‘awtty’ meaning “stitching” and ‘kutyvoy’ meaning the embroidered piece.
  • The materials used in this work are roughly woven white cloth, woollen black and red threads with use occasionally of blue threads and manufactured needles.
  • The designs developed relate to nature and the daily cycle of life.
  • The patterns used in Toda embroidery do not cover many floral motifs but generally cover celestial bodies (like Sun and Moon), reptiles, animals, and horns of buffaloes, made in crimson and black colours.
  • Rabbit ears are a constant depiction on the boundary of the embroidered cloth. Another common design in the form of black triangles in a box design is done in honour of their first priest.
  • Women who do embroidery consider their work as a “tribute to Nature”.
  • As a traditional garment, it is worn by both men and women at all ceremonial occasions and also at funerals. Elderly people of the community wear this cloth daily.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Chithirai Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chithirai Festival

Mains level : Not Much

For the first time, in place of Madurai’s Chithirai Festival, a simple celestial union is set to take place that will be streamed online.

Match the pair based question can be asked from festivals as such. Recently, the following festivals were in the news: Ambubachi Mela, Thrisoor Puram, Meru Jatara, Nagoba Jatara etc.

Chithirai Festival

  • Chithirai Festival or Chithirai Thiruvizha is an annual celebration celebrated in the city of Madurai during the month of April.
  • It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai.
  • It lasts for one month of which the first 15 days mark the celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and the Marriage of Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi.
  • The next 15 days mark the celebrations of the Journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazhagar temple in Alagar Koyil to Madurai.

About Meenakshi Temple

  • The ancient city of Madurai, more than 2,500 years old, was built by the Pandyan king, Kulashekarar, in the 6th century B.C.
  • But the reign of the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning flourished expansively.
  • The most beautiful buildings in the city including its most famous landmark, the Meenakshi temple, were built during the Nayak rule.
  • Located in the heart of the city, the Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple is dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, the consort of lord Shiva.
  • The sculpted pillars are adorned with the exquisite murals that celebrate the ethereal beauty of princess Meenakshi and the scenes of her wedding with Lord Shiva.
  • The pillars depict scenes from the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar. There are 985 richly carved pillars here and each one surpasses the other in beauty.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Raja Ravi Varma, the painter who helped Indians bring their gods home

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Europeanized school of painting in India

Mains level : NA

April 29 is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Raja Ravi Varma

  • Varma was born into aristocracy at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile Travancore state of present-day Kerala and was closely related to its royal family.
  • At the age of 14, Varma was patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the then ruler of Travancore, and went on to receive training in watercolours from Ramaswamy Naidu, the royal painter.
  • Later, Varma studied oil painting with the British painter Theodore Jensen.
  • Apart from Travancore, Varma also worked for other wealthy patrons such as the Gaekwad of Baroda.

Major works

  • A prolific artist, Varma is believed to have made around 7,000 paintings before his death.
  • Varma worked on both portrait and landscape paintings and is considered among the first Indian artists to use oil paints.
  • Apart from painting Hindu mythological figures, Varma also made portraits of many Indians as well as Europeans.
  • His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha.

His legacy

  • He continues to be regarded as the most important representative of the Europeanized school of painting in India.
  • His 1873 painting, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, won Varma prestigious awards including Governor’s Gold Medal when it was presented in the Madras Presidency and Certificate of Merit at an exhibition in Vienna.
  • In 1904, the British colonial government awarded Varma with the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal.
  • In 2013, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honour.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Ambubachi Mela

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ambubachi Mela

Mains level : NA

The Ambubachi Mela at Guwahati’s Kamakhya Temple has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Many festivals this year have been cancelled for the first time in their recorded history. Few of them were – Thrisur Pooram Festival, Pandharpur Jatara and now, the Ambubachi Mela. Do read about the Medaram Jatara (held in February) as well. Take note of each of them and their speciality along with the respective state of celebration.

Ambubachi Mela

  • Ambubachi Mela, a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati has begun.
  • Legends say the temple atop the Nilachal Hills, whose northern face slopes down to the Brahmaputra River, was built by the demon king Narakasura.
  • But records are available only from 1565 when Koch king Naranarayana had the temple rebuilt.
  • Kamakhya is one of 51 shaktipeeths or holy sites for the followers of the Shakti cult, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.
  • The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the yoni – female genital – symbolised by a rock.

Significance

  • Temple priests said the ritualistic fair celebrating the Goddess’ period is one of the reasons why taboo associated with menstruation is less in Assam compared to other parts of India.
  • The attainment of womanhood of girls in Assam is celebrated with a ritual called Tuloni Biya, meaning small wedding.

Similar place

  • A similar custom is followed at the Devi Temple at Chengannur town in Alleppey district of Kerala.
  • The temple is shut for the days the Goddess there is believed to undergo her period.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Thrissur Pooram

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thrissur Pooram

Mains level : NA

For the first time since its inception, Thrissur Pooram, considered as mother of all poorams in Kerala, has been cancelled earlier this month.

Note the cultural terms in the newscard. As the name itself suggests the state of celebration, it very unlikely to be asked in the ‘fest-state’ format.  Rather UPSC can ask – “The  terms X, Y, Z …. are associated with which of the following reknown festival?”

Thrissur Pooram

  • Thrissur Pooram is an annual Hindu festival held in Kerala.
  • It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram day – the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam.
  • It is the largest and most famous of all poorams.
  • Thrissur Pooram was the brainchild of Raja Rama Varma, famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805).

Actual course of the festival

  • The Pooram is centred on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their processions to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity.
  • The Pooram officially begins with a flag hoisting ceremony (Kodiyettam).
  • All the participating temples of Thrissur Pooram are present for the ceremony, and there is a light firework to announce the commencement of the festival.
  • The seventh day of the pooram is the last day. It is also known as “Pakal Pooram”.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNESCO heritages in India

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Ministry for Culture has launched the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India.

Various art forms (either tangible or intangible) are hotspots for Prelims. We can expect a direct description based question. For example, a question based on Manipuri Sankirtana was asked in CSP 2017.

National List of ICH

Following UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, this list has been classified into five broad domains in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:

  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Why need such a list?

  • India houses a repository of unique ICH traditions, 13 of which have also been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The National ICH List is an attempt to recognize the diversity of Indian culture embedded in its intangible heritage.
  • The list aims to raise awareness about the various intangible cultural heritage elements from different states of India at the national and international level and ensure their protection.
  • This initiative is also a part of the Vision 2024 of the Ministry of Culture.

Pls go through this link for complete details of  13 ICH : https://www.indiaculture.nic.in/national-list-intangible-cultural-heritage-ich

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Meru Jatra Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Meru Jatra

Mains level : NA

Odisha’s Ganjam district administration has banned the Meru Jatra festival and congregations related to it at temples on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti.

Festive fairs in India are known for their age-old traditions and some historic background.  Meru Jatra is one of such fairs. We can expect a match the pairs question on such fairs.

Meru Jatra

  • In Southern Odisha, the Meru Yatra festival is celebrated as the end of the month-long Danda nata dance festival.
  • Thousands of devotees gather at the Shakti Pitha shrine in the Taratarini Temple because it is one of the auspicious days during the Chaitra Yatra.
  • People from all over the state eat festive chhatua and drink Bel Pana to mark the occasion.

What is Danda nata?

  • Danda as the name implies, is self-inflicted pain, which the danduas (people who participate in the festival) undergo to pay their obeisance to the lord Kali.
  • It is also a form of worshipping the lord Shiva and his consort Parvati.
  • The origin of the festival is generally traced to 8th and 9th AD after the decadence of Buddhism in Orissa.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Diverse names of harvesting festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Harvesting festivals across India

Mains level : Not Much

The nation today celebrates the festival of harvest, Vaishakhi under diverse names. Vaisakhi celebrates the solar new year, based on the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar.

Vaishakhi

  • Vaisakhi also known as Baisakhi is a historical and religious festival in Sikhism.
  • It is usually celebrated on 13 or 14 April every year which commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
  • In Sikhism, Vaisakhi marks the start of the Khalsa in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh.

Other names

  • Maha Bishuba Pana Sankranti (Odisha)
  • Bikhu or Bikhauti (Kumaon region of Uttarakhand)
  • Bisu (Tulu region of Karnataka)
  • Bohag Bihu (Assam)
  • Puthandu (Tamil Nadu)
  • Vishu (Kerala)

Note: Harvest festivals are significant events. Do try to remember their names as one can expect a match the pair question.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Assamese Gamosa 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Assamese Gamosa

Mains level : Not Much

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the Assamese gamosa, a decorative cotton towel, evolve from memento to mask.

Gamosa

  • The Gamosa is an article of significance for the people of Assam.
  • It is generally a white rectangular piece of cloth with primarily a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth (in addition to red, other colors are also used).
  • Although cotton yarn is the most common material for making/weaving gamosas, there are special occasion ones made from Pat silk.

Types

  • Assam has traditionally had two types of gamosas the uka and the phulam.
  • The uka or plain kind is used to wipe sweat or dry the body after a bath.
  • The phulam is decorated with floral motifs to be gifted as a memento or during festivals such as Bihu.

Significance

  • Cultural historians say the gamosa came to symbolise Assamese nationalism in 1916 when the Asom Chatra Sanmilan, a students’ organisation was formed, followed by the Assam Sahitya Sabha, a literary body.
  • Wearing the phulam gamosa around the neck became a standard for cultural identity.
  • Thegamosa’s graph as a symbol of protest rose during the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation from 1979 to 1985.
  • The gamosa staged a comeback as a political statement with the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act from mid-December 2019.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mains level : Cultural heritage of India and its intergration

Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is preparing the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • SNA is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture is the nodal agency for the Scheme for ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’.
  • As of now, SNA is collaborating with Zonal Cultural Centers of Ministry, collating and preparing a list of ICH elements for National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • List of ICH elements is being compiled and at least 100 elements will be documented by March, 2020 and the aim is to document at least 20 new elements in ICH list every year.
  • Along with this establishment of an ‘Indian Institute for Culture’ is at conceptual stage and a mission called National Culture Mapping portal is being conceptualized for aggregating art forms and artists. It is in pilot phase.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Nagoba Jatara

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nagoba Jatara

Mains level : Not Much

The month long Nagoba Jatara recently concluded in Adilabad dist. of AP.

Nagoba Jatara

  • Nagoba Jatara is a tribal festival held in Keslapur village, Inderavelly Mandal[1] Adilabad district, Telangana, India.
  • It is the second biggest tribal carnival and celebrated by Mesaram clan of Gond tribes for 10 days.
  • Tribal people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh belonging to the Mesram clan offer prayers at the festival.
  • It starts in pushya masam. A ceremony of ‘bheting’ is it’s integral part where the new brides are introduced to the clan god during first jatra afer their marriage
  • The few hundred Raj Gond and Pardhan Adivasis, men clad in pure white dhoti-kurta and the pagdi headgear and women in the traditional colourful nau-vari Maharashtrian style saree.
  • The temple for which a new structure is coming up is dedicated to the serpent god, known as Shri Shek to the aboriginal people, and is the centre of all activities during the week long festivities.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Epiphany festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Epiphany Festival

Mains level : NA

The Epiphany festival was celebrated in parts of India, such as Goa and Kerala. In Goa, the celebration is known by its Portuguese name ‘Festa dos Reis’, and in parts of Kerala by its Syriac name ‘Denha’.

Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day

  • Epiphany is among the three oldest and major festival days in Christianity, the two others being Christmas and Easter.
  • It is celebrated on January 6 by a number of Christian sects, including Roman Catholics, and on January 19 by some Eastern Orthodox churches.
  • In the West, the duration between December 25 and January 6 is known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
  • Epiphany is a feast day, or a day of commemoration, which in Christianity marks the visit of the Magi (meaning the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the Infant Jesus (Christ from his nativity until age 12).
  • According to Christian belief, the Magi — Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar (or Casper), the kings of Arabia, Persia, and India, respectively — followed a miraculous guiding star to Bethlehem to paid homage to the Infant Jesus.
  • The day also commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

Celebrations in India

  • In Goa, the Magi or Three Kings are called ‘Reis Magos’ in Portuguese.
  • The Reis Magos fort, and church, in Bardez, and the Three Kings Chapel in Cansaulim, get their name from the belief.
  • Communities in Bardez, Chandor, Cansaulim, Arossim, and Cuelim are known to celebrate Epiphany.
  • In Kerala, at the St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral in Piravom, ‘Denha’ is an important annual celebration, in which a big congregation takes part.
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