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Meet emphasizes bridging cultures of Assam, Manipur
AJIT PATOWARY
 IMPHAL, Sept 22 - Manipuri dance and Sattriya dance have some similarities. Both are designed to spread the ideals of the Bhakti Movement in this part of the globe, said Prof Polem Nabachandra Singh, a leading scholar of Manipuri literature, art and culture. He laid emphasis on bridging the gaps between the people of Manipur and Assam.

A former professor of Manipuri Department of the Manipur University here, Prof Singh was presiding over a seminar and lecture demonstration on the second day of the three-day Sattriya Sangeet Samaroh here today. The Samaroh is organized by the Sattriya Kendra, Guwahati of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) in association with the Akademi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy (JNMDA) on the Dance Academy premises here.

Prof Singh informed the gathering of scholars, gurus and performing art connoisseurs at the function that in the Tunkhungiya Buranji edited by noted historian Dr Surjya Kumar Bhuyan, it has been stated that in the second half of the 18th century, a bhaona on the killing of Ravana was held to entertain the Manipuri and the Kachari kings. Around 700 men took part in this dramatic performance which was a tremendous success.

He lamented that despite having lots of similarities in matters of their cultures, the people of Assam and Manipur suffer from lack of connectivity.

Delivering his lecture on the philosophical vision of Sankaradeva and the Bhakti Movement in Assam, renowned Sanskrit scholar and former principal of DHSK College, Dibrugarh, Dr Joykrishna Mahanta described Sankaradeva as the greatest builder of culture and society in Assam.

Sattriya dance exponent Dr Anwesa Mahanta, who presented a lecture demonstration, dwelt on Sattriya music and its melodic interpretations. During her lecture, gayan bayan demonstration was done by Hari Prasad Saikia and Debajit Saikia, and Ojapali demonstration was done by Hari Prasad Saikia.

Earlier, theatre personality Ratan Thiyam described the festival as a laudable effort to bridge Assam and Manipur culturally. Inaugurating the festival last evening, he rued the fact that the country lacks a policy to keep alive the great cultural traditions of its peoples. He maintained that it is because of the individual efforts of the artistes that some cultural traditions of the people are still alive.

The inaugural function was also addressed by actor and Sangeet Natak Akademi executive committee member Pranjal Saikia. Saikia is also the chairman of the advisory committee of the Sattriya Kendra. The inaugural function was followed by individual and group performances of bargeet, khol recital, naam-prasanga and jugalbondi of khol and Manipuri pong.

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