Monday Oct 2, 2023
Monday Oct 2, 2023

Historical and cultural folk dances are at risk of fading away

2023 Jun 10, 15:52, Birgunj
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The historical and cultural folk dances once very popular in the Mithila region are at risk of extinction owing to increasing screen time of people and lack of conservation. The folk dances as old as 7th and 8th centuries like Raja Salahesh, Shitabasanta, Runajhuna, Jungali Badhshah, Gopichand, Kunwar Brijbhan, Sundar Banko Sundar Ful, Allah Rudal, Gugali Ghat, Samachakewa, Kamala Maiya among others are being extinct, causing worry for those artistes who were earning their living by performing these dances occasionally . Other rapidly disappearing folk dances include Jay Bishahara, Dulaha Dayalsingh, Bideshiya, Dinabhadri, Lorik, Rajanal, Raja Haraischandra, Sati bihula, Karika, Maharai Shorawa Maharaj, Maharai, Karika Maharaj, and Jhagadu Mall. The folk dancers who had made their both ends meet by performing these folk dances are bound to seek other employment opportunities as they no longer see the scope in this field. More and more people are availing entertainment contents on television and cell phones lately. Their increasing screen time and decreasing interest in watching folk dances physically or preserving these cultural heritages have spurred grave risk of disappearance of the traditional dances. Gosai Ray of Dankeshwori Municipality in Saptari district took up dancing in folk music when he was 10-year-old. The 65-year-old laments that he, along with his fellow artists, were rendered jobless after the dance companies started folding up. According to him, earlier folk's dances were performed in rural areas at the expense of huge amounts for the prestige issue. The elderly artiste narrated, "I formed a dance troupe, comprising 20 artistes after making a good fortune from folk dancing. Unfortunately, the dance company was shut down after failing to sustain." Until some years ago, Phaniram, another folk dancer, was generating handsome income by performing folk dance, "I would make some Rs 500,000 to Rs 700,000 as income annually until a few years back. But what's worrying lately is that these unique traditional dances are disappearing rapidly," he admitted, sharing that many of the artists were opting for foreign employment, mostly in neighbouring India. Some were opting for Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and other labour destinations for employment, informed Phaniram, adding that many of his fellow dancers had already left for Punjab and Ludhiana in India for employment since dance companies they were associated with shut down, closing the door for subsistence for them. More0ver, Lochan Ram of Sakhuwanankarkatti Rural Municipality-1 in Siraha district mentioned, "Historic folkdance companies are being vanished due to increasing use of mobile phones' ', adding more than 100 dance companies were closed due to this. Artists involved in dance companies left the country in search of jobs after they became jobless with the closure of such dance companies, he added. Such folk dances, which were famous in rural areas of Mithila region, were mostly affected during the then armed conflict period and such dance companies started to disappear gradually since then, said artists. "Earlier there was a trend of performing folkdance especially during weddings, auspicious occasions, festivals and functions. But, there is only 10 per cent demand for such dances in rural areas during weddings' ', Bindu Sada of Arnama rural municipality shared. Culture experts are also worried over such decline. Culture expert Pitambar Lal Yadav mentioned, "Disappearance of folk dance, which is cultural heritage of Mithila, is the matter of sadness' ', pointing out that the government should take appropriate steps to protect folk dance. The artists demanded that the government through local bodies allocated a budget for protection of folk dance.

(Raju Bishwakarma)


Mithila Region conservation Extinction Saptari district Folk Music Malaysia Saudi Arabia india Foreign Employment
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