Inspiration of Dhiren Dash.


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What would you have me do?
Seek for the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
No thank you! Dedicate, as others do,
Poems to pawnbrokers? Be a buffoon.
In the vile hope of teasing out a smile
On some cold face? No thank you!............
Eat a toad For breakfast every morning?
Make my knees Callous, and cultivate a supple spine,-
Wear out my belly grovelling in the dust? No thank you!............
Scratch the back of any swine that roots up gold for me?
Tickle the horns of Mammon with my left hand,
while my right too proud to know his partner's business,
takes in the fee? No thank you!............
Use the fire God gave me to burn incense
all day long under the nose of wood and stone? No thank you!..........
Shall I go leaping into ladies' laps
And licking fingers?-or-to change the form-
Navigating with madrigals for oars,
My sails full of the sighs of dowagers?
No thank you! Publish verses at my own
Expense? No thank you! Be the patron saint
of a small group of literary souls
Who dine together every Tuesday? No
I thank you! Shall I labour night and day
to built a reputation on one song,
And never write another? Shall I find
true genius only among Geniuses,
Palpitate over little paragraphs,
And struggle to insinuate my name
into the columns of the Mercury?
No thank you! Calculate, scheme, be afraid,
Love more to make a visit than a poem,
Seek introductions, favours, influences?-
No thank you! No, I thank you! And Again
I thank you!- But...
To Sing, to laugh, to dream,
To walk in my own way and be alone,
Free, with an eye to see things as they are,
A voice that means manhood-to cock my hat
Where I choose-At a word, a yes, a No,
To Fight-or write. To travel any road
Under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt
If fame or fortune lie beyond the bourne-
Never to make a line I have not heard.
In my own heart; yet, with all modesty
To say: "My soul, be satisfied with flowers,
With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them
In the one garden you may call your own."
So, when I win some triumph, by some chance,
Render no share to Caesar-in a word,
I am too proud to be a parasite,
And if my nature wants the germ that grows
Towering to heaven like the mountain pine,
Or like the oak, sheltering multitudes-
I stand, not high it may be- but alone!

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Our Inspiration



Dhiren Dash, Born--ANGUL, ORISSA ( 24 / 11 / 1927 --- 20 / 01 / 1992 )

Dhiren Dash 4.jpgRecipient of Internal Award of the Stanislavski Foundation, Denmark, for best contribution to the field of Theatre, for the year1983.Founder-Director, Institute of Oriental Theatre Arts, 355,Sahid Nagar, Bhubaneswar-751001, Orissa India.

A Diploma holder in dramatic arts from the Bombay NatyaAcademi (under Bharatiya Natya Sangha, affiliated to ITI, UNESCO) as a student of Mr. Herbert Marshall,†† Shri Dash besides being an actor , director, commentator and production designer of eminence, was an original thinker,writer and trend setter in the field of histrionic arts in the country.

Shri Dash was the pioneering spirit to initiate the revival of Odissi dance and the Chhau dance of Mayurabhanja through an article of his published in 1949.

He was responsible for the revival, re-orientation and reformation of Orissa's old-age Jatra and to enliven the memory of great poet-dramatist, the late GanakabiBaishnabaPani. He was also responsible for the popularisation of writing and production of versa-dramas and performance of open air shows in Orissa by demonstrating various novel play production.

A man of versatile genius and dedicated interest, Shri Dash was the first film journalist of Orissa, was a news correspondent and was also the managing editor of a monthly Oriya Magazine, 'Kumkuma',Bombay.

His historical verse-drama 'Balijatra' is specially written in a style,meant to be enacted on three separate stages simultaneously in view ,in a panoramic improvised amphi-theatre having a huge field of over 500' width as its acting arena.

Explains pupils about Ranigumpha.jpgDhiren Dash Lectures at Ranigumpha.jpgJatra the theatre..jpgweb5.jpgw72.jpg
Shri Dash had the unique distinction of establishing the discovery of an ancient classical Indian Theatre built exactly, as per the specifications of the Natya-Shastra at the Ranigumpha caves of Udayagiri, Bhubaneswar which dates back to 2nd Century BC and said to be the only existing specimen of its kind in the world.

It is but for the tire-less efforts of Shri Dash many of the treasures of Orissa's histrionic arts which were lying hidden through negligence and ignorance have been able to see the light of the day like Dhenkanal Chhau Dance, Apsara Nrutya, Sabdaswara Nrutya, Bandinata, Desianata, Dhanu Jatra, Lankapodi, Kalidalan, Prahlada Nataka, Ghuduki, Nabaranga Nata, Radha Prema Lila, Harikatha, Galpasagara, Kathaka etc.

According to Shri Dash, establishment of Jatra halls of permanent nature with central stage and spectators around can only save the histrionic culture of the country.

At India festival at France.jpgLeading the Indian contigent at India festival at France.jpg††With troupe at France.jpg
In 1985, Shri Dash visited France and Morocco as the leader of an Indian Cultural Team.

He is the recipient of ANAMIKA'S All India First Bhilwara Theatre Fellowship for the year 1986-87, the first Oriya to receive an award for a Hindi Play.

He was the founder member of Shrujani, Natyotkala, Kalinga Kala Kshetra, Orissa Dance Academi & Nupoor.

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As sutradhara in Hirahansa suanga.jpgDhiren Dash as sutradhara in Hirahansa.jpg††w11.jpg††w11.jpg††Dhiren Dash 3.jpg
He has acted in many Oriya films, Hindi , English & Oriya plays besides several Oriya Yatras.

Open air stage show France India festival.jpgDhiren dash in USA open air stage.jpg††Show in the woods France.jpg
In 1990, Shri Dhiren Dash went on a study tour of American Theatre and participated in the Athe Conference in Chicago. He subsequently took up an assignment in 1991 to teach Indian Theatre and direct production of an Oriya Play with American Cast by the Evergreen State College at Brown University, USA and earned laurels for our country.
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It was for Shri Dash's life time contribution for upliftment of Oriya folk theatre and discovery of an ancient theatre at Ranigumpha, the Government of Orissa conferred on him posthumously the highest Cultural Award of the State, "SANSKRUTI SAMMAN" in 1992.

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Some confessions of Dhiren Dash till 1963.

Allthough I was interested in all types of theatrical activities from my early childhood, my interest in the traditional indigenous theatre-arts actually grew up during my training in dramatic-arts at the Natya Academy, Bombay.

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Regular teaching in Dramatics was not available in this country until many yers after the Independence. It was Bharatiya Natya Sangh which initiated the firstcourse in such subjects in the year 1995 at Bombay under the auspics of (I.T.I.) UNESCO. The essential idea was to train-up teachers in the field, who whould spread up the systematic training throug-out the country. Many foreign experts had come to this country for this purpose.

Later on, when the Asian Theatre Institue was sponsored by Bharatiya Natya Academy was managed by the Bombay Natya Academy was managed by the Bombay Natya Sangh. The National School of Drama at New Delhi came into existence after the Asian Theatre Institute.

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I was then (1959), a student of Bombay Law College. When I came to know that Mr. Herbert Marshall who was then the Principal and Director of the Bombay Natya Academi would stay in the country only for another two years, I could not resist my desireto learn under him. I left my studies in Law for good and joined the Bombay Natya Academi as a student.

Although the help and guidance of foreign experts had been sought to initiate regular pattern of training in dramaturgy in this country, the actual intention of the courses was strictly for two purposes.

1) To develop indigenous Rural Theatre of India.
2) To develop Children Theatre in India.

How far have we been able to reach our goals has been a subject for discussions for sometimes past, but that we have steadily drifted from the main aims and turned more "foreign" in the sphere of training facilities in dramaturgy in this country, is now a fact.Where are we leading for-to the point of completely losing our own identity-Indian? This is surely a matter for heart searching.

Imust admit that although I belong to this so-called under developed state, Orissa. I by virtue of my stay in Bombay for over 15 years, had almost turned a metropolitan, atleast as regards the theatre culture was concerned. Regular study in the western theatre techniques provided me the much wanted base to think in terms of Orientation of our indigenous theatre forms. But for three solitary instances perhaps, I would have also remained a foreigner in my own country trying to assess our indigenous forms through tinted glasses or discarding my own styles I would have been blatantly imitating everything foreign and imposed.

* It was my Guru Prof C.C. Mehta, who in his lectures on Eastern Theatre inspired me about the hoary past and the ancient glory of the Indian Theatre, that sparked in me the obsession theatre. I still remember his words "Indian Theatre is conspic ous for the absence of proscenium, wings" etc, etc.

* It was my Guru Mr. Charles Eison who had summed up his impression on Indian Theatre "I have seen many plays in many Indian languages, through out the country but I am yet to make up my mind as to which was a real Indian play presented in an Indian manner."

* It was my Guru Mr. Herbert Marshall, who during his valedictory address at the diploma- awarding ceremony of Bombay Natya Academi, made us to take a vow that we should work for the development of indigenous theatre forms of our areas, when we go back.

I was back in Orissa by 1963.

With my humble knowledge, experience and the background, primarily I had to identify myself as a "Jatra-wala", to be able to scout or do anything. It was a bit painful but extremely exciting. Whether really I have been able to contribute anything to focus the indigenous theatre is better known to others.

What a colourful repository of traditional theatre forms in Orissa ? To statisticians or politicians, this state may be economically backward but for those who are keen in studying histrionics, Orissa is a paradise and stands unique.

Dhiren Dash at Florida.jpgDhiren Dash with foreighn Puppetier.jpg††Dhiren Dash with grand children in USA.jpg††Dhiren dash with John Emigh and family abroad.jpg

With pupils at Evergreen Florida.jpgD Dash with Dr.Mahtab at home..jpg††Dhiern with friends over a feast.jpg††Dhiren with Admiral Sharma a friend.jpg

Dhiren with friend shoe polish Bombay.jpgDiren and fly on picnic.jpgDr.Harekrushna Mahatab at Dhirens house 60's.jpg††Raghunath Panigrahi with Dhirens elder son 60's.jpg††With a village puppetier.jpg

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List of PublicationsAuthored byDhiren Dash.



Jatra-The peoples theatre of Orissa

Bali Jatra

Hira Hansha Suanga

Palla Ittehasa Palla

Odisha ra Palla

Ideas & Experiments in Theatre

Puppetry in Orissa

Chhau dance of Dhenkanal

Danda Natta

Jhansi Ki Ranni



.Jatra the theatre..jpgJatra The Peoples Theatre of Orissa..jpg†††Bali Jatra.jpg††Hira Hansa Suanga..jpg†††Palla Itehasa Palla.jpg†††Odisha ra Jatara..jpg††††Orissa ra Palla.jpg†††Ideas & Experiments in Theatre..jpg†††Puppetry in Orissa.jpg†††Chau Dance of Dhenkanal.jpg


Ideas & Experiments in Theatre..jpg

Ideas & Experiments in Theatre.

Production Designing in Orissa : My Experiments
in the 'Form' of Theatrical Presentations

A "Theatre" physically comprises of two sections : the Stage, upon which the performance take place and the Auditorium, from where the spectators witness the performances.

Ever since the first amongst the primitive pre-historic human species stepped on to a log or rock, to make himself conspicuous among his fellow-men, the necessity of a platform-something raised above the level of the ground was felt essential for conveying some thing in general to a gathering. Thus the Theatre was evolved.

In the process of evolution, through out the ages, the yueer mind of Man has been hunting for ideas, to find out suitable Form for his theatre. How best a performance can be staged. Men of the world thus, must have created millions of styles in stage designing, though all of these would clearly fall only into four distinct categories. They are as follows :-

1. Acting area in the centre with spectators around.
2. Acting area with spectators on three sides.
3. Acting area with spectators on two sides.
4. Acting area with spectatros on one side only.

A raised stage may not be necessary only when the spectators witness from a slope or gallery, but a sloped auditorium is essential to make the spectators in the back rows be able to see-what's going on in the acting area. This too is not an absolute necessity if the stage is sufficiently raised.
How much 'up' can a stage be raised ?
Similarly how far 'back' the last row of seats be located even with use of opera- glasses ?

There should be a limit to every thing, because we don't make our spectators to sprain their necks by making them crane to look to sides to look high-up or down, or to get confused as to where to look and when. Just as the "sightlines" are very important, so is the "treatment" in a production.

The element of SPECTACLE is therefore considered to be most importan in a theatrical presentation. While planning a spectacle for the viewers, a lot of things are required to be taken into consideration, such as the occasion place of performance, topography, type of work to be displayed the style to be presented, number of artists to participate and to appear on the stage at a time, number of spectators to witness and many other things, besides a lot of common sense aesthetics and above all the budget.

In a conventional theatre with proscenium and curtain, therefore the scenic background, wheather with painted draperies or set flats, had become the rule of the day for some time in the past. when lighting technique developed, the socalled scenic backgrounds went to the background and the magical projection of scenes or incidents predominated. In a conventional old-fashioned theatre, your auditorium is fixed, so also your stage area, height width etc. Manipulations over the teaser, tormentors which gave a little more additional area no doubt have their limitions; so the designers' imagination also have a limited contour, in side a built-in theatre.

In an open-air production, you have therefore a little freedom to break away from prejudices, conventions, to give vent to your thoughts and to give a shape to your imagination, even it has run a riot.

But there is always a risk. Just as your listner must know the language you speak, your spectators should also understand the method of your treatment. If you confuse the spectators by some gaudy, unbalanced monkey tricks, your efforts fail. Designing a production therefore, demands an understanding of the whole thing minutely, carefully, artistically and aesthetically. To put up something just for its novelty has absolutely no meaning unless it serves the real purpose. It only turns a gimmick. It should be a novelty by all means, besides being beautiful, but should also have meaningful and justified matching grandeur with a distinct purpose. As for example, my production design for the modern play "Duiti Surya-Dagdha Phulaku Nei", which was presented by Uttara Purusha, was conceived after studying the style of the play, its requirements and the budget; hence it matched the production most.

Pesides numerous set-designs which I have done very successfully in Orissa, I have experimented convinced that a work done sincerely with understanding is always appreciated by the people.

I have presented a play "Chandrachori" for Kumbhakar just on the apron of Rabindra Mandap without even opening the front curtain with a character on or around the stage throughout the duration in full view of the spectators in 1968. The idea was to impress that if artists are fully conversed with their roles, then a play can be presented even without any other arrangement, such as, scenes etc, which are not primary importance.

I have produced a conventional stage play "Chakri" means for one-sided auditorium, on an improvised Jatra stage having spectators all around in the Social Welfare Centre, Bhubaneswar in the year 1970.

In absence of a permanent Jatra auditorium, I have produced Gitinatya "Kartavirya Samhara" on the central Floors of the auditorium of Kala Mandap and Institute of Engineers in 1968 with spectators around and on the existing stages.

I have produced a Gitinatya, "Karnabadha" by Baishnaba Pani in many different ways, such as :

(1) 'Karnabadha' on a Central Stage with spectators around,
(2) 'Karnabadha' in a conventional theatre with spectators on one side with scenic background.
(3) 'Karnabadha' on a stage with spectators on three sides.
(4) 'Karnabadha' on a panoramic multitiered stage 80' wide.
(5) 'Karnabadha' on a wide angled, single zone levelled yet curved stage 60' wide.
(6) 'Karnabadha' in a huge Virata Prekshya with an acting area of 500'*200', with real horse-drawn chariots, elephants, fireworks, monks-battle scenes and torch light pageantry sequences etc.

I have established the discovery of a regular ancient Indian theatre at the Ranigumpha caves, Udayagiri hills, Bhubaneswar (which happens to be the oldest and the only existing specimen in the world of the classical Indian theatre of the middle rectangular variety meant for the kings) having exact specifications and dimensions as detailed in the Natyasastra of Bharatmuni. I have also given a performance in this Ranigumpha theatre (through Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi) demonstrating as to how a double storeyed theatre was used for productions of classical plays in ancient India.

In the followings pages I have described-few amongst my humble production designs based on my experiments in the Forms of theatre. In most of the casesf hey have become trend-setters in the country. These are all my original conceptions. I have always been inspired from the study of the forms and the heritage of Orissan theatre.



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Open sky, three-tiered, panoramic stage with an opening of 80 feet. There were three stages, one above the other connected with steps and aesthetically balanced. Auditorium to hold over 10,000 spectators. Raised stage 3, was placed at Up Left to equalize value with that of the Down Right zone. No front curtain was used.

This stage arrangement was designed and executed at the Collegiate school compound in 1963 for the Kumar Utsaba Samiti for the annual Kumar Poornima. With the real full moon in the sky, this style was adopted to stop the hitherto indoor celebration of Kumar Poornima with a paper-moon hanging against a back drop in side a closed theatre.

The composite programme included signature dance, children's play, a drama, Odissi dance and a dance drama "Himalaya". This was the first time in India that an experiment was done for a panoramic stage in such a grand scale.




Designed after the fragrant, beautiful flower Ananta Nageswar, favourite of Nataraja Lord Shiva, this was first executed at the A.I.R. premises, Cuttack for presenting a Jatra of Orissa. The Puspapatha through which the artists enter or exit in the midst of spectators from the Beshaghara (Green Room) to the central stage, is raised in the same level of the stage, thereby facilitating easy movement and adding a distinction hitherto neglected. The chorus and the musicians were given a high platform over the entry, exit passage of the green room. There was a small base platform near the entry or exit of the greenroom where artists may wait for their roles to come, if necessary. This high platform system was not adopted just as a novelty but was evolved from the age-old tradition of Orissa, of providing a Mancha for the musicians during festivities and performances.

This was designed as a prototype model for Jatra halls of permanent or semi-permanent nature, the necessity of which is so acutely felt in our state, because almost all the various types of Orissa's dramatic arts need an acting area in the centre with spectators around it.

Prekshya Anantanageswara.jpgThe detailed architectural design had been presented by me to the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi for three types of such theatre halls i.e. open sky, flat terraced and dome-shaped roof, for submission to Government.

The seating arrangement around the state with clear passage for movement ofspectators, was designed after the petals of the flower.

















Mancha Amrapally.jpg3. MANCHA AMRAPALI (1964)

Open-sky, multi-tiered, panoramic stage was designed and executed for Kumar Ustsav Samiti, Cuttack, after the unsurpassed success in 1963. The design although followed the pattern of Mancha Himalaya, had several stylised variations.

The composite programme included Baishnaba Pani's verse drama "Karnabadha" and the dance drama "Amarapali". The dance drama "Amrapali" with sixty dancers,includedtop-notchers like Sanjukta Panigrahi and Kumkum Das together. There were spectacular sequences in the dance drama having thirty-five dancers dancing at different levels at a time.

It is on this occasion of Kumar Utsava celebration of 1964 that ignited the spark and heralded the dawn of resurrection and revival of the memory of late Ganakavi Baisnaba Pani and the traditional Jatra of Orissa by presenting his "Karnabadha" with a cast of artists, singers and musicians, the names of which will be an envy for all times.







Mancha Mausumi.jpg


This was a three-tiered stage improved at the Janata Rangamancha, Cuttack in 1964 for the annual function of Mousumi cultural group. The tiers denoted Swarga (Heaven), Martya (Earth) and Patala (Hades) through the prescenium frame for a dance drama.




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5. UNMUKTA MANCHA (1964, 1965)

This Unmukta Mancha was designed with no wings, no curtains, no back drop, in order to break the convention that these are actually not the absolute necessities for any performance. This was designed for Collegiate School, Cuttack for their annual function but has since been followed everywhere which saves a lot of botherations.



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This design was suggested for the Kalashri Theatre, Cuttack for their long and very narrow strip of available land. The auditorium would have been on both opposite sides of the stage which would have enabled to conduct functions of varied nature with a special feature. The green room was designed to be located underground under the stage.

Although this design was not executed, the idea of having the greenroom underground to save space has since been adopted by Kala Vikash Kendra, Cuttack.





Open-sky, wide angled stage designed and executed for the Y.M.C.A carnival at Cuttack in 1964.

The angle ACB was widened by removing the proscenium poles at A & B and shifting the tormentors to D and E. This arrangement avoided the waste of available space located at the sides of the field. The sight lines were extended and the auditorium which otherwise would have been limited within the extended and the auditorium which otherwise would have been limited within the extended line FA and GB, accommodated much more number of seats, all within the sight lines.

The same method was adopted to rectify the design of the stage for Eastern zonal cultural convention in 1976.



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8. VIRATA PREKSHYA (since 1966)

Open-sky, multi-levelled, panoramic, all-open, giant amphi-theatre, improvised out of a neglected huge, open field at the fort Barabati, Cuttack for Sanskruti Vihar, to celebrate the annual national festival Kartika Utsava (Bali Jatra).

While the entire field of 500 feet by 200 feet including a high embankment road and trees, formed the acting area located on the inner side of the Gada Khai (for channel), the other side which is about six feet higher formed the space for spectators. The entire field is lighted by a chain of floodlights, spot lights and apron lights. No poles are fixed anywhere in the field and the cables for light and mike are carried underground there-by not distorting the spectacle in any manner.

While two raised wooden platforms are placed in the field, close to the water channel and 100 feet apart from each other for the speaking characters, the entire field all around turns into the acting area for running, fighting, pageantry and corresponding flash-back sequences.

Real horse-drawn chariots, elephants, fire works, mock battle scenes, are used in the play. A spectacular sequence of torch light pageantry is introduced at the climax in the shape of a giant size boat, the symbol for Kartik Utsav in Orissa.

The water channel of fort Barabati which serves as a natural barrier between the spectators and the acting area, not only highlights the production by a total reflection of the entire show but also helps in acaustics.

Besides many other highlights, it was here that the biggest ever freeze sequence consisting over 50 artists, lasting for about an hour, was introduced in 1966 (repeated in 1968) during the play Virata Godhana Harana by Baisnaba Pani. Usually Baisnaba Pani's verse-dramas are regularly presented here every year for a record crowd of spectators over 35,000 at a time each time.

This spectacular giant production is unique and has no parallel in the drama world.

Except in the 1975, where no play could be presented because some trees had been planted within this field the production is repeated every year on the full-moon day of Kartik.



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Open air grove theatre (Vistavision).

This is nothing but just a long platform with two corners raised in the middle of spectators within a mango grove. This was specially designed for Sanskruti Vihar, Cuttack during the Raja Utsava (Festival of Swings) in 1967. No poles were used and the lighting was done overhead through the branches of the trees. This design was executed to stop the indoor methods of celebrating Raja Utsava in a closed auditorium with a symbolic swing hung from the grid in the middle of the stage.

There was no green room. True to the traditional convention of Saja Baja during the Raja Utsava, all the artists were asked to come with make up and costume from their homes and take their places anywhere in the auditorium until their roles come. The programme was conducted by a master of ceremony who sat with a microphone 30 feet away from the central stage along with the spectators. The play was Tarunyara Bidroha by Shri Manamohan Mishra depicting the youth unrest in an unique manner.

The topography of this site has since been changed with few trees uprooted by cyclone and with the construction of a shed and an auditorium over half of the area by another cultural institution.



Mancha Maitry.jpg

10. MANCHA MAITRY (1967)

This design was made to avoid the existing bad sight-lines of Rabindra Mandapa, Bhubaneswar, and to accomodate more seats. Each seat was good because everything was visible to every spectator without nodding the neck.

The apron of Rabindra Mandap was extended into the auditorium with an additional improvised wooden structure. The entire play 'ANDHAJUGA' by Dr. Mahatab was enacted in front of the front curtain which was used as the back drop. The existing two side opening were used for entry and exit of characters. Some characters came from the main gate the through the spectators.

This was produced by Bhubaneswar Kala Kendra in 1967.





11. LAGNA (1969)

This was designed as a panoramic, single-zone production for the play 'LAGNA' produced by the students of Agriculture University, Bhubaneswar in 1969.

An existing curved high verandah of 60 feet long projecting into the field was improvised to form the acting area of the play in its totality, to form a sitting room-cum-verandah of a bungalow. The entire space was used as a single zone for lighting as well as acting. Now this place has been converted into an open-air theatre.



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Through Sanskruti Vihar, Cuttack presented a verse-drama of Baisnab Pani every year at the improvised Virata Prekshya within the Barabati fort grounds since 1966, in the year 1970 a verse drama "BALI JATRA" was presented during the Bali Jatra, specially written keeping simultaneous acting in three stages in view.

Keeping to the inimitable style of Virata Prekshya, the design for Bali Jatra had three raised wooden platforms instead of the usual two, each 50 feet apart from the other.

All other spectacular highlights including the boat-shaped torch light pageantry was also introduced in the play Bali Jatra written by the author.

* Article withblocks :
Courtesy-Kala Vikash Kendra Cuttack, (Silver Jublie Journal, 1977)




Jatra The Peoples Theatre of Orissa..jpg




The word Jatra in Oriya, corresponds to the Sanskrit word Yatra. It happens to be the equivalent term for the English word Theatre. It is very interesting to note that these words and the corresponding words in other languages of the world have a close phonetical affinity in their pronounciations also thereby proving to have a common origin. The Oriya word Jatra has come from Prakrut. According to Sanskrit grammar, Prakrut words starting with the alphabet 'Ja' are required to be pronounced as 'Ya'("Adye Ja, Yah" etc). The word Jatra or Yatra has several meanings according to the lexicon such as Journey, Festivaland Theatre etc. Since this word in Sanskrit is pronounced as Yatra, there has been some difference of openion as regards the origin of this word. Some attribute that the word Yatra has come from the root 'Ya' meaning journey. Some attribute it to have come from religious festivals but considering the Prakrut word Jatra with its root as 'Ja', we have a direct meaning of a story born such as in Jata and Jataka. From history we know that Bouddha Jatakas were very much popular for spreading Buddhism after the incarnation of Buddha, five centuries before Christ.

Justas Theatre happens to be the sphere of reproduction of enactment of histrionic arts, so as the indigenous
Jatra. A written play or the style of writting a play is not Jatra but it turns a Jatra when it is reproduced of enacted in an indigenous manner. Even in many religious festivals known as Jatra we see reproductions of a type of drama. In Ratha Jatra Sitala Sasthi Jatra and such others, we see a regular theme enacted.

The wold
Jatra never indicates whether it is urban or rural. However, after introduction of the English word Theatre in this country along with the style of presentation of plays in the western models after the entry of Britishers in this country the indigenous word Jatra has slowly been associated with the production of plays in rural areas.

Ancient Tradition

Orissahappens to be the only state whose history starts with the geunine documentary records of histrionic arts such as dances, combats, music, orchestra, festivals and plays. This is evident from the rock-edicts of Chedi Raja Maha Meghavahana Kalingadhipati Aira Shri Kharabela, two centuries before Christ, which is still intact and preserved on the Hati Gumpha caves of Udayagiri, Bhubaneswar.

Emperor Kharabela, who himself was also an exponent of all
Gandharva Vidys (the histrionic arts) had constructed special Theatre halls within his kingdom for the entertainment of his subjects. His inscription, in its 13th line mentions the word "Catara" (sometimes read as "Jathara") which he had built throughout his kingdom for the people.

That the double-stoeyed Ranigumpha of Udayagiri hill of Bhubaneswar is a regular classical Indian theatre of the middle rectangular variety and had been built strictly in accordance with the prescribed dimensions and conditions of the Natya Sastra of Bharatamuni, has now been established.

That the entire Khandagiri-Udayagiri hills area was a Jatra-samjukta (Theatre-complex), consisting of various types and sizes of theatres, located at defferent levels, has also been contemplated.

(Book......"Jatra, the Theatre" by the author may please be refferred).

Orissa,thus has a great and very ancient tradition of theatre and theatrical presentations. Like theatre halls of today, there used to be
Jatra halls of permanent nature which were both hypaethral as well as roofed ones, located at temples, palaces and public places.

Through the passage of time, this State had come under the influence of alien rules for long long years and under the impact of the inflow, many forms of
Jatras must have been abandoned and forgotten, many must have been altered to suit prevailing conditions best but the wide and varied colourful forms of Jatras which have still lived and remained from the pangs of total extinction gives us now a glimpse of the glory that was ancient Orissa.

Age long foreign domination, low economic conditions of the people, inflow of outside influences, hatred of the so-called sophisticated, lack of proper patronisation and the tropical climate, all combinedly helped this indigenous Jatra not to prosper in a very legitimate way and because of this, Jatra of Orissa has invariably turned to be in the Open-Air and the Jatrawalas always await until air weather. In absence of permanent pendals for regular performances, these Jatra groups of Orissa today have become peripatetic and keep on moving from place to place to accommodate themselves for productions in all sorts of assorted available conditions. But as every dark cloud has also got it's silver lining, these conditions have also helped the Jatra of Orissa because at certain places, it has been able to reach fantastic dimensions in the Open-Air presentations which otherwise would not have been possible or thought of at all.

Music and dance have always been parts of the dramatics, as well as, Part of the life of the people and be it what it may, it is always the common people who have consistently remained the real repositories of a nation's culture, otherwise there would have been nothing to recall during the times of upheavals.

The people themselves form into groups and individual groups specialise in their reportoire according to their merits, resources and choice.

All items of Orissa's traditional histrionic presentations are completely musical having dancing and acting as prominent features in them.

There are items which are performed solo like the
Bohurupi, Ghata-patua, Mundapota Kela, Janughanta, Kalisi, Jogi, Ghuduki, Dhankoila, Galpa-Sagara, Kathaka, Harikatha, etc.,

There are items which are enacted in duets like
Ghata Kalasi, Dhoba Nacha, Sabara Sabaruni, Kela Keluni, Dasakathia and such others.

There are items which need four to eight persons such as
Gotipua, Sakhinata, Ghudukinata, Dhumpa Geeta, Nachuni Nacha, Mahari Nacha, Naga Nacha, Patua Jatra, Apsara Nrutya, Chaiti Ghoda, Pala and such others, Dhankoila Jatra, Humo, Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Jamudali, Gunjikuta, Maylajada, Banki-Jhulki, Sainladi, Baunsarani etc., and finally there are other Jatra items which need a team of twenty to sixty persons in their productions. They are the Leela, Suanga (Gitinatya, Gitabhinaya), Dandanata, Bandinata, Nataka (Prahalad, Rama, Harischandra) Paika Nata, Laudi Nata, Chhau Nata, Ghoomra Nata, Ranapa Nata, Karama Nata, Sanchara, Sabda-swa a Nata, Rasa, Kirtana, Samrada, Melana etc.

The most common Jatra:

The contents of the most commonly known Jatra of Orissa, with enactment of a wholesome play with full cast comprising all elements such as music, singing, acting, dancing and the usual conflict is fondly known in various sunonyms such as Jatra, Samaja, Lila, Nata, Nacha, Tamasha, Suanga and Jatra.

'Jatra' is a derivative of either Jataka (story) or Jatra (Theatre), Samaja stands for a play. Though Leela denotes playing the deeds of characters, in the sphere of Jatra of Orissa, it only conveys the deeds of either God, Incarnations or Great Souls. Leela never conveys the deeds of demons or evil characters.

Nata is a derivative term of Natya conveying dance, music and dramatics and the Nacha though straight means dance conveys a form where dance is prominent.

Tamasha is a word for play came to be used in Orissa under the influence of Marathas and Muslims.

In north Orissa a typical form of theatre had developed after the Moghuls known as
Moghul Tamasha While the pattern remained as that of the then prevailing play productions, both Oriya and Urdu languages were used in its dialogues and songs. Patronised by the Nawabs and performed near a Hindu Temple, attempts had been made for a peaceful co-existence between the Hindus and Muslims in this Moghul Tamasha. Latter on, it turned to be a satire against Moghuls. The characters used to give self-introductions, sing and dance as adopted by the olden Suangas.

The word
'Suanga' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Swanga', having its meaning as graceful acting. In Orissa full fledged verse dramas (Giti Natyas) or song-dramas (Gitabhinayas) or Dance-dramas (Nrutya Natikas) are known as Suangas.

Jatra has a great tradition of this type of plays. It is said that the great sage Shankara Deva of Assam who invented the Ankia Nata for Assam had studied the methods of mass communication through song-dramas while at Puri, Orissa, during the last part of 15 th Century. The great writer-sage late Balaram Dasa of Orissa wrote and staged a powerful play "Laxmipurana Suanga" in 15th Century, the impact of this play on the spectators was so great that certain customs prescribed by the play such as worshiping Goddess Laxmi paricularly on the Thursdays in the month of Margasira every year has become part of the traditional life in every Oriya house-hold to day.

While in olden times, each character used to give a self-introduction and sometimes the dialogues were improvised on the spot by the characters, these are no more adhered to. In the process of evolution, stykes of writing has undergone changes and the themes of
Jatra plays are no more confined to only mythological, historical or fantasy nut also include themes to suit the modern environments and conditions. While there were Jatra plays written only with songs, there have been attempts to write Jatra plays with no songs at all. But wheather it is with songs or without, loud orchestral music has remained to be a must with the Jatra of Orissa not only at the beginning or the end but also in every sequence indicating the change of scene. There used to be an inevitable character "Dwari" (The Door-man) which was providing humour throughout the olden Jatra plays like that of Bidusaka in the Sanskrit plays which has now been dropped from the cast, in the modern Jatra plays.

Jatra plays of Orissa have followed the pattern close to that of the Sanskrit plays with invocatory songs, dances, Sutradhar for introductions fairy dances or humorous inter-ludes for relief sequences and the chorus boys. Spectator's participation is an every-day affair in the Jatra of Orissa.

Inspite of heavy inflow,great
Jatra play writers such as Gopal Das, Jagannath Pani, Gopal Charan Das, Bandhu Nayak, Bhikari Nayak, Baishnaba Pani, Balakrushna Mohanty and Rama Chandra Swain etcc. of the recent past had kept up the flame burning of this great tradition of Jatra in Orissa which has not only kept up a rich heritage but also had enlivened the Oriya population with the cultural nourishment it required.

The production style of the common Jatra of Orissa :

] The production style of the Jatra of Orissa is absolutely simple with the acting area (stage) in the centre with spectators all around it. The Puspa Patha or the or the artist's passage wends it's way through the spectators to the distant green room (The Vesha Ghara) This Puspa Patha also serves as an additional acting area beside being the way for exit and entry of every character. Of course sometimes a character even slipsoff from this Puspa Patha and enters or exits from some other sides in between the spectators to add interest. The chorus boys and the musicians usually take their place near the stage opposite the Puspa Patha. There are occasions where the music party occupy a high platform above the artist's passage. There are no other stage properties on the central stage except a single chair which serves different purposes in different scenes. This chair turns to be a king's throne, a poor man's hut, a bed cot, a lover's bench, a tree, a hiding place, even a weapon to fight-with, as the story demands in different scenes, a symbol for everything as required.

With stylised gaits, ornate costumes, tuneful traditional music, plenty of dances, songs, conflicts and humour,
Jatra of Orissa has remained not only a mere place of entertainment but also an essential institution for learning for the people in general.

This legitimate peoples theatre of Orissa, the common
Jatra, corresponds to the Caturasra and Tryasra styles of playhouses meant for the masses as described in the oldest treatise on dramaturgy, "The Natya-Sastra of Bharata Muni" with acting area in the centre and the "Sopanikruta Pithakams", the Galleries for the spectators, all around it. Unfortunately with a complete reportoir of Round Theatre Arts in Orissa, we do not yet possess a permanent Jatra-Theatre where we can witness a Jatra play in the winter or in the rainy season. Even in summer, in the open-sky one has to ponder for a comfortable seat to enjoy a Jatra play whole-heartedly. We expect this absolute want will be fulfilled very soon.

In this article I will now speak about some of the distinct forms of
Jatra plays available in Orissa from time immemorial. It will not be out of place to mention that in some of the forms of Theatre, Orissa excels in outstanding showmanship.

Galpasagara (Ocean of stories), Kath ka (Story teller) and Harikatha (Stories of God):

These are all one-man shows, supposed to be the most ancient form of dramatics, each a bit reformed than the other. The stories are dramatically told with lots of voice modulations, songs, humour, actions, dialogues and occasional dances also. Simple costume is improvised during performance to suit the sequence. Self played musical instruments like
Manjira, Ektara, Ramatali, Daskathi, etc., are also played by the artists.


Mainly performed with two artists on a central stage, Dasakathia is evolved and nourished along with the growth of Rama's cult in Orissa. Gayaka is the main singer and his partner is known as Palia, who intermittently gives a rhythmic refrain of the words Rama je Jaya Rama je, Nabina Sundar Rama je, Jaya Ramaje. As the main story goes in rhythmic commentary, special sequences are dramatised in dialogue form, each of the two artists changing into different roles. Plenty of wit,humour, songs fill the sequences and the average show takes about 3 hours. Both the artists dress themselves in royal attire and beside the tinklers tied to their ankles the Gayaka plays on a pair of Ekaphalior Rama Tali and the Palia on the pair of Ramakathi or Daskathi. The Ramatalis are wooden clappers fitted with tinklers and held by clasping a pair in both hands and the Dasakathias are a pair of staight 'castanets' made of hard wood held in left hand and ticked together with fingers of the right hand to beat time to the rhythm. The usual themes are taken from mythology. Love, romance, deceit, elopement, marriages are the interesting features. The whole performance is punched with many social skits, humourous anecdots and adages in a pattern which distinguishes itself from other histrionic arts. In Orissa, more than 150 groups of Dasakathia exist today, out of which more than 100 are in Ganjam district alone. Dasakathia needs a small central acting area and no green room during the performance.

Chaiti Ghoda Nata:

Chaiti Ghoda is a colourful item of performing art of Orissa specially done by the fisherman community during the full-moon day of Chaitra month. It is said that Lord Rama had presented a horse to the boatman who had helped Him to cross the river Saraju during the period of his Vanavas. Hence they worship horse.

Each group has atleast three characters beside the musical accompanists of
Dhol and Mahuri. These three characters are the Rauta the Rautani and the horse dancer.

An image of horse is improvised out of bamboo and cloth, complete with a head, body and tail but without legs. The dancer enters into the cockpit of the hollow body and hangs it at his waistline to give the illusion of a rider on the horse, complete with straps, Performance are done in an arena without a green room.

Rauta, who is the main singer commentator, delivers discourses mainly from mythology. The Routani, in the role of his wife is the chorus and co-singer and dancer. During the performance, dramatic sequence are highlighted with regular improvised dialogues and humorous episodes. During the discourses, the singer also explains the text in simple language with similiesand quatation. A lot of vigorous dances are done by the Rautani and the horse dancer.sometimes a pair or more horse dancers join in, which turns the performance into a sheer thing of beauty, with varied compositions.

Chau Nata:

Chhaunata, although not a drama in its fuller interpretation, it is a specialised dance drama. It is famous for its most colourful virile dance, theChhau Nrutya, which is highly stylised and set to choreographic frame work. WhileChhau of seraikela uses masks for all its characters, Chhau of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balasore and Dhenkanala do not use them, thereby adding facial expression with body movement and gesture. While the princes and the Royal famililies are the participants in the Seraikela Chhau, and the commoners in the Mayurbhanja Chhau teams it has remained with the traditional Paikas of Dhenkanal, whose ancestors themselves formed the infanty men of the Dhenkanal Kings, before merger of states. Themes of the dance dramas are taken from mythology to folk tales. Chhau is usually performed during the Chaitra festival and except the sophisticated groups, all others use an arena for performance with spectators around.

The origin of the word
Chhau is traced by some, to Chhauni, the military camps of ancient kings. While others maintain that the word is a derivative of Chhaya (shadow) etc. According to the experts of Dhenkanal, this word Chhau is a derivative term of the word Chhai meaning body gesture seems to be more appropriate.

The vigorous war dances with swords and shields, the colourful, dignified yet intricate rythmic pattern of other dances, the loud yet melodious sound of battle-drums such as
Dhumsa, Nagra, Dhol and Chadchadi with Mohuri, actually brings thunderous effect to make the audience spell-bound.


There are two distinct types of Pala in Orissa, the Baithaki (sitting) and the Thhia (standing). It is associated with the worship of Satyapir, a God both for Hindus and tje Muslims and hence its origin is traced from the Moghul period, when all attempts had been made for the unification in faith between both the religions. But the form of the Thhia Pala which seems to be a developed outcome of Binakara portion of the age old Dandanata of Orissa has a deeper origin.

The word
'Pala' has been derived from the word 'Pali'. 'Pali' was a highly developed language used for the propagation of Buddhism after Lord Buddha. This language was mainly used in ancient Kalinga and said to be more universal in understanding.

The "initials" or the
Purba Ranga of a Pala play has a lot of similarity with that of the Purba Ranga mentioned in Natya Sastra. No other form of play production exists today which adheres so much to the formalities as per the Natya Sastra as that of a Pala play of Orissa. This justifiably signifies the classical origin of this beautiful form of mass communication media of Orissa.

As it is, the
Thhia Pala is a unique form of play presentation with a high degree of literary excellence. This is enacted by six persons who dress themselves in the ancient royal attires. The chief actor known as the Gayaka holds a Chamara and plays on a small pair of Manjiras and the rest form the Palias or the chorus. Among these there is one percussionist who plays on the Khol and the rest on Karatalas. One of these chorous boys, there happens to be jester or Vidushaka who cracks a joke for everything. The main theme runs in a commentary form, highlighting important portions in the real enactment of drama, each player turning into a charactter with dialogues. The Gayaka during his singing explains passages which are difficult to understand to the common mass with lots of simlies from other writers, therby turning the perrformance into a literary discourse. Intermittent humorous skits, occasional dancing with small foot works, turns up to three or four hours. Pala needs a central acting area and no green-room during performance.

Badipala is arranged where two or more Pala groups participate one after the other. These turn into competitions of showmanship and literary duels and it is left to the people to give the verdict as to which group is the best to get the prize.

Pala happens to be a very popular Jatra of Orissa, there are Pala groups now consisting entirely of female artists. There exist Pala groups who perform it in Sanskrit language also.

Daskathia Pala:

A beautiful form has developed in the recent times by the combination of both forms, the Pala and the Daskathia.

The highlights of both the forms have been so well blended making it appear as a distinct style of its own.

Danda Nata





Dhiren Dash

I am extremely delighted at the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi's sincere efforts to publish monographs on the histrionic art forms of Orissa, the first one being on Chhau Dance of Dhenkanal, and the second one in the series being the 'Danda Nata' of Orissa.

'Danda Nata' of Orissa has a glorious past and is even today very popular among the masses. It is performed for thirteen days every year with all its ritualistic significance strictly respected by its performers.

Unfortunately we the westernised urbanites of Orissa have little or no knowledge about what 'Danda Nata' actually is. They hardly know that their two most favourite dances 'Chadheiya Chadheiyani' and 'Kela Keluni' quite often enjoyed and appreciated for their inherent humour and human appeal on the urban theatre floors are but two sequences taken out of the context of 'Danda Nata' which comprises as is obvious from the monograph, of three distinct phases and a series of sequences with characters from mythology as well as from the rustic society of the past.

Our ignorance is however, no bliss as it alienates us from our proud cultural heritage which, paradoxically enough our western friends so much eulogise during their visits to this land.

I have little doubt therefore, that this modest monograph will enliven the spirit of the art-lovers of Orissa and inspire them to conduct further research on this histrionic art form so that we can provide enough food on this histrionic art for scholars interested to discover our culture like a Max Muller discovering ancient India or a W.B. Yeats discovering the greatness in the works of Tagore.

Pranabandhu Kar
Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi.


1. One of the little known facts about the cultural facundity of Orissa is the prevalence of a large variety of "Folk theatres". The Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, therefore, has taken upon itself a programme of publishing a series of monographs on the different forms of Folk theatre. "Danda Nata is its second venture and the current year's programme includes publication of monographs on five other forms like Bharat Lila (Dwari Nacha), Chaiti Ghoda, Prahallad Natak, Desia Nata and Bandi Nata.

2. Danda Nata presents the fascinating feature of a curious amalgam of tantric Buddhism, tantric Saivism and Saktism, and thus bears the stamp of a cultural synthesis achieved in centuries past. It has a common strain with that of Chaiti Ghoda Nata, Patua Jatra and Chadak Puja. It is performed in the shrines of Goddesses in some coastal areas and specially in Garhjats, the ex-State areas namely Bhatarika of Baramba, Sarala of Jhankada and Charchika of Banki in Cuttack District, Chandrasekhar (Lord Siva) of Dhenkanal, Hingula of Talcher, Kalapata of Angul, and Rankei Bauti of Hindol in Dhenkanal District, Ramchandi of Konark and Gouri of Nayagarh in Puri District, Samalei of Sambalpur, Danda Devi of Keonjhar and in many other shrines. It is also performed before Lord Gopinath of Narasinghpur in Cuttack District which is another interesting aspect of the process of cultural synthesis.

3. During the first three centuries after Christ, Buddhism continued to dominate the cultural life of Kalinga under the aegis or savants like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Maitreyanath etc, Till about the middle of the fourth century A.D. the Satabahanas, the Murundas, the Nagas of Bindhyatabi and the Guptas politically either dominated or influenced kalinga, Trikalings (Giri Kalingas), Amita Tosali, Kosala, Mahakantara and Kurala regions at various times. During this period, Brahmanic religion began to permeate the different strata of society. In Giri Kalinga and Bindhyabati worship of Siva became popular. Saivism flourished under the Mudgalas of Utkal ( 6th century A.D.), Gangas, Sailodbhavas (6th-7th century A.D.), the Nalas (5th-6th century A.D.), the Bhaumakaras (9th centurty), and the Somavansis (8th-12th century). The Kapila Samhita, Ekamra Purana, Ekamra Chandrika and Swarnadrimahodaya describe the everlasting achievements of Sasanka for his construction of the temple of Tribhubaneswar Siva at Ekamra Kshetra. The worship of Stambheswari was prevalent from fifth century Dakhin Kosala, Trikalinga, and Kantara (Western Orissa), under the Sulkis (5th-6th century A.D.) the Nalas, the Parvata Dwarakas (5th century), the Tungas and the Bhanjas (9th century) Viraja of Jaipur. The Vaitarani and Viraja Tirth of Mahabharat, Navigaya of Vishnu Purana and the Sidha Pitha of Kubija Tantra had flourished as a centre of Saktism from 4th-5th century to about 8th century and by the time Vital temple (about 600 A.D.) was built, Bhubaneswar witnessed a unique blending of Saktism, Saivism and Mahayan Buddhism.

4. Orissa was the cradle of Tantric Buddhism. In eighth century A.D., Indrabhuti, the king of Uddiyana organised Mantrayana Buddhism into Vajrayana and his sister Laxsminkara was connected with development of Sahajayana. A large number of Tantric Buddhist scholars such as Saraha (8th century). Kambala, Padmavajra, Luipa (10th century), Lalita Vajra, Kukkuri, Pita etc. were associated with Uddiyana. The grandiose cenception of "Sahaja", as the ultimate reality of the philosophical speculations of Upanisads,Buddha,Aswaghosha,Nagarjuna, of Vijnanavadins,Varayanists etc., and the human body as the abode of all tattvas,pithas and deities resulting in propitiation of human nature ultimately degenerated into a congloneration of sexophysical practices and remained confined to Guhya Puja. Tantric Saivism was the refuge to escape extinction. Thus, Nathism evolved round about 12th century as a reactionary movement against the erotic practices of Tantric Buddhism. Yoginikula tantra of Matsyendranath was the precursor of Natha cult and gave rise to the Yoginipithas of Ranipur Jharial (9th century) and Hirapar (10th century), two out of 4 such pithas in India. Nathism later transformed itself into Tantric Saivism by Gorakhanath. Its Yogic cult(Niradhara Yoga of Hatha Yoga) influenced the yogic philosophers like Achyuta, Ananta, Yasobanta etc. and also transformed the religion and philosophy of Lord Jagannath into a Buddhist-Vaisnava cult in 15th and 16th centuries.

5. The vast amorphos mass of population have, all along their perigrinations through history, accoutred their feelings and propensities, their emotions and bhavas, in a manner, entirely different, both qualitatively and quantitatively from the dominant minority. The different art forms like the folk theatre thus represent a kind of telescoping the social history of the peoples involved. They are characterised by an intense desire to live and let live and a collective consciousness which is both wider and narrower than the individual units composing it; wider in its fullness, potentiality, propensity and anonimity and narrower in its depth and perspective. And since they arise as a social product a cultural synthesis they reflect the highest common factor of the forces and factors that compose it.

6. We have no doubt that this monograph will prove to be of interest to layman and the elite alike.

Raicharan Das
Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi.


Danda Nata of Orissa, also known as the Danda Jatra, happens to be one amongst the most ancient form of histrionic arts of the state.

Associated with ritualistic services, Danda Nata forms an institution of dance, music and dramatics blended with religions, social reformation and an association of Universal Brotherhood.

Mainly an worship of Lord Shiva, the God of destruction of the Hindu mythology, who is also the Lord of histrionic arts (Nata Raj), this theatrical form brings into its fold a harmonious feelings of co-existance between followers of different philosophical doctrins, between political principles and sets of opinions.

Along with votive dedications to Lord Shiva (Rudra, Hara, Mahadeva, Shankar, Bholanath etc.) in a Danda Nata, the greatness of other Gods & Goddesses such as Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesh, Durga, Kali etc., are also equally invoked.

Similarly while the original participants in a Danda Nata were said to be only the low-caste Hindus people belonging to all other higher castes such as Kshyatriyas and Brahmins also participate in this institution with equal interest.

Unsophisticated as it may look from the so-called modern urban standard, this Danda Nata of Orissa has even to day as before, the maximum popularity amongst the masses than any other performing arts in the whole of the State.


The word Jatra is an indigenous term for the English word "theatre" and "Nata" is a derivative term of the word Natya which conveys a meaning of dance, music and dramatics.

The word Danda, denotes several meaning according to the lexicon. Mainly it means (1) Staff, Club, Stick, Rod, Pole, or Sceptre etc., (2) Punishment, Chastisement.

In this Danda Nata (1) A sceptre of the Lord, is worshiped and (2) The participants voluntarily bear self -inflicted penance.

According to very ancient Hindu philosophy, the greatness of an individual of this materialistic world depends upon his accomplishment of self control over his own Body (Kaya), Mind (Mana) & Speech (Vakya). It takes tremendous amount of practice to gain this control and amounts to a lot of self denials. Those who achieve this are known as the Tri-Dandis (triple chastisement).

Since this method of bringing purity of conduct involves a lot of punishment (Danda) to self, this performance accoradingto many is known as the Danda Nata.

The word DANDA:

There is however, a very interesting definition given to the orgin of the word DANDA. Because of the vigorous types of dances associated with the Danda Nata, it is said to have originated from the heavenly Tandava Nrutya Lord Shiva.It is said that once Lord Shiva was teaching a Tandava Nrutya to his son Lord Ganesh. While dancing vigorously he kicked the stage and the sound "DAN" emanated. Simultaneously one of his Ghagudi ( the brass tinkler ) was broken from its chain around his raised ankle, dropped and fell on the body of the Mardala ( the percussion instrument ) emanating another subsequent note of sound as "DA". Together, therefore the word DANDA evolved to get the blessing of Lord Shiva to associate its meaning with performance of dance and music with vigour known as "Udanda",

The time of Danda Nata

Danda Nata commences from the Chaitra Purnima and continues upto the Pana Sankranti (Vishuva Sankranti) day. These two months, Chaitra and Baisakha are considered most auspicious for the worship of Lord Shiva. Many religious treatise indicate that if Lord Shiva is invoked during this period of the year, the earth is blessed with good harvest, increase of wealth and all round improvement of the families and communities occur.
The invocatory performances of Lord Shiva commences from the sixth day of the Meena Month (March-April). For four days from the sixth day, preliminary preparations are made people make vow, some receive Hukums (Nostrums), through trance. Then for eight days the Jhamu Jatra takes place. The rest thirteen days of the month is meant for Danda Jatra.


In Orissa like the Danda Jatra, there are other kinds of ritualistic festivals as well, which are associated with self inflicted penance. They are the (1) Patua Jatra (2) Chadaka Puja (3) Jhamu Jatra etc. While in Chadaka Puja and Jhamu Jatra mainly the penances are demonstrated, in Patua Jatra, and Danda Jatra, regular theatrical performances are followed in the nights.
The participants in a Danda Nata invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva. They are all under a vow. It may be to be blessed with a child, to fulfil certain ambition, to get rid of sickness, seeking happiness in life, good harvest, even peace and happiness to all fellowmen.The total number of vowers are 13 and the number of days for the festival is also 13. The vowers are known as the Bhoktas. This word Bhokta is derived from the word Bhakta (Devotes). Drawn from all communities, the leader of the Bhoktas is known as the Pata-Bhakta. All the Bhoktas lead a very pious life for 21 days. They do not eat meat or fish nor cohabit during this period. The Pata Bhokta does not eat rice and lives on fruit-juice and snacks. Others eat just one meal a day consisting of plain rice etc. which they cook themselves and eat at a place away from habitation. During the time of their gruel, any human voice per chance brings an abrupt end to their eating for that day. That is why at some places they keep on beating the drums until the eating is over.

During the period of Jatra, all Bhoktas carry out different forms of services to the Lord and there fore they are named differently. They are as under :-

(1) Pata Bhokta
(2) Deula Padia
(3) Danda Swami
(4) Nili Patra
(5) Chandania Patra
(6) Gobaria Patra
(7) Danta Kathia Patra
(8) Betua Patra
(9) Dhupia Patra
(11)Chaua Mail etc. (Collected from Dr. K. B. Dash, article)


Ghata is the Pitcher

In most of the religious and social functions of the Hindus, a pitcher full of water holds a very important place. The pitcher represents the body and the water is the life. It represents the God invoked and hence worshiped with due reverence. After the function is over the pitcher is again taken into the water of a pond or river with due care and immersed from where it had been brought.

In a Danda Nata this Ghata is known as the Kamana Ghata. Kamana means desire and to worship the Kamana Ghata means to seek the blessing of the Lord for the fulfilment of one's desire.

There is again an interesting story as to how the pitcher came to be known as Kamina. "Kamina" happened to be the name of a Raksyasi (Demoness) with whom Lord Shiva fell in Love while moving†† to leave her. At the parting Kamina asked him about her fate and he consoled her saying that atleast once in a year the people of the earth will be remembering her. This Ghata named as Kamana therefore is said to be a symbol of her. (from Dr. K. B. Dashs, article).

According to poet late Bhikari Charan, this Ghata represents "Kalia", the consort of Lord Shiva. It is through her blessings, the Bhoktas are are able to take up the, self inflicted peanances without any ill effect. It is she who protects all and fulfills all ambitions.

A new picture is taken to the pond or a river and water is lifted, to the accompaniment of drums and blowing of conch shell. This pitcher is first worshiped under a banian tree and then taken out in a procession through the village and then kept in a hut (made preferably in front of a Shiva's temple), known as the Kamana Ghara. Twopieces of cane-sticks, representing 'Hara' & 'Gouri'are also kept near the Ghata and worshiped. A sacred fire is kept lighted up in the hut from which Pata-Bhokta lights up an oil lamp. Whle lighting, the Bhoktas yell with the word "Rushi Putre". Time to time when resin and myrrh powder is thrown on the lighted oil lamp,it burns up with a flare and the Bhoktas yell the words "Kala Rudramani Ho Joy".

A staff of the length of 6
1/2 cubits bearing 13 joints (representing 13 Bhoktas) and a piece of cloth tied to its top is worshipped. This is the Kamana Danda.


The entire party consisting of the Bhoktas and their collegues go around the village in a procession with the band of musicians. No specific declaration is made as to where they are going to perform "Danda" on that day.

Like the Bhoktas, some villagers (male or female) also keep a vow in their mind for getting some mercy from Lord Shiva. Seeing the procession, these vowers pour water and clean up the frontage of their house with cow-during water and hurriedly put up, floor designs with coloured powders and keep a jugful of water.

This indicates an invitation to the party.

Having received an invitation thus, the group stop there. After small preliminaries, the group light up an oil lamp and keep it on the verandah of the host and return to their camp.

At mid day, the party comes back to the spot and perform the Bhumi (Earth) Danda or Dhuli(Dust) Danda.

The Phases of Dand Nata:


Danda Nata, distinctly comprises of three phases.

(1) The Bhumi or Dhuli Danda (Acrobatics & gymnastics) at dat time.
(2) The Pani Danda (Aquatic feats) at day time.
(3) The Danda suanga (Dance, Music & Dramatics) at night time.
These three are the main, however, while taking out the procession or the begining of the night performance the "Agni Danda" (or the performance with fire) is also displayed.

The Bhumi or Dhuli Danda:

This consists of a lot of physical excercises and acrobatics. The themes enacted in short sequences represents mainly the art of ploughing, cultivation and harvesting. A few formations in human figures, pyramids are displayed. During these performances one Bhokta asks "How much paddy" ? And the other Bhoktas gice a figure which denotes, the ensuing result of harvest during the coming year. This performance of Bhumo Danda is over by the afternoon and the Bhoktas yell" Kala Rudra Mani Ho Joy" and proceed to the village pond for the "Pani Danda".

Pani Danda:

Pani Danda consists of aquatic feats. While the groups put up their performance as they swim and form pyramids in water, the musicians play Dhol & Mouri. Men, women and children gather around the pond or the riverside to watch this show.

After this performance of Pani Danda, the Bhokatas return to their camp to have their only meal of the day and to prepare for the nights performance.


The word "Suanga" corresponds to the Sanskrit word "Swanga" which means graceful acting. Dance is always based on music. Any dramatic performance consisting of Dance and music therefore is known as Suanga in Oriya language. In a Danda Nata like any olden Suanga, every character enters dancing with the accompanying music, gives his self introduction, description of what the character is wearing or supposed to wear, even a description of his gait and make-up and while singing he dances intermittently. During a dialogue also the dance actions are corroborated. In between the dialogyes both the speaker and the listing charactor dance vigorously. This pattern is a feature in every sequence of the Danda Nata which distinguishes its identity from other types of performing arts.


The presentation style of Danda Nata is absolutely simple as that of any common Jatra of Orissa except the fact that do not need a raised platform in the centre. Any open space or the village cross-road turns out to be an acting area, sorrounded by spectators on all the four sides. Only a narrow path amongst the spectators wends its way to a distant improvised green room where the participants do the make up, costuming and rest. Sometimes a canopy is also put-up over the central acting area.

The Accompanying Music:

The main accompnying musical instrument in Danda Nata is the DHOLA (the double-sided drum) and the MAHURI (the wind instrument like Shehnai). The other instruments which are used only in sequences of God characters are the GHANTA (the bell metal disc), SANKHA (the conch-shell), KAHALI (Clarion), the JHANJA (Brass alloy clappers).

Beside the above, other smaller instruments like GHOONGROO, GHAGUDI (small & big tinklers) DASAKATHI. RAM TALI (wooden clappers), Khanjani, Ghooduki or Dhuduki. Dambaroo and Bina etc. are also played by the characters themselves as required.

The "Bina" used by the character "Binakara" in Dandanata is not the type of "Bina" (the string instrument) known popularly. Here it is not a string instrument played by twangs. It is a Bow decorated with peacock feathers and in its string seven tinkle bells are tied. The player Binakara holds the Bow in his left hand raised and by jerks brings out the jingle in rythm.

The Place of the Musicians:

The musicians take their positions at a side of the open arena nearer to the artist passage. Sometimes they move to the Vesha Ghara (Green Room) to lead a character to the arena.

The drummers not only play the drums through out the performance but also demonstrate their own skill and stamina by playing the drums with regular dances and acrobatics in between the sequences.


Danda Nata is not a performance of a complete story drama. It has a chain of loosely connected conventional episodes with a central theme of complete faith in God. It is He who can rescue the earthly-beings from the clutches of evil. It is He who can grant happiness in life. Nothing happens without the will of Providence and so we must surrender to Him always.


Since Danda Nata does not contain a full story in its totality, each sequence has its own characters. So there is a series of sequence in which the characters appear in different Veshas and Upaveshas.

While slight vatiations are seen amongst the Veshas and Upa-veshas of Danda Natas of the North, South and West Orissa, the main Veshas like the PRAVA, KALIKA, SHIVA, CHADHEIYA, CHADHEIYANI, PATRA SAURA, SAURUNI, PARVATI, KELA, KELUNI, SABARA, SABARUNI, BAI DHANA, BINAKAR, KARUNI etc. are mostly common every where.

The other characters which are introduced at some places but not included at other places are NANDI, NARADA, GUNIA, BAIDYA, JAMBABA, DWARI, additional wives of Chadheiya or Kela, son of Chadheiya, BANA DURGA, a brother of Chaddheiya, son of Saura, BAISHNABAS, GUDIA, GOPALUNIS, KRISHNA, GOPIS, BRAHMIN, OLD MAN, NARADA, DANDASI, DUMBURA, & HIS MOTHER, JAMADAR, HADI HADIANI, SAHEB, DAROGA etc.

From amongst the characters of Danda Nata, it will be seen that except the characters of Gods or Goddessess, all others are the most ancient human species, nothing to do with the so called modern civilisation. They are from the lowest cadre of the society and the most down troddon. They have no materialistic belonging but yet have their biggest belonginfg "the deep faith in God".



The Pata Bhokta is not a regular character in the Danda Nata, but he in plain clothes is there through-out, not only as the Sutradhara or the Master if ceremony in a Danda Jatra.

On behalf of Spectators, he asks questions and talks to the characters. Sometimes he also recites a story to the masses. He also leads the first "Vandana" the invocatory songs in praise of all Gods and Goddesses.


The character "Prabha" which as a must, is introduced in the beginning of a Danda Nata, represents the Halo or the symbolic luminous ring of light around saviour, Lord Shiva's head.

A semi-circular cut-out in the shape of nimbus made of bamboo decorated and tied to the back of the actor from waist.

The character is brought-out only during the ritualistic period of 13 days of Danda Nata. During other period of the year if a performance is made for entertainment, PRABHA is not brought out.

At some places of Orissa, Danda Nata without PRABHA is known as UDANDA NATA.

Prabha ordinarily enters solo, but there seems to have been variations. Sometimes PARBATI or DURGA or KALIKA also enter with PRABHA, with their usual make-ups and costumes accompanying with the fan-fare of a Gods entry sometimes with the fire play.

These characters enter with vigorous dancing-sometime fall into a trance and taken back to the green room.

Sometime this (or these) character gives self-introductery songs. The Pata Bhokta asks for blessings, so that the Danda Nata performance os peacefully done. The God blesses and tells them to go on with sanctity.


This Chadheiya is the most important character in Danda Nata. He represents a traditional bird-catcher who lives in the natures bountiful. He catches or kills birds, sells them and makes a living. He holds a pole (Danda) in one hand and a nose in the other. There has been reference that Chadheiyas were Masks but they normally do not use makeups.

Scantily clad, with a handkerchief and head gear, he enters the arena with the usual self introductions and the descriptions of his gait and attire, accompanying with vigorous dancing.

With the Pata Bhokta asking him several questions as to who is he, where he had gone, the places he has visited and the purpose of his coming, the Chadheiya answers them all through his songs.

The Chadheiya, in search of birds goes and kills a peacock on a tree in the premises of a temple. This is a great offence because killing of peacock is prohibited. A snake bites him. He falls and dies.

His consort, the Chadheiyani enters in the same manner of self introductions answering to the questions, looking for her husband and atlast finds him dead.

She prays to the Goddess of the Jungle, the VANADURGA, who appears, sympathises and tells her that five types of birds such as Parrot, Mynah, Piegon, Duck & Peacock are the favourites of the Lord. The Chadheiya has been punished by snake bite beacuse he killed a peacock, that again in the temple premises. Deep faith in God will bring him back to life. Vana Durga exits.

After her departure, attempts are made to cure the chadheiya-through a Gunia (With doctor), a Vaidya (Village doctor) but all fail. Later a Kela (Snake Charmer) who by applying spell in the name of God Mahadev & Goddess Parvati brings the Chadheiya back to life.

This in short is the sequence of the Chadheiya in a Danda Nata but there has been severals light variations and adoptations at different places of Orissa. At places they bring in two Chadheiuanis instead of one and in doing so, present the comedy of error and the misfortunes of bigamy through a lot of humorous situation. At places a Chadheiyani comes first alone, joins her husband, quarrels with him, patches up and asks him to catch a bird for him. In some places a son of Chadheiya, who is a spoilt child is introduced and at the expense of all housemembers opens up the secrets of the house-hold in the public to the amusement of all.

At Places, a brother of Chadheiya who is lame and ugly (sometimes) is introduced who, knowing that his brother is dead, offers his candidature to marry his brothers wife.

In some communities, the system of marrying the elder brotheís wife prevails after the death of the brother there by justifying eradication of the system of child widow ship and socially maintaining the same cordialities between the families of both boy and the girl.

In the modern times, at some places of Orissa, characters like a Jamadar (Policeman) or a Paika or a Chowkidar (Village watch man) and even a Saheb (An Official) is introduced who conducts an enquiry on the death of the Chadheiya, suspecting it to be a murder etc., introduced to expand the episode and give it a touch of reality.


This character from itís very name indicate a primitive character from amongst the human species.
Although the word 'Saura' is said to be an abbroviation of the word "Sabara" meaning a hunter, there is a tribal community in Orissa which is also known as "Saura" and in a Danda Nata, we have another sequence dedicated for the "Sabara" also.

The ancestry of this character Saura has been described by a popular writer of Danda Nata Jog Malika in his book. He has collected it from Anarya Sambita. It says, "A son was born to saint Kundalaka and his wife, Alakshmi. The child becomes wayward. He did not put on cloths and loafed around the forest with a hand shovel attiring him self with leaves. He lived on fruits and roots. He was a nomad. He had faith in Vana Debi, the Goddess of the forest, whom he worshipped. He moved from place to place like a mad man searching for food. His most important festival falls on the full moon-day of Shravana, known as Gamha Purnima.

"Lord Ganesha had presented him with a musical instrument "Ghoomra" which he plays, (At home places it is the Ghuduki and not Ghoomra and at places it is both Ghuduki and Ghoomra which the Patra Saura plays) in Dhaibata: Gandhara & Nishad, to entertain the public."

"Chitra Sena presented him with a twig of the black berry tree. (Jamu Dali) which he ties over his head to have his with fulfilled."

"He holds a cat which accoradingly meant to bring good effect when seen before starting for any work."

There is a belief prevailing at many places that seeing a Cat crossing your path brings bad news or happening. According to Danda Nata, it is a good omen to see a cat. Although now a days a cat is not held while dancing, it was a custom to hold a cat.


She is the wife of Saura.
She is an illegitimate child of this earthly world.
There is also a story about the orgin of Saurani.

Once upon a time, there was a low cast man named "Sankhua". He was once wandering in the forest. There he met the daughter of Sabara and her name was Kshyati. She was very pretty. This youngman made love to her and she conceived. Afterwords she delivered a baby girl. Since she was illegitimate the mother left her in the forest. Fortunately another Sabara named "Madhava" found her and took heer to his hut. The girl grew up to a beautiful woman and the Sabara named her as Shova. No body would agree to marry her because her parentage was not known. She was spending a cursed time.

A Patra Saura named Dhana reached the village and seeing her, liked her. They were married and in course of time a daughter was born and she became the Patra Sauruni.

The basket which this character holds and the bangles she wears are said to be presentations by a Sabaruni to her in the forest.

Both Patra Saura and Sauruni sing songs describing the greatness of God. They also relate mythological and religious stories. They quarrel amongst themselves and bring a mediator and have an amicable settlement.

To this sequence at places, other characters like the son of the Saura, a Vaidya, Father-in-law etc, are added to expand the theme.


He is the snake charmer. His role is to save the Chadheiya's life,lost in a snakes bite ,he brings with him a variety of snakes (sometimes real snakes are displayed.He knows all about the snake world.He is a great devotee of lord Shiva and with his blessings he is acquired the power to cure apatient from snake bite and give him back the lost life.Beside this power he has acquired other powers like stambha(benumbing),Mohan(causing delusion),udana(flying)and such other black magics.He plays a NAGESWAR (Wind instrument made out of guard dried)and blings out Sapta-swara(seven sounds)he also plays a Dambru(the favourite musical instrument of Lord Shiva)He displays snakes,makes them dance. He also dances himself.

This character as he enters like others, sings invocatory songs, songs relating to snakes, Padmatola Geet (song relating to Lord Krishna plucking of Lotus in river Kalandi), song relating to places, mountains, rivers states, as well as the snake bite cure Mantras.

To this sequence of Sapua Kela, sometimes, the caracter, of his concert, the Keluni, a son is also introduced, providing interludes of comedy, Keluni also administers tattoos, singing songs relating to it.


He is mendicant. This character mainly mentains himself from the alms he gets. Through out the day he moves from door to door seeking aims. He has no properties of his own except the begging bowl.

In a Danda Nata, when they introduce the "Jogi" as an independent sequence, his consort the Jogiani is also introduced.

The Jogi, after the days hard work of wandering from place to place, comes home and searches for his wife. After finding her he asks her to serve him food. She replies that he may go himself to cook and eat. The quarrel starts. A mediator (sometimes known as Manginath) intrudes, at first encourages them to fight and then throws them to sides and they run away.

In same places a group of Jogis enter the arena together, expose their identities and speak cut as to how they have found their profession of begging easy. It is not the detachment to worldly affairs and faith in God but their lethargy to work for food which has made them to put on the garb of fake Jogis. The sequence turns to be a satire.

There is an interesting story which relates the origin of Jogis.

Once upon a time Lord Shiva and Parvati were having a chat. Parvati told him that the name of Lord Brahma is attributed to all creation including the human species. Shiva's name is attributed to destructions only. So, inorder to prove for all times that Lord Shiva is also a creator. He should create a new species amongst the human being. Hearing this Lord Shiva smiled and at once brought out a real human being from his Yoga. He named him Hara Natha. Parvati said that without procreation this specie will have no purpose. So obtaining Shiva's permission, she brought out a female human being from her mind and named her Sushila. Both Hara Natha and Sushila were married and from them the the community evovled. These Jogis hold a dry shell of govrd as their begging bowl for collecting aims. They chant the five letters "BOM BHOLANATH" meaning Shiva which protects them from all evils (from Jogi Malika's Danda Nata).


Sabara is a hunter. He is a man who lives by killing of animals in the forest. He is a devotee of Lord Shiva and recites his greatness always. He holds a bow and an axe. He wears a turban tucked with bird's feathers and dances vigorously.

Sabaruni is the consort of the Sabara. She decorates herself with many varieties of Jungle flowers. She sells berries of various kinds through her Koli-Bike-Geeta (songs on berries)

Like the Chadheiyani, at some places she also sells birds of various kinds by singing songs on varieties of birds (Chadhei Geet).

This couple also quarrel amongst themselves and have an amicable settlement, patching up their differences. "Sabara" as a community, has a lot of emotional attachment with the upper class Hindus of this state. Mythology relates as to how Lord Jagannath was being worshipped in the Jungle by the King of Sabara. Viswabasu and how a Brahmin Vidyapati married the daughter of the Sabara and ever since. Lord Jagannatha is being worshipped by the children of this couple, through generations. A lot of Sabara culture therefore has been adopted by the upper class Hindus of Orissa.
The character ofSabaratherefore is a very popular one in Orissa.


Here is a character whose identity and purpose is shrouded in mystery. He is known as the BHAIDHANA in western Orisssa, which means "Brother Dear".

Late Laxminarayan Sahoo traces the origin of this character to that of a Gandharaba (a celestial musician) who having been cursed in heaven has taken life on earth. He is singing and dancing in praise of the Lord in order to get back to his previous life in heaven. Baidhana holds two bundles of peacock feathers and moves them beautifully as he dances.


The man who plays the Bina is the Binakara. How this Bina differs from other Binas has been mentioned earlier in the chapter in accompanying music .
This Binakar, while holding the Bow shaped Bina by his left hand at shoulder level also holds an arrow,peacock feathers tied in his right hand.

The artist dresses up with a redshirt on his body and a turban on his head and puts on bead necklaces.

Binakara is the most important and final character in a Danda Nata. He recites Sanskrit verses and explains its meaning. He narrates in song a complete story from mythology, glorifying the greatness of God and the virtues over vices. He answers various types of questions (all in songs) put to him by the Pata Bhokta (on behalf of the spectators). He also explains meanings of his recitations in prose if need be. To avoid monotony he gives similies, adages and changes the tunes of his songs. Intermittently he dances while jingling the 'Bina' accompanied by his consort, the Karuni.


The cfonsort of Binakara in Danda Nata, the Karuani is also the co-dancer.
Sometimes to amuse the spectators they have battle of wits, wordy quarrels to follow a mutual settlement.
The Binakara sequence is of the longest duration in a Danda Nata.
After completing the story, the Binakara sings the finale known as "Melaani" songs expecting honorariums for the performers. Finally the importance of Danda Nata is told as to how by arranging, performing and witnessing the Danda Nata, people will be relieved of the punishment of God.


Beside the above characters, many other minor characters also appear in a Danda Nata and it varies from place to place.

In a sequence on Lord Krishna (which is not necessarily produced by all groups) Radha and her friends Gopikas go for selling curds. A Babaji (Mendicant) begs of curds and blesses them. After selling curds they want to go back by crossing a ferry. Krishna in disguise takes them on a boat across the river Jamuna.

There the Gopis land in the garden of Kansa, the King of Mathura. They are fascinated at the varieties of flowers and start plucking them. The watchmen ofKansa comes and drives them away.

In Angul, they introduce this watchman to be a Mian Pathan (a Mohamedan). Written by rural poets, this introduction of a Muslim in a Danda Nata goes to reveal the influence on the societies after the Moghul rule and the peaceful co-existence between communities.

"Kandha" is a tribal community of Orissa. They have beautiful forms of "Dhangabada Nata." This dancer therefore is introduced in a sequence known as Kandha Kandhuni.

Similarly at places Baishnaba Sadhus also have been introduced doing "Kirtan" in praise of the Lord with interludes of side humour.

On the whole beside the imprtant characters, now a day, many new sequences are added in a Danda Nata with new character as a sort of novelty.

The Language:

A Danda Nata mainly consists of songs in Oriya. At places Sanskrit verses are also recited. Prose dialouges are very few and at many instances, they are spoken extempore.

Beautiful ornamentations are made in the composition of the verses. In most of the cases the writers choose to keep the first letters of the subsequent lines in an alphabetical order from "Ka" to "Kshya". Songs for inferior characters are in local dialects. It is seen in many cases that characters like the Lord Shiva. Narada watchman etc., speak in Hindi or Urdhu Language which can be traced to the impact of Moghul & Maratha rule in Orissa.

In humorous sequences, mixed language and dialects of Hindi, Telugu and Bengali have also been seen used.
On the whole in a Danda Nata, the language is fluid, simple and easily understood by all.


In a Danda Nata of Orissa a high sense of humour prevails in every sequence. There are battle of wits, mutual admiration, quarrels and compromise between the different couples in all sequences.

The Satires on fask Sadhu who makes a living on the religious sentiments of the people, on the Vaidya who adminsters wrong medicines, on the not so pious holy man letting off wrong blessing, the gags etc., cause roars of laughter amongst the spectators. The peculiar styles of vigorous dancing by Sadhu, the Chowkidar and other characters also provide a lot of amusement.

Full of satire on the practica side of a mere earthly being in almost every sequence, this Danda Nata reveals a very high sense of humour of the rural mass of Orissa.

Elimination of Superstitions, Untouchability, :

To eliminate odd superstitions and untouchability, Danda Nata has been a very powerful medium of mass communicition.

The No. 13, has at some quarters been associated to be a bad omen. In a Danda Nata there are 13 Bhoktas, it continues for 13 days, the pole worshipped has 13 joints indicating that 13 is a lucky number.

Also the conventional notion about a cat, considered by many a bad omen, is sqashed directly by making it to be held by the Patra Saura, who bluntly sings

Biradi Mahima Ki Debi Upama

Anukula Kalabela

Ghate Sarba Subha Na hue Asubha

Tenu biraje ta Kare

Hence a cat is not inauspicious.


Danda Nata thus, not only provides clean entertainment to the masses, it also teaches them the art of living, broad thinking and simple living. It inculcates a deep faith in God, the creator of this universe with a sense of devot on and duty.

Danda Nata is of the masses, by the masses and for the masses.



This booklet could have been a voluminous thing and the pages could have been profusely illustrated also if.......... I am trying to do it that way shortly.

This small monograph is just an introduction to the indigenous theatre field of Orissa I could have named it "Folk Theatre of Orissa" but the term "folk" is so much used to mean the opposite of the term "classical", that I have deliberately not used it. I find many of the so called "folk forms do have a so called classical base both in the style of writing and in its presentations. I therefore prefer to use the terms as Natya Dharmi (Conventional) and Loka Dharmi (Realistic) as per the Natyasastra.

I request the dear readers to bear with me all short comings in this publication and let me know their opinions.

Dhiren Dash

Dedicated to

the great Statesman & Connoisseur of arts.
But for whose encouragements, my efforts in reviving & projecting the traditional Jatra of Orissa, would have been lost in the wildness of hypocrisy.
On the occasion of his
83rd Birthday on 21st Nov. 81
Many happy returns.
Dhiren Dash

Books Referred :

1.Danda Nata by Jogi Malika
2.Danda Nata by Shri Ananda Kavi Chandra Rayguru
3.Danda Nataka by Mahadeva Kar
4.Danda Natara Suanga Geetabali by Bhikari Charan Das Kaviratna
5.Danda Nata Raghu Arakhita Charita by Shri Manohara Meher
6.Danda Nata Mahiravana Judha by Mahadeva Kar
7.Danda Nata Karna Dana Parikhya by Mahadeva Kar
8.Chadheiya Chadheiyani Suanga by Chaitanya Kavi
9.Danda Nata by Laxmi Narayan Sahu
10.Odia Loka Geeta O Kahani by Dr. K. B. Dash
11.Article on Danda Nata by Sri Bhagirathi Nepak
12.Article Bolangir Jillara Loka Nrutya O Geeta by Shri Narasingha Prasad Guru.

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Script :†† JHANSI KI RANI†† By Dhiren dash.


Nati and Sutradhara enter from the auditorium with a basket of flowers and the jarjara stick. They circle the stage and arrive the stage and arrive at the center, where they place the stick.

Eight dancers enter.


puspanjali rasau deba diyate padayastava offering flowers at your feet, oh Lord
Nirbhignam Abhinesyami natikau tvat prasadatah without flaws our play to you we present

Nati : Namaskar. Svagatam hey janata janardana.
Sutradhara : Namaskar. Svagatam hey nararupi Narayana.
Nati : Ab Jhansi Ki Rani gitabhinaya ki suruat ho rahi hai
Sutradhara : Ap agar ise sadarse grahana kare, hamara parisram sarthaka hoga
Nati : Namaskar Dhanyavad.
Nati, Sutradhara and dancers exit.
EnterEnglish commentators :

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. On behalf of The Evergreen State College, we extend a hearty welcome to you, our distinguished spectators, who are here to witness our jatra production.

Usually a Jatra performance is held in an open air improvised auditorium with the stage in the center and spectators all around. Now you know open air in the middle of winter is impossible in Seatle. Although we are presenting our Jatra in a proscenium theatre an alien home, we have retained the traditions and flavor of the jatra of Orissa in India.

Our story today of Jhansi ki Rani, one of the bravest women and leaders of the Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-58 as the British called it. The Indians now know it as the rebellion or the first war of independence.

Now,the queen of Jhansi was not aggressive by nature.It was only when the British threatened to annex her little kingdom that she took of arms against them. She was left no choice,and she died fighting on the battle field,felled by a stray musket ball from the better-equipped British.

The bards of india still sing of the valor and Virtues of the woman who held her own against themighty British. now, sit back and relax,and enjoy our presentation of The warrior Queen,the rani of Jhansi.

Exit English commentators

Enter dancers. VASANTA PALLAVI.
Exit dancers. Enter Nati and Sutradhara.


sunahe sujane ebe kohun jeun kotha

Listen, oh god Folks,the story we tell

Bharata itihasoro gotha

The glorious chapter from the history of india

Svadhinota Svabhimano birotoro bani

words of freedom,self-respect,and heroism

Deshopain pranoboli omoro kahini

Undying legend of sacrifice for country

pracino Bharoto kotha janithiba sorbe

You know the story of ancient India

Dhono dhanye sanskruitre poripurno bhabe

Rich in wealth, crops and tradition

Bideshinku akorshito kola ghono

It attracted foreigners again and again

Jutile asi Ingreja banijyore mono

The British came with trade in mind.

Enter English commentors.

English : We now tell you the story of valor and the struggle for independence. Ancient India was a prosperous country. Its culture was at its zenith and it attracted all foreigners for trade and commerce.

Enter 12-16 dancers


The land of Bharat is our Mother
Like a creeper of wish-fulfilment, it fulfils our wishes
We are all her children.
It is our duty to make her happy
The Himalayan mountains are her forehead
On all sides of her lie the seas
She has birthed us and she feeds us
Her civilization is ancient
and saints pray to her
This land of Bharat is the source of our happiness
that spreads to the entire world
we will, united, take care of her comforts.

While dance continues, enter upstage 6 British led by nephew. As the dance comes to an end, the British cast their nets. There is laughter, followed by merrymaking.

Enter Nati and Sutradhara pointing at the British.


Bharotoro basi sorolo biswasi jani Ingraja baniko .............†††† Knowing that the people of India are simple , British traders.
Bistarila jalo ei desho matire kori kopoto oneko .......................deceitfully spread their net on the soil of this land.
Rajyo pore rajyo kola korayoto lagai bibhedo koli .................state after state they captured, encouraging infighting.
Osumari bire matima sebare dei gole atmo boli ....................Uncounted martyrs gave their lives in service of motherland.

The British push the Nati and Sutradhara to backstage. Exit Nati and Sutradhara. Exit British.

Enter English commentators.

Orginally there for trade, the British settled in the country and started grabbing land, and then state after state. Many lost their lives for their motherland. Our heroine, Laxmibai, was born to the family of a courtier of the exiled Peshwa, Baji Rao.

Exit English commentators.

Nati & Sutradhara enter.


Bithuro nogoro basi Moroponto nama

Resident of Bithura nagara Morapanta by name

Monikornika tankoro duhita rotono

Manikarnika was his daughter (like a gem)

Baloko sodrusha skikhya dikhyare ta tamono

From childhood she liked to read & write

Oswogoje porikroma mono chono chono

Always anxious to ride horse & elephant

Exit Nati & Sutradhara

English commentators enter

The young Manu, as she was fondly called, was very playful. She liked spots, rode horses and wished to ride elephants. She also loved to read and write.

English commentators exit

Enter Child Manu with friends, father and Rajguru

Music only as the children play and Manu controls the elephants and is refused to ride it.

Moroponto, Manu's father :

Na kando Monu, na kando tuhi, ei tuchho kothare

.........Do not cry Monu at these words.

Kohun debi mu ajo, ei oshwogoje ghuruchhi mathare

.........I wonder where I can get you horse or elephant.

goribo ghore jonmi, ishworo krupa gheni

.........If God wishes, although you were born poor

Achhi jyotisho bani to hebu rani,

.........Astrologers have forecasted you will be queen

Jiba to byathare

.........your sorrows will be over

English commentators (offstage)

Don't you cry, my child. Your desire to ride elephants will one day be fulfilled if God wishes. Do you know that the astrologers have predicted that one day you will be a royal queen ? and that day is not far.

The children and Manu, father and Rajguru exit.

Nati & Sutradhara enter.


suklopokhyo soshi somano bikashe ongo taro the moon of the bright fortnight she developed.

oporupo sobha labonyo ki debi potantoro

......of her exquisite beauty what comparison can I offer?

Jhansi moharaja songote subho bibha somponno

......She was wedded to the King of Jhansi.

Rani Lakshmibai namore khyto hele oi dhamo

......She became known as Rani Lakshmibai

Enter English commentators.

And the prophery did come true, for she married the king of Jhansi and was named Rani Laxmibai.

Exit English commentors.

BATU dance.
One British Lieutenant enters followed by the nephew speaking of his woes.

Nephew :

sarili sarili bhai sarili sarili mu

.......I am finished oh brother, I am finished

mo manore asha sobu manore morili mu

.......all my hopes are now gone.

bhabhuthili oputrika mole ehi raja je

.......I had thought had the king died without an heir

sinhasone bosi muta marithanti moja je

.......I would have sat on the throne.

budhakale baha hoi rakhiba sontano ei

.......By marrying even at old age, if he begets a child

sukhno podare siya jiba mo sopono hein dreams will vanish like dry fish in fire.

The nephew cries.
British :
Be patient. You don't know what might happen. Be vigilant. We are with you.

Exit Nephew and the British lieutenant.

Enter King, Queen and Rajguru.

English commentators (off stage)

The Rani Gave birth to a baby boy. Everybody was happy, for now an heir was born to the throne.


Celebration is cut short at death of child.

English commentary :
But the happiness was cut short when the child died.

SONG (from offstage) :

Bidhiro bidhano kintu ke kariba ano

......But who can alter the course ofdestiny

matro tinimase mrityu lobhe se sontano

......the child died after three months

sateki podila bojro Jhansiro kopalo

.......a bolt from the blue fell on Jhansi's destiny

ghotigola ondhokaro moharaja bhale

.......darkness fell around the Maharaja

na thile putro sontano ke hoiba raja

.......without a male child, who would be the next kin

bonsho nasho hoba puni ke paliba proja

........lineage will be lost; who will look after the subjects?

Enter British and rejoice


Sir Hugh Rose and nephew

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Biradiro kopaloku chham kori sika chhindila

......For the lucky cat the hangar broke with a crash

choturo bideshi boniko dham kori jalo phandila

......the clever foreign traders cast their nets quickly,

paiboni rajogodi bonshodhoro jodi nohibo won't get the throne if you have no successor

ah, sate sohojore Jhansi amaro hoibo

.......aha! easily Jhansi will be ours

Exit British.

Noise of thunder.

SONG : offstage :

Raj dompoti shoke obhibhuto

..........the royal couple engulfed in sorrow

abori nele eko pushyoputro

..........adopted (to their lap) a son

matro chodoko podila ekale

..........But the blitz fell at an unusual time

svayang raja nije mrityu lobhile

..........The King himself died immediately after.

Enter English commentators

The King adopted a child in the presence of Major Ellis. But as fate had it, the very next day, the King died before the adoption was approved by Governor General Dalhousie.

Enter British (British music). Merrymaking and laughing into a roar, milling around.
Exit British.

Enter Laxmibai in a sorrowful mood. She falls on the ground weeping.


Doibore dukho pore delu dukho

......Oh destiny! thrust sorrow after sorrw

Ki papo koricchi muhin obhagini

.......What sin did I commit, an unfortunate person

Chhodalio sobu sukho


stripped of all happiness

kolu putro hora, puni poti hora


........first I lost my son, and then I lost my husband

byartho kolu ei jibono


my life is useless now

sonja sokalore ka mukho dekhibi

.........whose face shall I see morning and evening?

kipari bonchibi dino


how shall I spend my days?

ENTER RAJGURU on the platform.

Have patience Rani Lakshmibai
Accept our condolences
You are valorous! Do not be imaptient
If one is born in this mortal world
one has to die one day
who has the ability to defy this law of nature
Your husband? your son? mother, why are you brooding?
Look back, look back once
innumerable subjects with dire sorrow
with perturbed and tearful eyes
are looking up to you in expectation
if foreigners rule what will happen to them?
You are their mother
You are the Shakti, you are Durga, you are the shield.

Laxmibai (Hindi). Dialogue

Laxmibai gets up, inspired.

Mai ma hun? mai ma?

I am a mother?

is rajyaki samasta prajaon ki bharosa mai hum?

I am the anchor for all my subjects?

is jagatko dikhaungi bharatiya nari ka adarsha

I will proclaim to the world the ideals of Indian womanhood

griha laxmi, sakti svarupuni

The goddess of wealth, shakti/strength

Mahisa mardini, mata bhavani asrita

Killer of Mahisa, Mother, protectress.

English commentator :

The Goddess Durga arose in Laxmibai as she resolved to lead her people.

DANCE : She ascends the throne. Celebration.

panoto kanire pochhiluhodharo

............wiping tears with her saree

chhatire chapi koha

............pressing her sorrows to her bosom

Rani Laxmibai ghenile sasono

............Rani Laxmibai began her rule

dombho sahoso soho

............with courage and confidence

Enter all the people of Jhansi around Laxmibai & Rajguru.

anondo ullase hasila se Jhansi

Jhansi rejoiced in waves of happiness

asharo toroni dhori

............sailed on boats of hope

matro khyanosthayi parila se rahi

............But this happiness only lasted a moment

Ingrajo nela je hori

............The British stole it away

English narrator (Morgan) : The British claimed the throne of Jhansi based on Governor General Dalhousie's doctrine of lapse, lack of natural heir to the throne.

Enter Sir Hugh Rose and his men. They stop Laxmibai as the people leave except for her confidantes and the Rajguru, and there is a tussle.


Choliboni taha cholibani

That will not do! will not do!

tumoro sasono cholibani

your rule will not work

paiboni tume paiboni

You won't get, you will not get

Jhansiro godi paiboni

the throne of Jhansi you will not get

Potiboni, Rani potiboni

Won't work, it will not work

tumo koramota potiboni

your tricks will not work

rohiboni tume rohiboni

won't stay, you will not stay

e nogore tume rohiboni

you will not stay in this city

jorojaro jano joro jaro

you know who has the might

mulokati hoi thei taro

wins the right

dei diyo bhale dei diyo

So, give it

Jhansi godiku dei diyo

Give the throne of Jhansi

Laxmibai : (Ratna's monologue) : from the Platform

Nahin, mail Jhansi nahi dungi

No, I will not give up Jhansi




Voice in the dark

Ingrajo bochono suni, Laxmibai kohe bani

....Hearing the words of the British, Laxmibai retorts

Jhansi rajyo debi nahi bideshi hato

....I will not give Jhansi into foreign hands

Porano debu somore, sesho rokto bindu jaye

We will sacrifice our lives in battle, until the last drop of blood

kori na paribu amo mostoko noto

We will not bow our heads

dhiko dhiko Ingrajo

Shame on you, British

Obilombe nische jiba tumo pohija

Soon your hypocrisy will be wiped out.

BALLET and British (British music).

Sepoy Mutiny. INDIA"S REBELLION, WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. The British soldiers and the nephew run helter skelter.

Inquilab Zindabad, Inquilab Zindabad.

Long live the rebellion

British birudhe bidrohogni joluthila

Flames of revolution against British were brewing

somproti taha bhisono akaro dhorithila dhorithila

Now it has taken a serious turn

karagoro bhangi mukti lobhile jete bondi, jete bondi

Breaking the jails, the freed prisoners

Ingrajonku bodhile khoji golikondi golikondi

have started killing British, searching lanes

ghotila sipahi bidroho, proja kole meli, kole meli

Sepoy mutiny happened; subjects united

ubhoyo pokhyoru keteje dele atmoboli atmoboli

many on both sides sacrificed themselves

Ingraj phaujo polai gole nohin raha nohin raha

there was no alternative for the British but to run

Laxmibairo pashe asi sotru lode saha, lode saha

Coming back to Laxmibai, the enemy sought her

Enter Laxmibai.
British run to Laxmibai, appealing to her to take back the state.

English commentator :
The British General appeals to the Rani to be the caretaker of the state while he quells the rebellion.

British :

nio nio moharani

take back your kingdom, oh maharani

pheraina debo amako ehaku

please return it to us

magibu jesone puni

when we ask for it again

Enter Nati, taunting the British.

dekho dekho he sujone kemonto

look, oh good people-look how

bideshi bepari emonto

the foreign traders are like this

jaro rajyo taku dei puni kohe

returning the kingdom to its owner

sate ki nijoro jemonto

as if were their own

dhama pono tanko bohuto

hypocrisy, they have much of

(puni) porodhone bondhu orjito

making friends with others' money

badhyo hoi jebe, rakhi na parucchi

when forced to and not able to retain

sajuacchi bondhu samonto-dekho dekho

pretending to be a friend.

The British then expel them (exit Sutradhara and Nati).

Laxmibai :

tumaku jodi mu aji sahajyo koribi

If I help you now

Jatiyata badinkoro abiswasi hebi

I will be unfaithful to the nationalists

ontorghati hebi nahin desho matrukoro

I will not be a traitor to my motherland

prano rokhya payin khoja apaya abara

You look out for others ways to save your lives

Nephew and Sir Huge Rose.

dekhi nebu aame dekhi nebu

we will see to it, we will see to it

tuma samastinku dekhi nebu

we will see all of you.

lagai kousholo puni kala bolo

employing our tricks, diplomacy, power

harada ghanare pokaibu

we will put you in a jigsaw puzzle

Ingirajo ame ingirajo

British, we are British

doria pariro ingirajo

British from across the seas

kaliki paribo amo kala bolo

can you ever conceive of our tricks

nischoyo tumaku pane debu

definitely we will teach you a lesson

Exit Sir Hugh Rose.

Laxmibai, Rajguru and others

Ingirajo jidi soto hue Jodi

The obstinacy of the British, if it is true

moribe oneko deshobasi

many residents of our country will perish

dasotvo srunkhole bandhibe amaku

will tie us up in chains of slavery

poka macchi pari debe nasi

and crush us like pests and files

modo mari mari bethikhotaibe

thrashing us, they will make us do forced labor

amo dhono sobu luti bohi nebe

they will loot and carry all our riches

dahoko bikale chahunthibu sina

we will be watching in despair

mana mahataku sari debe

they will be trading in our prestige & nobility

dhoromo chhodai murukho bonai

depriving us of religion, keeping us illiterates

amo dukho dekhi hasuthibe

seeing our sorrows they will laugh

bela thaun thaun sabodhano hele

if we be careful beforehand

nirbhoye rohibe proja sorbe

fearlessly all subjects will live

English Commentator.

As the queen contemplated (envisioned/thought of) the results of British dominion, she resolved to save her people from slavery. She called all her people to action, including women.

Laxmibai, Rajguru and soldiers.

The clarion call by Laxmibai joined by others one by one. (Queen and all the dancers, male and female) (Shobha and Palit).

Jagore jagore jagore deshovasi moro jagore

Rise, rise, rise my country people

bideshi kobolu desho matrukaku, mukto koribo jagore

rise to free our motherland from the clutches of foreigners

jagore sromiko, jagore soiniko

rise workers, rise militia

jago deshovasi, jago nagoriko

rise residents of our country, rise citizens

dhoro ostroshostro, rone dhosi poso

carrying arms, rush into the battlefield

sire bandho aji pagori

wear the turbans on your heads

jago narishokti, nashi ei aroti

rise female power, destroying worship

samane peshiva agore

march forward

janaey jibono, rohu ma mono

telling of life, with firm conviction

sotrunko ghoudo agore

Drive out the enemies first

Exit all.

Enter British lieutenant and nephew.

ki hebe pati korile

.........what's the purpose of shouting ?

sunye kimpa prano jiba, misiba deho matire

.........why you'll lose lives and be turned to dust

dekho dekho dekho bondhu ei adoku dekho

..........look friend, look to this side

pherichhi ingraj dhori oporimito besho

..........the British have returned with limitless strength

pariba nahin yauku will not be able (to fight)

janitha ei kothaku

..........know these words

kiau micche moriaba

..........why die in vain ?

nian juddhe posiba

..........enter the field of war

shorono magina kari

...........ask for amnesty

rakho jibono natire

...........keep your lives safe

English commentator. The British asked the sepoys to surrender. But the Rani was adamant- no surrender until death.

Enter Laxmibai and female soldiers.

: nahi kabhi nahin, kabhi nahin.


kebe nuhen papi, kebe nuhen

..........never, oh sinner, never

atmo somorpono kebe nuhen

..........self-surrender, never

ki bhabhicchu tuhi Bharoto basinku

..........what do you think of the people of India ?

hebe matrughati kebe nuhen

..........become mother-killer-never

bhiru kapurusho to bideshi are cowards-you foreigners

dhormo bhoyo nahin abiswasi do not have fear of religion, traitors

moronoro bhoyo dekhai ambhauku

..........with threats of fear of death, us

jinibu ei rajyo kebe nuhen

..........our kingdom, you will conquer, never

shesho rokto bindu thiba jaye

..........To the last drop of blood

lodhibu ei kotha mone thaye

..........we will fight, know it

jono prano rohu mono ehi montro

..........let life perish, but let coviction remain; our secret course

Jhansi chhdibu, kebe nuhen

..........Leave jhansi, never.

Indian Soldiers fight British sodiers (drum).

Drum and fight scenes.

One British soldier reporting to Sir Hugh Rose :

toba toba jaha mu dekhili arey baba

My God, what did I see?

kano uthila dinu

From the day I had ears

ankhi kholia dinu

from the day my eyes opened

sunini dekhini ey probha

I have not seen or heard of such halo

ashva prishthe nari

A lady on horseback

dante rojjuku dhori

the reins between her teeth

dvihoste torobari

swords in both hands

saraga apsari

like the heaven's apsaras

ranara badhhauchhi shobha

decorating the warfield

bhobani namo dhori

chanting the name of Bhavani

nari saina dhori

leading a female battalion

amo sainyoku gheri

surrounding our soldiers

delani kete mari

she has killed many

monthono kore juddho sobha

she has crushed the council of war

auh kisa kohibi

what else can I say

ki kotha bakhavibi

what words can I use?

jaha koribo koro

do as you please

ethiku protikaro

to prevent her

ase mukulo kari gabha

Here she comes with her hair flying

Sir Hugh Rose with nephew behind him.

Sir Hugh Rose's dialogue :

You, the women of India, great is your unmatched fearlessness. For the glory of your motherland you fight undaunted. I salute your immortal ideals. But this is war. And do or die is the only reality. So, here we come.

Indian soldiers, Rajguru, British soldiers, Nephew.
Fighting. (drum)
Nephew falls.
Rajguru falls.
Fighting on.
Rani Laxmibai-fighting.
She falls as a bullet is fired.

Laxmibai : (dialogue)

ah! mera desavasi, ladho, chodo nahin yuh yudhakshetra

my country people, fight, don't abandon the battlefield.

ungrej surya ab dubhega

the British sun will now set

mai ja rahi hum

I am leaving

ah jai bhavani, jai Bharat mata

Victory to Bhavani; victory to Bharata mother

British close in on the dead body of Laxmibai. All bow together.

Offstage : song :

projvolita kori lokhyo prodipo one hundred thousand candles

udai gourobo bano

............fluettering the banner of glory

libila mahiru moha dipa sikha

............A great flame in the universe blew out

Rani Jhansibai sina

............It was Rani Laxmibai


English commentary: And thus lived and died the great soul, Rani Laxmibai.

Curtain call. All go around wishing goodbye to the spectators.




Sarbe Bhavantu Sukhina
Sarbe Syantu Niramaya
Sarbe Bhadrani Pashyantu
Ma Kaschit Dukkha Bhaga Bhabet

Dhiren Dash.


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