Veteran exponent Jatin Goswami on how Sattriya, as soon as the protect of male monks, right now options a number of girls artistes and new-age interpretations

Veteran exponent Jatin Goswami on how Sattriya, as soon as the protect of male monks, right now options a number of girls artistes and new-age interpretations

Jatin Goswami, a revered Sattriya guru, performer, choreographer and scholar, has ceaselessly labored since the Sixties to popularise the dance type that was initially a medium of worship at Sattras (monastries), primarily on the Majuli island in the Brahmaputra river, and in different elements of Assam. He established dance establishments akin to Pragjyoti Kala Kendra, Alok Shilpi Sangha and  Sattriya Academy to practice a number of younger fans. Apart from contemporarising its method and repertoire to take Sattriya to viewers worldwide, he has authored many books tracing the dance type’s virtually 500-year-old journey. Owing to efforts of distinguished artistes like him, Sattriya was accorded a classical standing in the 12 months 2000. The newest amongst the lengthy record of honours and awards the veteran has acquired over the years, is the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship. He talks about how, regardless of spiritual parts being the defining function of the dance type, he has strived to showcase its inventive and inventive elements.

l I used to be privileged to be born and introduced up in a Sattra (monasteries of Assam). As a baby, I might witness elaborate performances of dance and ankiya bhaonas (dance-dramas) that had been carried out to pay tribute to Srimanta Sankardeva and Sri Sri Madhavdeva and on Janmashtamis. Even on common days, there have been dance rehearsals in the evenings. So I don’t keep in mind precisely after I was formally launched to the dance type; it was truly an necessary a part of my rising up years. Subsequently, I started performing completely different roles. Our Sattra adopted the Bordowa thul (fashion of dance).

Gayan bayan performance at Kamalabari Sattra

Gayan bayan efficiency at Kamalabari Sattra
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

How was the expertise of coaching underneath completely different gurus?

l My first gurus in the Sattra had been Babula Bayan and Gopiram Bayan. In 1962, I met Rasheswar Saikia Borbayan and stayed with him for about 5 years. It’s then that I began studying the dance of the Kamalabari thul, which is the mostly carried out fashion now. Later, I had the alternative to be educated solely underneath Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, particularly the theoretical elements of dance together with the  Natya Shastra and the  Srihastamuktawali.

How would you describe Sattriya dance and its philosophy

l The very objective behind the creation of Sattriya by Sankardeva was to use the medium of artwork to propagate his philosophy of ‘Ek Saran Bhagabati Dharma’. The fundamental philosophy was of ‘Krishna eka deva dukhahari’ or ‘Eka Krishna’, which meant existence of 1 ‘Universal Power’. Thus, between each efficiency, the phrase ‘Nirantare Hari Bol’ is repeated. So, most feelings revolve round bhakti and each efficiency begins with an arpan bhangima (prayer). Even right now these arts are practised in the Sattras by the male monks as a part of spiritual rituals.

A women ensemble led by Krishnakshi Kashyap performing Sattriya

A girls ensemble led by Krishnakshi Kashyap performing Sattriya
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When did Sattriya’s transition from monasteries to stage occur?

For round 500 years, it was principally confined to the Sattras. Even although in 1958, Sattriya was carried out for the first time at a Sangeet Natak Akademi seminar in New Delhi, it took time for the dance to acquire recognition amongst individuals. Eventually, Sangeet Natak Akademi recognised it as a classical dance type. It was my guru Rasheswar Saikia Barbayan, who started coaching girls for the first time.

A much-debated transfer, it’s stated that he had to go away the Sattra due to this. But now, Sattriya is usually carried out by feminine dancers, not like earlier, when it was solely carried out by male monks. When it was taught to girls, few modifications had to be made, primarily when it comes to costume. The dance type was additionally altered to make it appropriate for stage. Even when it comes to music, every thing had to be synchronised and introduced in tune to make the presentation extra subtle. Repetitions had been additionally eliminated to make completely different items match for the commonplace repertoire. But every thing was performed preserving in thoughts the conventional boundaries.

What do you suppose makes Sattriya music distinctive?

l Sattriya music is backed by a wealthy treasure of literature, written by the two saints, and an unbiased musical arrange with its personal taals and raags. There are many raags and taals with names related to different music kinds, however the strategy of singing and the taal measurements are fairly completely different. Moreover, in Hindustani music, the  sam the place geet, badya and nritya coincide is often in the first  taali. But in Sattriya sangeet,  sam happens in the final  taali.

You have many choreographic works to your credit score which have made a huge effect on the Sattriya repertoire. How do you stability conventional components and modern sensibilities?

l Over the years, I’ve tried to create new works to replicate the altering instances. Any Sattriya conventional piece consists of Ramdani, Geetor Naach and Mela Naach, and at instances, simply the first two. In these items, abhinaya could be very restricted. But abhinaya is necessary a part of Ojapali dance and a few portion of Ankiya Naats. So, there was a necessity to incorporate Sattriya-based abhinaya compositions in the repertoire and that made me create new works, most of that are based mostly on texts from Sankardeva or pre-Sankardeva period. Whatever be the form of choreography, Sattriya’s fashion, music and philosophy ought to be maintained and the message behind the work ought to attain the viewers.

What are your views on utilizing artwork to handle points and create social consciousness?

l The goal of any artwork type ought to be the betterment of society. Sattriya dance was launched to propagate Vaishnava idealogy. Dance can be left with none which means if a thought-provoking message can’t be put ahead via it. And if right now, Sattriya dance can be utilized as a device to handle modern social points that want consideration, then it turns into our responsibility to work on it.

Do you suppose digital know-how and social media have a job to play in popularising historic artwork varieties?

l This dance type survived via the Sattra tradition, oral traditions and the guru-shishya parampara. Now in the fast-paced world, digital know-how and social media would play a major function in enabling dance communities to attain out to a bigger viewers in a really restricted span of time, be it via performances, instructing or analysis.

Looking again at your lengthy journey in dance, what challenges did you face as a younger practitioner? Do you suppose the scenario is healthier right now?

l We had to face quite a lot of difficulties. People who didn’t belong to the Sattras weren’t taught the dance. At instances, those that belonged to one Sattra weren’t allowed to study at one other. Also, it was past the society’s creativeness that dance could possibly be a occupation. So not many had been . This mindset has modified utterly. The authorities, media and organisations are actually patronising and supporting arts, and so, alternatives have definitely elevated.

I really feel younger practitioners ought to take Sattriya throughout the globe via performances which can be aesthetically interesting and theoretically appropriate. They ought to take a look at artwork not as leisure, however as prayer.

The Guwahati-based  author is a widely known Sattriya artiste.

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