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Dance akin to Xatria in R-Day hurts culture vultures in Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 Jan 2017 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 27: A dance, akin to Xatria dance form, performed by the students of a Delhi-based school at the Republic Day cultural programme at New Delhi yesterday has caused controversy in Assam, where all stakeholders keep reacting to it sharply.

The school was selected for the dance after a competitive selection process. The students of Mount Abu Public School, Delhi performed a dance item at the cultural programme of the Republic Day in New Delhi yesterday. The dance and its costumes looked like classical Xatria dance. Soon after it created ripples in Assam. It was doing the rounds in the State that the sacrosanct Xatria dance was presented in a distorted form – both in costumes and in gestures (mudra).

Xatria dance is a classical dance or Shastriya Nritya with its own sanctity that is not allowed to be distorted. The controversy is so intense that Dispur has prompted to take up the matter so as to ascertain what exactly went wrong in the entire episode. The State Government has asked its Cultural Affairs Commissioner Pritam Saikia to inquire into the matter.

After the controversy, the dance teacher of the Delhi-based school came out with a clarification. Dance teacher of the school Tarun Dutta, who hails from Assam, said: “We never claimed it a Xatriya dance. What I choreographed is a dance item based on Xatriya dance. Since I’m from Assam, I tried to present something related to Assam. This is not a Xatriya Dance but a dance based on Xatriya dance.” Many stakeholders in Assam cried foul, in what they say, total distortion of Xatriya dance in blithe disregard to the sacrosanct dance form of Srimanta Sankardeva. They said: “At a time when culture vultures from abroad come to Assam to learn the origil form of Xatriya dance, the very dance form has been presented in a distorted form in Delhi. This is laughable!” Reacting to the controversy, State Cultural Affairs Minister ba Kumar Doley said: “We’re in no way involved in the episode. The school has done it on its own. Even then, I’ve asked the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs to inquire into the matter to ascertain the reasons behind the controversy.” State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also reacted to the controversy, and said: “The State Government isn’t involved in any way in the matter. We’ve ordered an inquiry into the matter. We’ll write a letter to the party concerned not to recur any such incident in future.”

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