New Delhi: The National Tribal Dance Festival and Rajyotsava 2021 was held at Science College ground in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel presided over the inaugural ceremony. The participants had come from several countries and also artists from 27 states and six Union Territories of the country—the dance troupes were performed by artistes from seven countries including Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Switzerland, Maldives, Palestine and Syria.

The third day’s event started off with Tilangana’s Ghusadi dance which is the traditional dance of Tilangana’s Ghond community and is performed over the period of 10 days prior to Diwali. “We dance to make the deities happy,” said Kanaka Venkatesh, one of the members of the dance group. The group has 30 members who perform the dance to make their “Devtas” happy, the prominent of them all being atma sur devta, a Prakriti devta. “We have been preparing for this event for more than four months and this group of ours has been dancing together for 20 years,” Venkatesh added.

There are no female performers in the group; men use certain objects and tools which are hand made from natural resources like wood. “One of the most important objects and tools in the dance is Gangaram Sota, the Sota is used to cure people from the diseases, the water is put into the sota and whosoever suffers from any illness, he has to drink from the sota as it is an object and tool that invokes our deities,” said one of the participants. Guru Kanaka Raju, a Tilangana artiste, got the Padamshree award this year. The gonda dance group considers Raju their guru. Similarly, Karma dance was presented by the participants of Chhattisgarh state on day two of the event.

It is noteworthy that Karma dance is performed on the day of Ekadashi in the month of Bhaado, in the memory of King Karam Sen, to worship Kalmi (Karam Dal tree). People of the community offer prayers and perform karma dance throughout the night praising the deities. This folk dance gives a message of environment conservation and love for nature. In this category, Gusadi Dimsa was performed by the team of Telangana, Oraon by Jharkhand, Gair Ghumra by Rajasthan, Dhamali by Jammu and Kashmir and Gaur Sing dance was performed by the team of Chhattisgarh.

The second day of the National Tribal Dance Festival had already seen folk dance competitions based on the theme traditional festivals, rituals, harvesting and other traditional practices. The competitions of this category had started with Jhinjhihanna folk dance of Uttarakhand.

Audiences were mesmerized to see the colourful costumes and performances of tribal artists. Art troupes from different states gave enchanting performances on the themes of festivals, rituals, harvesting and other traditions in the competitions.People appreciated the mesmerizing performances of the folk artistes. Rishinatam a visitor to the event said the event lightened our culture and “everything was placed in order, there were interesting exhibitions of our cultural economy and above all, we got to see so many tribal cultures in just three days”.