With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of Delhi’s Central Vista Avenue on Thursday evening (September 9), when a revamped Rapath will be inaugurated as the Kartavya Path, a range of cultural events will be marking the occasion. The prime minister will also unveil a new statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the canopy at India Gate.
A mix of tribal dances, classical music, and celebratory art forms in which 500 dancers from across the country have been roped in, here is a look at the significance of the performances lined up for the unveiling.
According to a press release, the Prime Minister’s arrival at the canopy for the unveiling of the statue of Netaji will be accompanied by traditional Manipuri Shankh Vadayam (conch) and Kerala’s traditional Chanda (a long drum instrument) and Panch Vadayam.
According to the state’s department of cultural affairs website, Kerala’s Panch Vadayam is a temple orchestra consisting of five types of instruments, namely kombu (wind instrument), edakka (drum), thimila (drum), ilathalam (an instrument similar to cymbals) and maddalam (drum). Panchavadyam is played during temple festivals and is believed to have originated in today’s Eranakulam. Usually, one performer stands in the centre.
In terms of sound, “It has a pyramid-like rhythm structure with a constantly increasing tempo coupled with a proportional decrease in the number of beats in cycles”, as per the state tourism website.

Around 30 artistes will perform tribal folk art forms such as Sambalpuri, Panthi, Kalbelia, Kargam and dummy horses with live music by Nashik dhol pathik tasha and the drums. Each of these has a unique significance and tradition.
Western Odisha’s Sambhalpur district is known for its cultural offerings, including a variety of tribal dances that relate to deity worship. Among Sambhalpuri dances is the Dalkhai Dance involving the Binjhal, Soura and Mirdha tribes performed during Dussehra, the Koisabadi Dance in the Gond and the Bhuyan communities that is performed with two feet-long sticks, and the Humo & Bauli dance, as per the district’s website.
The Panthi dance is native to Chhattisgarh and includes creative formations in which a few dancers stand atop the shoulders of another row of dancers. Wearing white dhotis, these men play instruments as well and often dance to honour Guru Ghasidas, an 18th-century saint in Chhattisgarh who preached messages of equality.
Dhol and Tasha are drums from Maharashtra, and pathaks are the performers who beat the drums, who practice round the year for high-energy performances during the ten days of revelry witnessed at the time of Ganesh Chaturthi. Each troupe can have70 to 80 performers too, at times. Lately, some women troupes have also been seen participating in the festivities.

Pt. Shri Krishna Ratanjankarji, a 19th-century classical musician who was felicitated with the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contributions, will have his song ‘Mangalgaan’ presented by a group of singers.
Traditionally a tribal community of snake charmers, while performing dances Rajasthan’s kalbeliyas wear heavily-embroidered black dresses and often dance to jubilant songs. In 2010, their songs and dances were included in the list of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage that recognises the art forms as “marker of their identity at a time when their traditional travelling lifestyle and role in rural society are diminishing. They demonstrate their community’s attempt to revitalize its cultural heritage and adapt it to changing socioeconomic conditions”, says UNESCO’s website.
Karagam is a dance from Tamil Nadu that is performed while balancing a pot of water on the head. Traditionally, this dance was performed by the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess, Gangai Amma. The dummy horse dance is from the same state and has a space carved into a horse doll so that it can be put on by a performer.
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Rishika SinghRishika Singh is a journalist with The Indian Express, working in the … read more

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