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‘Political geography cannot dictate cultural practices’

Khajuraho, Feb 22: Lub Mariam, the artistic director of Bangladesh’s cultural organisation Shadho, says that we as artistes cannot allow politics, political geography to dictate the boundaries of cultural practices. Here on Tuesday to give a presentation on similar cultures in different countries at the 43rd edition of Khajuraho dance festival, Mariam is also the dance pioneer of Bangladesh.

“Political geography cannot and we will not allow it , to dictate the boundaries of our cultural practices so when I mean cross border dymics I mean cultural practices which have organically grown in a certain geographical area. The situation is similar in so many countries,” Mariam said here at the week-long festival.

“When I say reconnect (culturally) automatically, there is a disconnection happening when we look at the arts as Bangladeshi art or Indian art. And where we are imposing limitations, man-made borders which is not commensurate with the organic practice of the arts. Of course South Asia is the idol disconnection happening if we I can dare to say Pakistan when it has incredible dancers, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal… We all share so much historically, culturally. Unfortutely these boundaries limit our connection with each other. I dearly believe that it is possible to reconnect,” she added.

With borders being referred to as policewoman boundaries, Mariam, whose troup will be performing thought the week which ends on February 26, says that even though the boundaries are there, sub-groups within political entities continue to interact. “By border we refer to the political boundaries. There is a historical connection which has been limited by politics. Whether the politics wants it or not the interaction continues because the cultural connections are so very powerful. By which I mean we have the Bauls (The Bauls are a group of mystic minstrels. They constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition) of Bangladesh and the Bauls of West Bengal. The Bauls are wandering minstrels but they are constantly travelling to India, coming back because of the organic cultural connections. I don’t think any wall can stop it.

The Khajuraho dance festival, which started here on February 20, has Bangladesh as its guest country. The festival will also have discussions everyday on different topics, classical dance performances by different and mostly young crop of artistes like Kathak, Odissi, Chhau and Bharattyam. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita