Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] Ramcharitmanas, Panchatantra, and Sahrdayaloka-Locana enter ‘UNESCO’s Memory of the World Asia-Pacific regional register’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MOW register, ramcharitmanas, Panchatantra, and Sahrdayāloka-Locana

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Ramcharitmanas, Panchatantra and Sahrdayaloka-Locana have been included in ‘UNESCO’s Memory of the World Asia-Pacific regional register’.

About UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World (MOW) Asia-Pacific regional register’

Details
History and Establishment Initiated in 1992 by UNESCO.

Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (MOWCAP) was set up in 1998.

Parent Organization Overseen by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Objective To safeguard, preserve, facilitate access to, and increase awareness of documentary heritage. Focuses specifically on the Asia-Pacific region.
Examples of Inscribed Items Includes items like Japan’s “Sugihara’s Visas for Life”, Australia’s “Mabo Case Manuscripts”, and Vietnam’s “Ba Chuc Massacre Archives”.
Impact and Outreach Supports preservation, digitization, accessibility of documents; provides grants and organizes workshops, meetings, and exhibitions to promote knowledge sharing.
Reference

About the Texts

  • Ramcharitmanas:

  • Written by Tulsidas in the 16th century, the Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi, and is a retelling of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana.
  • It narrates the life of Lord Rama, his virtues, the ideals of Dharma, and his reign during Ram Rajya.
  • Hanuman Chalisa is a combination of 40 verses from the same epic.
  • Panchatantra:

  • The Panchatantra is a collection of ancient Indian animal fables that dates back to at least the 3rd century BCE. 
  • Originally written in Sanskrit by Vishnu Sharma.
  • Its stories are crafted as simple yet vibrant narratives that aim to impart practical life lessons through the interactions of anthropomorphized animals.
  • Sahrdayaloka-Locana

  • The Sahrdayaloka-Locana is a Sanskrit treatise on poetics written by Jagannatha Paṇḍitaraja in the 17th century.
  • It is considered one of the most important works of Sanskrit literary criticism.
  • The text discusses the concept of “Sahrdaya“, which refers to a sensitive or discerning reader or critic.

 

PYQ:

[2016] With reference to the cultural history of India, the memorising of chronicles, dynastic histories and epic tales was the profession of who among the following?

(a) Shramana

(b) Parivraajaka

(c) Agrahaarika

(d) Maagadha

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Patachitra Scroll Paintings

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Patachitra, Patuas etc.

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Patachitra Paintings of women in Paschim Medinipur’s Pingla block in West Bengal has become popular worldwide.

About Bengal Patachitra

  • Patachitra, also spelled as Pattachitra, is a traditional form of scroll painting that originated in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal, as well as parts of Bangladesh. The term “Patachitra” derives from Sanskrit, where “pata” means “cloth” and “chitra” means “picture.”
  • These paintings are typically created on cloth canvas, palm leaves, or paper. Artists associated with Patachitra are known as Patuas.
  • Origin: Bengal Patachitra is believed to have originated in rural Bengal, with some historical references suggesting its existence during the Pre-Pala period.
  • Themes and Style:
    • The themes of Bengal Patachitra are diverse, ranging from religious and mythological narratives to secular subjects.
    • Religious themes often depict stories from Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as folklore such as Manasha and Chandi.
    • Secular themes include important news events, accidents, scandals, and social issues.
    • Each Patachitra is accompanied by a song called Patua Sangeet, sung by the artists while unfurling the scroll.
  • Aspects of Painting:
    • Chalchitra: Background paintings associated with religious idols, such as Durga Pratima.
    • Durga Pot: Special Patachitras worshiped during Durga Puja, often featuring images of gods and goddesses.
    • Various Technique: Different districts have distinct techniques, colors, and designs. For example, Purulia Patachitras prefer burnt sienna with white and yellow patches, while Hooghly and Manbhum scrolls exhibit modernistic abstract linear treatment.
    • Artists: Bengal Patua artists, also known as Chitrakars, are concentrated in villages like Naya in the Medinipur district.
    • Colors: Bengal Patachitra typically uses natural colors derived from materials like chalk dust (for white), pauri (for yellow), cultivated indigo (for blue), bhushakali (for black), and mete sindur (for red).

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Unveiling of Raja Ravi Varma’s Indulekha Painting

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Raja Ravi Varma and his notable paintings

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

The first true copy of Raja Ravi Varma’s painting “Indulekha” will be unveiled at Kilimanoor Palace, the birthplace of the legendary artist, on his 176th birth anniversary celebrations.

About the Indulekha Painting:

  • The painting depicts Indulekha, the protagonist of the first modern Malayalam novel by O. Chandu Menon, published in 1889.
  • The painting holds significance as it is believed to have inspired Ravi Varma’s famous work, “Reclining Lady.”
  • The oil painting portrays Indulekha holding a letter, dated 1892.
  • It exhibits meticulous attention to detail and symmetry, characteristic of Ravi Varma’s style.

Who was Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)?

  • Raja Ravi Varma was born in April 1848 in Kilimanoor, Kerala, to a family which was very close to the royals of Travancore.
  • Often referred to as the father of modern Indian art, he is widely known for his realistic portrayal of Indian gods and goddesses.
  • While he majorly painted for the royalty, he is also credited for taking art to the masses with his prints and oleographs.
  • Patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the then ruler of Travancore, he learnt watercolour painting from the royal painter Ramaswamy Naidu.
  • He later trained in oil painting from Dutch artist Theodore Jensen.

Fame as a notable painter

  • Following a portrait of Maharaja Sayajirao of Baroda, he has commissioned 14 Puranic paintings for the Durbar Hall of the new Lakshmi Vilas Palace at Baroda.
  • Depicting Indian culture, Varma borrowed from episodes of Mahabharata and Ramayana for the same.
  • He also received patronage from numerous other rulers, including the Maharaja of Mysore and Maharaja of Udaipur.
  • As his popularity soared, the artist won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873.
  • He was also awarded three gold medals at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
  • Viceroy Lord Curzon honoured him with the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for his service.

Nature of his artforms

  • Much of his celebrated art also borrows heavily from Indian mythology.
  • In fact, he is often credited with defining the images of Indian gods and goddesses through his relatable and more realistic portrayals often painted with humans as models.
  • The depictions include Lakshmi as the goddess of wealth, Saraswati as the goddess of knowledge and wisdom, and Lord Vishnu with his consorts, Maya and Lakshmi.
  • Raja Ravi Varma aspired to take his art to the masses and the intent led him to open a Lithographic Press in Bombay in 1894.
  • The first picture printed at Varma’s press was reportedly The Birth of Shakuntala, followed by numerous mythological figures and saints such as Adi Shankaracharya.

Major works

  • It is believed that he had made around 7,000 paintings before his death at the age of 58.
  • But only one painting is now left in ‘Chithrashala,’ the artist’s studio at Kilimanoor Palace — an unfinished portrait of ‘Parsi lady’ which was his last work.
  • Some of his popular works include ‘Lady in the Moonlight’, ‘Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair’, ‘Malabar Lady with Violin’, ‘Lady with Swarbat’, and ‘Maharashtrian Lady with Fruits’.
[2018] The well-known painting “Bani Thani” belongs to the

(a) Bundi school

(b) Jaipur school

(c) Kangra school

(d) Kishangarh school

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

In news: Yangli Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Yangli Festival, Khelchawa Festival, Tiwa Tribe

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Tiwa tribals dance recently celebrated the Yangli festival at Bormarjong village, in Karbi Anglong district, Assam.

About Tiwa Tribals

  • Tiwa tribes, also known as Lalungs, inhabit both the hills and plains of Assam and Meghalaya states.
  • They hold the status of a Scheduled Tribe in Assam.
  • The hill-dwelling Tiwa villagers engage in traditional practices such as Jhum cultivation, horticulture, and the cultivation of local crops and vegetables.
  • Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group.

 About Yangli Festival

  • The Yangli festival is celebrated before starting the paddy sowing
  • It is also known as the Lakshmi Puja of the Tiwa people.
  • It is celebrated with traditional rituals, emphasizing the community’s strong ties to agriculture, their primary livelihood.
  • It serves as an occasion for prayers seeking a bountiful harvest and divine protection for crops against pests and natural calamities.
  • It is held once in 5 years.
  • In April, Khelchawa festival is celebrated by Tiwa tribes marking close of the harvest season.

Celebratory Activities:

  • Festivities commenced with traditional rituals and vibrant dances.
  • It continues with a joyous gathering along the riverbanks.
  • It draws participation from over five hundred individuals representing various groups like Amchi, Rangkhai, and Magrat.
  • Ceremonial animal sacrifices, including poultry and goats, are performed to honour the goddess and ensure her benevolence upon the Tiwa people’s granary, known as “NoBaro.”

PYQ:

[2014] Every year, a month long ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/ tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/tribes?

(a) Bhutia and Lepcha

(b) Gond and Korku

(c) lrula and Toda

(d) Sahariya and Agariya

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] 2550th Bhagwan Mahavir Nirvan Mahotsav

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ancient History; Bhagwan Mahavir, Jainism and its principles

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the 2550th Bhagwan Mahavir Nirvan Mahotsav on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti.

About Vardhaman Mahavir

Description
Birth 540 B.C.
Birthplace Kundagrama village near Vaishali
Family Background Belonged to the Jnatrika clan; father Siddharta was the head of the Jnathrika Kshatriya clan, and mother Trishala was a sister of Chetaka, the king of Vaishali.
Renunciation Renounced home at the age of 30 to become an ascetic.
Spiritual Practice Practiced austerity for 12 years.
Attainment of Kaivalya Attained the highest spiritual knowledge called Kaivalya (conquered misery and happiness) at the age of 42.
First Sermon Delivered his first sermon at Pava.
Symbol Associated with the symbol of a Lion.
Missions Traveled to various regions including Koshala, Magadha, Mithila, Champa, etc.
Passing Away Passed away at the age of 72 in 468 B.C. at Pavapuri in Bihar.
Legacy Founded Jainism as it is known today; contributed significant teachings and principles to the religion.

Everything you need to know about Jainism:

Description
Origin Jainism gained prominence in the 6th century B.C. when Lord Mahavira propagated the religion.
Founder Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, is the central figure
Tirthankaras
  • Jainism recognizes 24 Tirthankaras or great teachers
  • Rishabhanatha being the first and Mahavira the last.
Main Principles Jainism emphasizes the Three Jewels or Triratna:

  1. Right Faith (Samyakdarshana),
  2. Right Knowledge (Samyakjnana), and
  3. Right Conduct (Samyakcharita).
Five Doctrines Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Aparigraha (non-attachment), and Brahmacharya (chastity) are the fundamental principles of Jainism.
Concept of God
  • Jainism does not adhere to the concept of a creator God
  • Believes in the existence of liberated souls (Siddhas) who have attained spiritual perfection.
Major Doctrines
  1. Anekantavada: Jain doctrine of non-absolutism, recognizing that truth can have multiple perspectives or facets.
  2. Syadvada: Jain doctrine stating that all judgments are conditional and true only from certain perspectives, expressed by the term “syat” (may be).
Sects/Schools Jainism is divided into two major sects:

  1. Digambara (sky-clad) and
  2. Svetambara (white-clad)
Spread
  • Jainism spread gradually into regions where Brahmanical influence was weak.
  • Received royal patronage from rulers like Chandragupta Maurya
Literature Jain literature comprises:

  1. Agama (canonical) texts, which include the direct teachings of Mahavira, and
  2. Non-agama (commentaries and elaborations) works, such as the Acaranga Sutra.
Architecture
  • Temples, caves (layana/gumphas), statues, and ornamental pillars (manastambha), exhibiting intricate designs and religious motifs.
  • Notable Jain architecture in India includes the Dilwara Temples in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, and the Girnar and Palitana Temples in Gujarat.
  • These structures exemplify intricate craftsmanship and religious symbolism.
Jain Councils Two significant Jain councils were held for compiling and preserving Jain scriptures and teachings:

  1. First Jain Council at Pataliputra (3rd century B.C.) and
  2. Second Jain Council at Vallabhi (512 A.D.)
Difference from Buddhism
  • Acknowledgment of a permanent self (atman),
  • Acceptance of the varna system,
  • Belief in the concept of a soul (jiva), and
  • Advocacy of extreme asceticism ex. Santhara/Sallekhana
Thoughts on Rebirth Acaranga Sutra: Jainism teaches the doctrine of rebirth (samsara) and various realms of existence (lokas) based on karma, with souls cyclically transmigrating through different life forms.

PYQ:

[2011] The Jain philosophy holds that the world is created and maintained by

(a) Universal Law

(b) Universal Truth

(c) Universal Faith

(d) Universal Soul

[2012] With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following was/were common to both Buddhism and Jainism?

  1. Avoidance of extremities of penance and enjoyment
  2. Indifference to the authority of the Vedas
  3. Denial of efficacy of rituals

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Srinagar vies for World Craft City Tag 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Craft Cities in India, World Crafts Council International (WCCI)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The World Crafts Council International (WCCI) has identified Srinagar as a potential candidate for the prestigious World Craft City (WCC) designation from India.
  • Artisans in Srinagar have uniquely preserved their traditional crafts such as Pashmina shawls, carpets, and papier mâché.

Craft Sector Statistics in Kashmir

  • The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage-Kashmir (INTACH-K) is working with the J&K Handicrafts department to map Srinagar’s craft sector in preparation for the final nomination.
  • Srinagar boasts a rich artisanal heritage, with over 20,000 registered craftsmen engaged in various disciplines such as papier mâché, walnut wood carving, hand-knotted carpets, and more.
  • Handicrafts contribute significantly to the local economy, with approximately 2.64% of J&K’s overall economic output attributed to the sector by 2016-17.

 

About World Craft Council (WCC International)

Details
What is it? Non-profit, Non-governmental organization
Working
  • Establishment in 1964;
  • Registered in Belgium as an international association without lucrative purpose (AISBL).
  • Affiliated to the UNESCO
Founders Kamaladevi Chattopadhay and Aileen Osborn Webb
Purpose To promote fellowship among craftspersons worldwide, foster economic development through craft-related activities, organize exchange programs, workshops, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions, and offer encouragement and advice to artisans.
Legal Status
  • Registered in Belgium as an international association without lucrative purpose (AISBL)
  • WCC is organized into five regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
Meetings
  • European branch meets annually;
  • General Assembly occurs every four years (took place in Chennai in 2012).

What is World Craft City (WCC) Designation?

  • The WCC initiative was launched in 2014 by the World Crafts Council AISBL (WCC-International).
  • It recognizes the pivotal role local authorities, craftspeople, and communities play in cultural, economic, and social development worldwide.
  • India has only 3 cities designated as World Craft City:
  1. Jaipur (Kundan Jadai (Gem setting), Meenakari Jewellery, Lac based craft, Gotta Patti Work etc. )
  2. Mysuru (Kinnal paintings, Sandalwood carvings, Rosewood Inlay etc. )
  3. Mamallapuram (Stone Carving continuing since Pallava dynasty (275 CE to 897 CE))

With inputs from: https://www.wccinternational.org/craft-cities/craft-cities-asia-pacific

PYQ:

Consider the following pairs:

  1. Puthukkuli Shawls — Tamil Nadu
  2. Sujni Embroidery — Maharashtra
  3. Uppada Jamdani Saris — Karnataka

Craft Heritage of which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 3 only

(d) 2 and 3

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Sangeet Natak Akademi organizes ‘Shakti – Festival of Music and Dance’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sangeet Natak Akademi, ShaktiPeeth

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Sangeet Natak Akademi is set to host ‘Shakti, a festival of music and dance’ as part of its Kala Pravah series at 7 Shaktipeeths.

Shakti – Festival of Music and Dance

Events will be held at:

  1. Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati
  2. Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur, Maharashtra
  3. Jwalamukhi Temple, Kangada, Himachal Pradesh
  4. Tripura Sundari Temple, Udaipur, Tripura
  5. Ambaji Temple, Banaskantha, Gujarat
  6. Jai Durga Shaktipeeth, Deoghar, Jharkhand
  7. Shaktipeeth Maa Harsidhi Temple, Jaisinghpur, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

What are Shaktipeeths?

  • Shaktipeeths are sacred sites in Hinduism associated with the Goddess Shakti or Devi, the divine feminine energy.
  • According to Hindu mythology, these sites are believed to be where various body parts of the goddess Sati/ Shakti fell to the earth when her body was dismembered by Lord Vishnu’s.
  • There are numerous Shaktipeeths spread across the Indian subcontinent and beyond, each considered highly sacred by devotees of the Goddess.

Here are some major Shaktipeeths often seen in news:

 

Temple Place (State/Country)
Shankari Devi Temple Trincomalee (Sri Lanka)
Kamakshi Amman Temple Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
Shrinkala Temple Pradmunyee (Pandua, West Bengal)
Chamundeshwari Temple Mysuru (Karnataka)
Jogulamba Devi Alampuram (Telangana)
Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh)
Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur (Maharashtra)
Ekveera Temple Mahur (Maharashtra)
Mahakaleswar Temple Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple Pithapuram (Andhra Pradesh)
Biraja Temple Jajpur (Odisha)
Bhimeswara Temple Draksharamam (Andhra Pradesh)
Kamakhya Temple Guwahati (Assam)
Alopi Devi Mandir Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh)
Jwalamukhi Temple Jwalamukhi (Himachal Pradesh)
Mangla Gauri Temple Gaya (Bihar)
Vishalakshi Temple Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
Sharada Peeth Sharda, Kashmir (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)

About Sangeet Natak Akademi

  • It is the national level academy for performing arts set up by the Government of India.
  • It was set up by the Indian education ministry on 31 May 1952 and became functional the following year, with the appointment of its first chairman, Dr. P. V. Rajamannar.
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, inaugurated it on 28 January 1953 in a special function held in the Parliament House.

Functions:

  • The academy functions as the apex body of the performing arts in the country to preserve and promote the vast cultural heritage of India expressed in music, dance and drama.
  • It also works with governments and art academies in states and union territories of the country. 

Awards and fellowships:

  1. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  2. Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships (Ratna Sadsya)
  3. Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar
  4. Tagore Ratna and Tagore Puraskar

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Lalit Kala Akademi chief’s powers curbed by Culture Ministry

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Lalit Kala Academy

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Ministry of Culture has restricted the powers of Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) Chairman, V Nagdas, preventing him from taking any administrative actions without prior consultation with the ministry.
  • The directive was issued, citing rule 19(1) of General Rules and Regulations of LKA, empowering the central government to intervene in administrative matters.

About Lalit Kala Akademi

Details
Established 1954

Inaugurated by then Education Minister Maulana Azad (Based on French Academy)

Headquarters New Delhi, India
Founding Legislation Lalit Kala Akademi Act, 1954

Registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Type Autonomous Institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India
Objective Promotion and development of visual arts in India
Functions Conducting exhibitions, workshops, seminars, and research programs

Granting scholarships, awards, and fellowships to artists

Publishing journals, catalogues, and other art-related publications

Collaborating with international art organizations and institutions

Programs 1.    National Exhibitions of Art

2.    Rashtriya Kala Mela

3.    International Exhibitions

4.    Scholarships, Awards, and Fellowships

5.    Workshops and Residencies

6.    Seminars and Conferences

Key Initiatives Triennale India

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)

Art camps and symposiums

Membership Open to visual artists, art enthusiasts, and art scholars
Publications 1.    Lalit Kala Contemporary

2.    Lalit Kala Series

3.    Annual Reports

4.    Catalogues and Journals

Awards 1.    Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship

2.    National Awards in various art categories

3.    Kalidasa Samman

Gallery Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries in New Delhi and regional centers

 

 

PYQ:

2021: Consider the following statements in respect of the Laureus World Sports Award which was instituted in the year 2000 :​

1.    American golfer Tiger Woods was the first winner of this award.​

2.    The award was received mostly by ‘Formula One’ players so far.​

3.    Roger Federer received this award maximum number of times compared to others.​

Which of the above statements are correct?​

(a) 1 and 2 only ​

(b) 2 and 3 only​

(c) 1 and 3 only ​

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Practice MCQ:

Consider the following statement about the Lalit Kala Akademi:

1. It was inaugurated in 1954 by then-Education Minister Maulana Azad.

2. It is an autonomous Institution under the Ministry of Culture.

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

(a) Only 1

(b) Only 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Artform in news: Mohiniyattam Danceform

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Mohiniyattam and its features

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Kerala Kalamandalam, a deemed university for arts and culture, has unanimously lifted gender restrictions allowing boys for learning Mohiniyattam, a classical dance form.

About Mohiniyattam

Description
Name Meaning Mohini – female enchantress avatar of Vishnu;

Aattam – rhythmic motion or dance (Malayalam)

Roots Natya Shastra, ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts
Style Lasya Style – delicate, eros-filled, and feminine
Performers Traditionally women, but men also perform in contemporary times
Music Includes Carnatic music, singing, and enactment of plays through dance
Language Manipravalam : a Malayalam-Sanskrit hybrid
Posture Parted feet, gentle swaying of body, soft footwork synchronized with music beats
Gestures Follow the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika with elaborate mudras (hand gestures)
Costumes Plain white or off-white sarees with golden brocade, pleated sheets for freedom of movement, adorned with jewellery
Accessories Jewellery on fingers, wrists, neck, and ears, ankle bells (for female performers), dhotis and similar accessories (for male performers)
Makeup Natural with brilliant red lips, tikka (Gobi) on forehead, lined eyes
Music Various rhythms and compositions in Manipravalam, accompanied by instruments like Mridangam, Idakka, flute, Veena, and Kuzhitalam
Ragas Rendered in the Sopana Style, a slow melodic style rooted in the Natya Shastra

 

 


PYQ:

2012: How do you distinguish between Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances?

  1. Dancers occasionally speaking dialogues is found in Kuchipudi dance but not in Bharatanatyam.
  2. Dancing on the brass plate by keeping the feet on its edges is a feature of Bharatanatyam but Kuchipudi dance does not have such a form of movements.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

 

Practice MCQ:

Which of the following statements about Mohiniyattam is not true?

  1. Mohiniyattam derives its name from “Mohini,” the female enchantress avatar of Vishnu, and “Aattam,” meaning rhythmic motion or dance in Malayalam.
  2. Its roots can be traced back to the Natya Shastra, an ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts.
  3. Mohiniyattam is characterized by the Tandava style, known for its vigorous movements.
  4. Performances of Mohiniyattam typically include enactment of plays through dance, accompanied by singing and Carnatic music.

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Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Why do we celebrate Women’s Day on March 8?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Women's Day

Mains level: NA

women

In the news

  • March 8 marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a global observance celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
  • Rooted in historical movements for women’s rights, IWD serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

Try this PYQ from CSE Mains 2019:

Q. What are the continued challenges for Women in India against time and space?

International Women’s Day: It’s Origin

  • First National Woman’s Day: The precursor to IWD dates back to February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America designated this day to honour the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York City, where women demanded better working conditions and voting rights.
  • First Wave Feminism: These protests were part of the broader First Wave Feminist movement, advocating for women’s suffrage, equal pay, and fundamental rights.
  • Global Initiatives: The call for an International Women’s Day gained momentum at the Second International Conference of Working Women in 1910, where Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of a global day of celebration to press for women’s demands.

Historical Milestones

  • Russian Influence: March 8 gained prominence globally due to protests by Russian women on February 23, 1917 (according to the Julian calendar), demanding an end to war and food shortages. This date aligned with March 8 on the Gregorian calendar, becoming the symbolic date for IWD celebrations.
  • Role in Russian Revolution: Women’s participation in the 1917 protests played a pivotal role in galvanizing public opinion against the monarchy, ultimately leading to the Russian Revolution and the establishment of a communist state.
  • Global Recognition: Over the years, IWD has garnered international recognition, with governments and organizations commemorating the day to honor women’s contributions to society and advocate for gender equality.

Evolution and Contemporary Significance

  • Continued Advocacy: Despite progress, challenges persist, necessitating ongoing advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality.
  • Global Celebration: IWD serves as a platform to celebrate women’s achievements and address areas needing improvement, such as leadership representation and gender-based violence.
  • Policy and Recognition: Governments and organizations worldwide recognize IWD’s importance, with initiatives like Women’s History Month emphasizing women’s contributions throughout history.
  • Ongoing Struggle: The fight for gender equality continues, reaffirming the significance of IWD as a rallying point for collective action and solidarity.

Conclusion

  • International Women’s Day is a testament to women’s resilience and activism throughout history.
  • From its grassroots origins to its global recognition today, IWD embodies the progress made and the challenges that remain in achieving gender parity.
  • As the world celebrates the achievements of women past, present, and future, IWD serves as a beacon of hope and a call to action for a more inclusive and equitable world.

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Venice Biennale: The Olympics of the Art World

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Venice Biennale

Mains level: NA

Venice Biennale

In the news

  • The Venice Biennale, revered as “the Olympics of the art world,” is set to unveil its 60th edition on April 20.
  • Under the theme “Stranieri Ovunque” or “Foreigners Everywhere,” curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the exhibition will feature 333 artists from around the world.

What is the Venice Biennale?

  • Inception: Proposed by Venice’s city government in 1893, the Biennale aimed to commemorate the silver jubilee of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy.
  • Early Exhibitions: The inaugural exhibition in 1895 attracted over two lakh visitors, showcasing works by foreign and Italian artists without specific thematic constraints.

Structure of the Venice Biennale

  • Central Pavilion: Serving as the focal point, the central pavilion hosts the main exhibition curated by the appointed curator, highlighting selected artworks.
  • National Pavilions: Representing individual countries, these pavilions feature curated exhibitions managed by respective ministries of culture, with India having participated officially since 1954.
  • Collateral Events: Independent exhibitions and events across Venice complement the Biennale, enriching the cultural landscape.

India’s Journey at the Venice Biennale

  • Debut in 1954: India made its inaugural appearance with an exhibition organized by the Embassy of India in Rome, featuring eminent artists like M F Husain and Amrita Sher-Gil.
  • Subsequent Engagements: Indian artists have participated in various editions, with official pavilions organized in 2011 and 2019, showcasing diverse artistic expressions.
  • Continued Representation: In 2024, Indian artists will feature prominently in the central exhibition, alongside the Aravani Art Project, symbolizing India’s enduring presence on the global art stage.

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In news: Kalbeliya Dance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kalbeliya Dance

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • Recently performers from Rajasthan showcased the Kalbeliya dance in Hyderabad.

What is Kalbeliya Dance?

  • Kalbeliya Dance is a traditional Indian dance form that originated in the state of Rajasthan.
  • It is a vibrant, energetic dance that is performed by members of the Kalbeliya, a nomadic tribe of snake charmers in Rajasthan.
  • It is a highly sensuous dance, with the dancers performing intricate footwork and swaying movements of their arms and body.
  • In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by UNESCO.

Performance Details

  • The dancers are women in flowing black skirts who dance and twirl, replicating the movements of a serpent.
  • They wear an upper body cloth called an angrakhi and a headcloth known as the odhani; the lower body cloth is called a lehenga.
  • All these clothes are of mixed red and black hues and embroidered.
  • The male participants play musical instruments, such as the ‘pungi’, the dufli, been, the khanjari – a percussion instrument, morchang, khuralio and the dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform.
  • The dancers are tattooed in traditional designs and wear jewellery and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver threads.
  • As the performance progresses, the rhythm becomes faster and faster and so dances.

Features of the Kalbeliya Dance

  • Rapid footwork: The fast, intricate footwork of the Kalbeliya dance is the highlight of this folk dance. The dancers move their feet in quick, sharp movements that form intricate patterns on the floor.
  • Swirling skirts: The colorful skirts of the female dancers swirl gracefully as they move, adding to the beauty of the dance.
  • Hand and arm movements: The dancers use their hands and arms to create graceful, fluid movements that are integral to the dance.
  • Singing: Kalbeliya dancers often sing along to the music as they dance, adding to the atmosphere of the performance.

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In news: Theyyam Performance Art of Kerala

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Theyyam Dance, Its unique features

Mains level: NA

Theyyam

In the news

  • This newscard is an excerpt from an image published in today’s edition of TH.

About Theyyam

  • Theyyam is a traditional ritualistic performance art form native to the northern region of Kerala.
  • It is believed to have evolved over centuries, combining elements of music, dance, and drama to honor various Hindu deities, especially Goddess Kali.

Key Features

  • Unique format: Theyyam performances take place at village shrines or in joint-family homes rather than on stages.
  • Lengthy duration: Performances can span from 12 to 24 hours, reflecting their importance within the community.
  • Ritual: The chief dancers live near the shrine during the entire event and do not eat after sunset.
  • Masks and costumes: Various types of masks and face paints are used, characterized by vibrant colors.
  • Musical accompaniment: Traditional Kerala instruments like chenda (drum), tuti (flute), kuzhal (wind instrument), and veekni (percussion instrument) support the dancers.
  • Dance steps: Specific dance steps called “Kalaasams” follow a structured sequence.
  • Religious influence: Certain aspects of Theyyam, such as abstaining from eating after sunset, indicate religious influences from Jainism and Buddhism.

Try this PYQ 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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Paruveta Utsavam of Ahobilam

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Paruveta Festival

Mains level: NA

Paruveta Utsavam

Why in the News?

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is spearheading efforts to secure UNESCO recognition for the annual ‘Paruveta’ Festival celebrated at the Sri Narasimha Swamy temple in Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh.

About Paruveta Festival

  • The festival takes place at the Sri Narasimha Swamy temple in Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh, attracting devotees from diverse backgrounds.
  • Celebrated by people of all castes, the festival fosters communal harmony, with devotees from various religious communities, including Muslims, offering prayers to Lord Narasimha.
  • Folklore narrates that Lord Vishnu married Chenchulakshmi, a tribal girl, in Ahobilam, strengthening ties between the deity and the local Chenchu tribe.
  • Unlike other temples where Paruveta rituals occur during Vijayadasami or Sankranti, at Ahobilam, the festival celebration spans a ‘mandala’ of 40 days.
  • Rituals:
    1. The deity is ceremoniously taken to the 32 Chenchu tribal villages surrounding Ahobilam, signifying the community’s reverence.
    2. Chenchus demonstrate their protective devotion by symbolically aiming arrows at the deity’s palanquin.
    3. Chenchu devotees undertake ‘Narasimha Deeksha’, donning yellow robes and observing celibacy during the 40-day period.
    4. Temple staff reside in these hamlets, reflecting a historical casteless society devoid of untouchability.

UNESCO Criteria for Inclusion into the Cultural Heritage List:

  • To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  • To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over some time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  • To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that is living or which has disappeared;
  • To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape that illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land use, or sea use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  • To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

Try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Every year, a month long ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/ tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/tribes?

a) Bhutia and Lepcha

b) Gond and Korku

c) lrula and Toda

d) Sahariya and Agariya

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Medaram Jatara: Asia’s Largest Tribal Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Medaram Jatara, Tribes gathered, historical background

Mains level: Read the attached story

Medaram Jatara

Introduction

  • People have started shopping ahead of Asia’s largest tribal festival, the Medaram Jatara. Devotees offer jaggery equivalent to their weight to the deities, Sammakka and Saralamma, during the festival.

About Medaram Jatara

Description
Origin Rooted in the legend of Sammakka and Sarakka, a revered mother-daughter duo among the local tribal community.
Historical Significance Commemorates the 13th-century battle of Sammakka and Sarakka against then local Kakatiya rulers’ taxation of the Koya people.
Location Mulugu, Telangana, India
Frequency Biennial festival
Attendance Attracts around 1.5 crore devotees from various tribal and non-tribal communities from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but also from as far as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra
Political & Social Impact Declared as a State Festival in 1996;

Receives active support from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Telangana state government.

Infrastructure Development Funds allocated for community shelters and infrastructure in and around Medaram.
Ministry Support Active participation and significant financial backing from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Telangana state government.
Tribal Circuit Development Ministry of Tourism sanctions funds for the integrated development of the tribal circuit.

Try this PYQ:

Consider the following pairs:

Traditions Communities
Chaliha Sahib Festivals Sindhis
Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra Gonds
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

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1
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390 YO Lamp Post in Nalgonda dedicated to Kasi Viswanatha

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Facts about the Deepastambham

Mains level: NA

Lamp Post

Introduction

  • The recent discovery of a Deepastambham (lamp post) and other archaeological findings along the River Krishna in Nalgonda district, Telangana, sheds new light on early medieval trade ties in the region.

Lamp Post and its Structure

  • Unique Findings: Archaeologists unearthed a 20-foot tall lamp post with inscription and a small flat-roofed structure near the Krishna river bank in Telangana.
  • Rare Artefacts: Lamp posts are uncommon in the Deccan region but are prevalent in temple architecture along the west coast, highlighting the uniqueness of this discovery.
  • Historical Context: The lamp post, dated back to June 1635, bears a multilingual inscription in Telugu mixed with Tamil, indicating its dedication to Kasi Viswanatha.
  • Functional Significance: Due to its height, the lamp post likely served as a lighthouse along the riverine trade route, facilitating navigation and trade activities.

Significance of Inscriptions

  • Historical Documentation: Inscriptions provide valuable insights into the socio-cultural and economic landscape of the region during the early medieval period.
  • Cultural Connections: The presence of inscriptions suggests a connection between the local community and wider trade networks, enriching our understanding of historical trade routes.
  • Hyderabad Connection: The village’s proximity to Hyderabad, ruled by the Qutb Shahi dynasty, suggests its significance in the regional trade network.
  • European Accounts: References by European travellers, such as Jean Baptiste Tavernier, hint at the existence of riverine trade routes alongside land routes during the same period.

Continuity of Trade Routes

  • Longstanding Trade Connections: The discovery of an eighth-century inscription from the Badami Chalukya era underscores the village’s role as a vital trade hub over millennia.
  • Cultural Exchange: Trade routes facilitated not only economic transactions but also cultural exchanges, shaping the region’s diverse heritage.

Try this PYQ:

Which one of the following foreign travellers elaborately discussed about diamonds and diamond mines on India? (CSP 2018)

(a) Francois Bernier

(b) Jean Baptiste Tavernier

(c) Jean de Thevenot

(d) Abbe Barthelemy Carre

 

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Kalaripayattu gains popularity in Haryana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kalaripayattu

Mains level: Not Much

Kalaripayattu gains popularity in Haryana

Introduction

  • The introduction of Kalaripayattu, a southern Indian martial arts form, into the Khelo India games in 2021 has led to its growing popularity among boys and girls in Haryana.

About Kalaripayattu

  • Originates from ancient knowledge of the human body.
  • Originated in Kerala during the 3rd century BC, lasting until the 2nd century AD; currently practiced in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Practiced in a ‘Kalari’, a term in Malayalam indicating a gymnasium or a symbolic battlefield.
  • The term ‘Kalari’ appears in Tamil Sangam literature, denoting both a battlefield and a combat arena.
  • Considered one of the oldest martial arts in the world.
  • Known as the precursor to modern Kung Fu, often referred to as the “Father of Modern Kung Fu.”
  • Integrates Hindu rituals and philosophies, alongside medicinal practices derived from Ayurveda.
  • Incorporates elements from yoga and finger movements from Nata dances.

Weapons used:

Weapons are categorized into four groups:

  • Cutting, Slicing, and Piercing: Swords and daggers.
  • Pole Weapons: Spears and axes.
  • Bludgeoning Instruments: Sticks and maces.
  • Projectiles: Arrows, discuses, catapults, boomerangs, and other hand-thrown weapons.

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Artistic Richness of the Indian Constitution: A Visual Journey

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indian Constitution and its drafting

Mains level: Read the attached story

Constitution

Introduction

  • The Indian Constitution, renowned as the world’s lengthiest written Constitution, is not just a legal document but a treasure trove of artistic richness.
  • It features intricate hand-painted images and elaborate borders across all its 22 parts, making it the most visually appealing Constitution globally.

Narrative Scheme of Paintings

  • Historical Representation: The paintings within the Constitution depict various periods in Indian history, from the Indus Valley civilization to the freedom struggle. Additionally, scenes from the epic tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata are featured.
  • Geographical Diversity: These illustrations also capture India’s diverse geography, from the desert with marching camels to the grandeur of the Himalayas.

The Appointment of Artists

  • Selection of Nandalal Bose: Nandalal Bose, a renowned artist and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, was entrusted with the task of illustrating the Constitution in October 1949, just before the final session of the Constituent Assembly.
  • Collaborative Effort: Bose collaborated with family members, students, and fellow artists, including Kripal Singh Shekhawat, A Perumal, and Direndrakrishna Deb Burman.
  • Calligraphy: While the Constitution itself was handwritten by calligrapher Prem Behari Narain Raizada in a flowing italic style, the Hindi version’s calligraphy was masterfully crafted by Vasant Krishan Vaidya.

Notable Artistic Contributions

  • Preamble and National Emblem: The Preamble page features intricate patterns sketched by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and bears his signature, while Dinanath Bhargava sketched the National Emblem, the Lion Capital of Ashoka.
  • Payment for Artists: Records suggest that the artists who painted the historical scenes were paid Rs 25 for each page.

Ideation of Artwork

  • No Direct Correlation: Nandalal Bose’s artwork in the Constitution does not have a direct correlation with the text, as he did not illustrate the content of the Constitution itself. Instead, he crafted a visual narrative of India’s history as he envisioned it.
  • Changes and Adjustments: A preliminary plan was drawn up for the artwork, which underwent changes with additions and deletions. For instance, a scene featuring ‘portraits of Akbar and Shahjahan with Mughal architecture’ was replaced with an image of Akbar.

Borrowing from History and Religion

  • Diverse Representations: The artwork includes depictions of the Bull Seal from the Indus Valley region, scenes from the lives of hermits and ascetics, Buddha in meditation, Mahavir, sculptures from Mahabalipuram, and the descent of the Ganga to Earth.
  • Incorporating Epics: Scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana are featured in the artwork, symbolizing India’s rich mythological heritage.
  • Homage to Tagore: Three landscapes within the Constitution pay tribute to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and his composition of the National Anthem, celebrating India’s diverse geographical landscapes.

Celebrating Monarchs and Freedom Fighters

  • Emperor Ashoka: Part VII features Emperor Ashoka seated on an elephant, propagating Buddhism.
  • King Vikramaditya and Tipu Sultan: Part IX showcases a scene from King Vikramaditya’s court, while Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi shares the page with Tipu Sultan in Part XVI.
  • Gandhi and Freedom Fighters: Mahatma Gandhi appears twice, leading the Dandi March and visiting Noakhali in Bangladesh. Subhas Chandra Bose is depicted saluting the flag with members of the Azad Hind Fauj.

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Batadrava Than: Understanding the Significance and Controversies

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Batadrava Than

Mains level: Read the attached story

Batadrava Than

Introduction

  • A politician was recently denied entry to Assam’s Batadrava Than for his political campaigning.

About Batadrava Than

  • Location: Situated in Nagaon district, Batadrava Than, also known as Bordowa Than, holds deep significance for Assamese Vaishnavites.
  • Birthplace of Srimanta Sankardeva: It stands at the birthplace of Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568), a revered Vaishnavite reformer-saint.
  • Founder of Kirtan Ghar: Sankardeva established the first-ever Kirtan Ghar at Bordowa in 1494 AD, where he practiced and preached the neo Vaishnavite faith.

Sankardeva’s Philosophy

  • Ek Saran Naam Dharma: Sankardeva’s philosophy centered on worship through bhakti (devotion) to Lord Krishna, emphasizing the singing and congregational listening of His name and deeds.
  • Society Based on Equality: He advocated for a society free from caste distinctions, orthodox Brahmanical rituals, and sacrifices, promoting equality and fraternity.
  • Devotion over Idol Worship: Sankardeva’s teachings favored prayer and chanting (naam) over idol worship.
  • Four Components of Dharma: His dharma was founded on four components: deva (god), naam (prayers), bhakats (devotees), and guru (teacher).

Legacy of Sankardeva’s Movement

  • Monastic Institutions: Sankardeva’s Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement led to the establishment of monastic institutions known as Thans/Sattras across Assam.
  • Religious, Social, and Cultural Reforms: These Thans/Sattras became centers for religious, social, and cultural reforms in the 16th century.
  • “Worship Through Art” Approach: Today, the Sattras propagate Sankardeva’s unique approach of “worship through art” with music (borgeet), dance (xattriya), and theater (bhauna).
  • Nucleus of Naamghar: Each Sattra has a naamghar (worship hall) as its nucleus and is led by an influential “Sattradhikar.”

Political Significance and Controversies

  • Assamese Identity: Thans/Sattras are integral to Assamese identity, and Batadrava Than is frequently visited by politicians.
  • Electoral Issue: The government has highlighted “land grabbing around Sattras by illegal settlers” as an electoral issue.
  • Proposed Land Law: The CM has announced plans for a law preventing “non-indigenous people” from buying land within an eight-kilometer radius of Batadrava Than.
  • Beautification Project: Home Minister Amit Shah launched a Rs 188 crore beautification project at Batadrava Than in 2021.

Also read:

Assam’s Sattras and their Political Significance

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