Odissi Goes A-begging For A Classical Tag In The Parliament Of India!

  • | Thursday | 9th December, 2021


‘Odissi’ and` Odisha `are two inseparable aspects of culture in the state which have strode through phases of time and test.

Right from the era of Odissi guru, Pankaj Das,  one of the doyens of the dance art and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the undisputed promontory of Odissi dance, there has been regurgitated choruses demanding the accordance of classical dance form to Odissi.

Despite the art’s stupendous outreach globally, at home, it has been unable to earn the due recognition to this date, as a classical form.

Is The Academi Adamant?

The issue, in fact, lies at the doorsteps of the Centre where the wing, under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, has persistently on a denial mode as regards according to the classical tag to Odissi.

It is an issue that has been dragging itself for the last over three decades and little has been done to consider the pleas despite the form of Odissi, has inherent in it all the elements that a classical form deserves.

The great Odissi danseuse Padmashree late Sanjukta Panigrahi, who contributed immensely to shoot the fame and popularity of Odissi to the International orbits for years, screamed till her last breath to see Odissi in the comity of classical forms.   

In a conversation with this author, some time back, the other exponent of Odissi, Padmabhushan Sonal Mansingh, did sound her frustration “ we need not be apologetic to say that, some people in the corridors of power in the garb of experts in the field of music choose to sit with blinkers on and refuse to see the classical grandeurs those constitute Odissi”.

‘Odissi’ Goes Abegging A Tag

Now it has yet again reached the Parliament of India but the issue has yet again failed to derive the due benefits.

The Kandhamal Member of Parliament and educationist, Dr. Achyut Samanta raised the matter through a question to the union Culture Minister as if the ministry is privy to the series of such demands for according ‘classical’ tag to Odissi dance form.

The above union ministry took the same escape route saying that the Sangeet Natak Academy has not done so. The answer was a flat one as many times earlier.

Odissi’s boldness and reflection of the heritage combined represent a part of the country and it flourished on the metaphysical with the common realm in the blink of an eye and body like Bharat Natyam or Kuchipudi or Kathak.

Its depictions on the monuments say that the art pre-dates our times. It is a fabulous blend of classical and traditional ingredients to produce a rich repertoire of dance forms.

What has stopped the center’s cultural harbingers to realize that Odissi finds a mention in the ancient ‘Natya Sashtra’, the treasure house of Indian performing arts. Which gives accounts of an older variant of Odissi called ‘Odhra Magadha’.

In earlier times the art was taken from the Natya Sashtra and then were accorded the honor of being recited before the presiding deities of Puri, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.

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