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Performing-art Khuliya-bhauriya: A minute observation

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 Jan 2017 12:00 AM GMT

By Dr. Tridib Kr. Goswami

Khuliya-bhauriya is a living performing art-form of Assam. It is found prevalent in the newly established Darrang district and East-kamrup of the Kamrup district. The art-form is also found in some places of lbari and Barpeta district. In many respects it has similarity with Biyah–Ojapali. According to the active bearers, the origin of the art-form lies in the Biyah-Ojapali tradition. Khola was played in Darrang district many years before Sankaradeva and Khuliya-bhauriya is still accepted both by the Saktas and the Neo-Vaisvas.

Khuliya-bhauriya is a coined word, Khuliya means one who plays the khola and bhauriya means one who acts. So Khuliya-bhauriya is such a person ,who can play the khola and can act the role of any mythical or non-mythical character.

The themes of Khuliya-bhauriya are always taken from the Ramaya and the Mahabharata. Among them , the popular themes are- Rava Vadha,Sita-Hara, Kishak-Vadha,Abhimainyu-Vadha, Kumor-Haran etc. The significant characters reflected through the art-form are-Rama, Laxma, Bharata, Dasaratha, Rava Koushyala, Sita, Pancha-pandavas, Dourpadi and Kunti etc.

There is a Oja character in the art-form who is a director as well as a singer. The people involved in this art-form can be divided into two groups——one group includes 20-25 bhauriyas while the other includes two pali, two Tala-badakas and six Khuliyas. The art- form starts with the beating of the kholas and talas and this is known as Khola-ghata. After this, Oja appears, dances and sings a song invoking Vishnu:

O hari pravu basudeva rayan

Bandim moi krishre sarane

Prathamate bandu ami mau


Tar pace bandu ami Laxmipati

Ganeshaka banu Gourir Sarane

Pram koru siva Sata

The characters of Khuliya-bhuriya appears before the audience with dance movements supported by khola-tala. Generally it is seen that war themes are frequently presented through this art- form and tragic environment is created. On the otherhand, it is also observed that in the midst of such scene, a clown like character i.e. Bahua appears and creates laughter. For instance, the following lines can be mentioned:

Su bhai muhur bilai

Ghar-girasthi sudha kaila tinita tirie pai

Sarughainir etai loran am tar banei

Puwa godhuli santi nidie, gofat dhari tanei

Like the beginning of the art-form, it concludes with a prayer song which is sung by the oja and repeated by the palis:

Diha: aparadha khyama kora raya amar

Pada: ki diya pujibo hari charane tomar

Sewate santostwa hoiba sanmandhe amar

hastedi pujibo hari siu thake karmakari

mondi pujibo pravu nubule hari

Like Ankiya-bhao or Pala-bhao, Khuliya-bhauriya starts in between 9-10 pm and continues up to the dawn. The dress and make-up of the bhauriyas are fabricated with local colours which are made of turmeric, Puroi-sak, Rice-powder etc. In this performance, mask plays a significant role. Besides this, the characters of this art-form use Dhanu-kar, Goda, Jathi etc. The art-form is performed in open field and co-acting is not a important part of this art-form.

By passing time, the art-form faces obstacles as the new generation is not interested in such performance. But for its traditiol value as a folk-art-form, it must occupy its place in future as before.

(Consulted sources:

1. Jogesh Das: Folklore of Assam,NBT 3RD EDN. NewDelhi,2005

2. B.N.Datta:A study of the Folk culture of the Goalparia Region of Assam. G.U,1995

3. bin Ch. Sarma:Traditiol and Folk dramas of Assam, 1998SSKS, Guwahati.

4. Satyendra th Sarma:A Socio-economic and Cultural History of Medieval Assam,1989

5. Tridib Kr. Goswami: A Comparative Study of the Pala-art-form of Assam and Orissa ,Ph.d thesis,G.U.,2009.

(Writer is Asst. Professor, Dept. of English, Batadraba S.S.S College, gaon, Assam)

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