Raas Utsav, a two-day pageant in Assam that includes performs through which actors sport masks made from pure supplies, might be held with precautionary measures this 12 months
The pandemic had the folks of Majuli in Assam in a repair. The inhabitants of the world’s largest river island, which holds the well-known Sri Krishna Jatra, weren’t positive if they might be capable to proceed the 150-year-old custom of internet hosting the occasion on raas, a full-moon evening.
They heaved a sigh of reduction and swung into motion when the district administration gave a go-ahead to carry the jatra with an inventory of precautionary measures to be adopted. Amongst them was the rule that no artistes beneath the age of 10 can take part.
What’s Raas Utsav?
The 2-day jatra, that might be held from November 31 to December 1, is critical as a result of the efficiency entails conventional handmade masks.
Raas is a celebration of 500 years of cultural and creative contributions of the assorted sattras (the seat of Vaishnavite preaching launched by medieval saint Srimanta Shankardev for an all-inclusive type of faith) in Majuli.
The jatra is an annual pageant that entails track, dance, dialogue in a performing artwork type depicting the story of the lifetime of Lord Krishna.
It begins with the beginning of Krishna, his rising up, his tending to the cows at Gokul alongside along with his fellow cowherds, his childhood, and his vanquishing of demons like Bakasur, Putana, Kaliya, and Kamsa. The complete efficiency occurs and not using a break and is a steady course of involving greater than 60 actors enjoying varied roles. That is the place the masks come to play. Srimanta Shankardev, other than being a preacher, was a dramatist, thinker, social reformer, artiste, painter, linguist and an actor. He used dance-dramas to share the tales of Krishna along with his followers who didn’t perceive texts written in Indian languages. He additionally launched the custom of masks.
story telling masksHemakanta Goswami of Samuguri sattra in Majuli explaining about masks, Khagen Mahanta displaying a few of the dramatic masks used at raas, the staff at Samuguri sattra, a file picture of a scene from raas jatra, masks preparing, the shola stems used to masks Ritu Raj Konwar prabalika m borah
45-year-old Khagen Goswami, a number one mask-maker who comes from the sattras lineage, says, “Performances throughout raas contain many conventional musical devices like khol (a percussion instrument that resembles a mridangam), taal (massive brass conflict cymbals), nagara (enormous people drums) and doba (a drum principally performed in prayer halls or temples). It additionally entails Assamese classical music and dance.”
In the course of the pageant, all chapters of the performs use the Brajavali language popularised by Shankardev which is a mixture of 5 totally different Indian languages viz Sanskrit, Maithili, Bengali, Assamese and Hindi.
Of the various sattras in Majuli, Samuguri has been internet hosting raas for the previous 150 years. The pageant at Majuli is exclusive as a result of it entails conventional handmade masks and costumes utilizing pure supplies like bamboo, comfortable clay from the river mattress of the Brahmaputra, shola or kuhila stems, a water plant. This aside, they’ve been following the tradition involving 4 primary elements like angik (expression), bhasik (phrases) xattik (calmness) and aharjjo (costume and masks) as preached by Srimanta Sankardev. The times resulting in raas are a grand affair. Individuals are upbeat and make it some extent to go to the Utsav. The occasion takes place in an open-air set-up and occurs at evening. “Historically, we start at 9 pm and wind up at 5 am the next day. Although we enact the identical scenes 12 months after 12 months, everybody waits for this gala occasion as a result of it’s certainly one of its sort. Think about seeing a hand-made 40-feet lengthy python swallowing a demon (an actor) on stage. The story by no means will get previous,” explains Khagen.
Every week forward of the occasion at Samuguri, preparations are on full swing. Masks are being dried and painted.
Hemchandra Goswami of Samuguri Sattra, is explaining to guests the work concerned in making masks. He takes them patiently by way of the historical past of the sattra and in addition explains the craft and the custom.
He says, “The lockdown gave me extra time to deal with sure points. We modified some masks, taught wooden carving to my college students and made lots of new masks.We first make the body with bamboo by peeling the tender ones to make them clean and agile to be bent into totally different shapes. After that, we apply a layer of superb material on which we rub clean river clay. We repeat the method just a few time after which paint it. It’s an costly craft, uncommon and distinctive to Majuli.”
Rajob Gam, a tour information, says that through the pre-pandemic days, raas attracted vacationers from varied elements of the world other than Assam. Rajib says, “This 12 months, as a precautionary measure, the authorities have requested elders and kids to observe the occasion on TV from residence — it will likely be telecast dwell by varied TV channels together with Doordarshan. We’re additionally anticipating guests from close by districts of Assam.”