Tribal and folk song and music

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: Research |

Chhattisgarh is rich in its cultural heritage. Its own dance styles, cuisine, music. Pandwani the musical narration of the epic Mahabharata, “Raut Nacha” (performed basically by Yadav caste, this folk dance has bagged many awards at state level) and the Panthi and Soowa dance styles.

Teejan Bai, the Pandwani artist was awarded Padmashree for her contribution to this dance style .She is also an employee of Bhilai Steel Plant. Another Pandwani artist is Ritu Verma who is also one of the best artist of this folk dance.

The State has the endeavor to have a Sitar player Shri. Budhaditya Mukherjee has international fame. Similarly there are two National level artist in the field of Painting named Shri Asif and Shri Tushar Waghela who have displayed their paintings at various Art Galleries in India and bagged many awards.


Chhattisgarh’s most famous and popular folk plays are Chandaini-Gonda, Sonha-Bihan, Lorik-Chanda, Kari, Hareli, Gammatiha, Maopaata and Bhata Naat. Rahas is a modern folk drama of Chhattisgarh.

Main Dance and song of this state are:


Dahikando – Bastar

Sarhul – Bastar

Bhatara Nat – Bastar

Maopata – Bastar



Ghodwa Nach



Raut Nach



Gedi Dance

Gaour Dance



Mata Sewa Geet

Gaura Geet

Karma-Dadariya Geet

Marriage Songs




Dewar Geet

Bans Geet

Tribal Dances of Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is an undiscovered paradise, offering a tourist destination with a difference. Known for its exceptional scenic beauty and unique and rich cultural heritage, Chhattisgarh has always been synonymous with tribes and tribal culture. Over one third of the state population is of tribes, most of them inhabiting in the thickly forested areas of the famous Bastar region. The tribes of Chhattisgarh are known for their unique lifestyles and have beautifully retained their own culture and traditions for many centuries. The tribes of Chhattisgarh region are also known for their passion for dances and music, which are the most important amusements and a part and parcel of their day-to-day life.


There are innumerous tribal dance forms in the state but the most prominent dance forms of Chhattisgarh include the Dandari dance, Gendi dance, Karma dance, Panthi dance, Damkach dance, Bhagoriya dance, Sela dance and Nacha among many others. The famous Dandya dance of Gujarat is believed to have evolved from Dandari, the basic difference between the two is that in Dandari the artists use antlers of Deer instead of sticks. While Gendi is the only dance form in India that uses stilts, Sela is performed with wooden sticks or poles. The participants wear scintillatingly colorful costumes, ornaments and bright headgear, which from the most important characteristic of the tribal dances. To add more charm to already colorful dance performances ghungroos and tiny tinkling bells are tied to body, which create a heart warming musical sounds making the environment liveier.

Karma, the most famous dance of Chhattisgarh, is performed by both the Baigas and the Gonds. Other vibrant tribal dances of Chhattisgarh include Bhagoriya (performed during the festival of Bhagoriya when the lord of dance is worshipped), Phag (a sword dance) and Lota (a dance from in which women dance with a pot full of water on their heads).


Asia’s only arts and music university is in the state. There is a unique collection of tribal dances, songs, stories and music in Chhattisgarh. Panthi, Bharathari, Sarhul, Karma, Dadariya, Sua are the other folk songs and dances of region.

Folk Dances of Bastar:

Bastar is very rich in folk culture. Tribal of this area were confined in them selves and isolated from rest of the world. Hence tribal arts were unaffected from outer impacts. Evidence of this fact is clearly seen in folk dances and folk songs of tribal of Bastar. Tribal people have kept their originality in their dance, songs, myths and music etc. and in other forms of arts. Hulk, Kaksaar and Gaur Sing Dance in Bastar are preserved in its original form and customs. Apart from these dances and songs, traditionally rich forms of stage arts are also present.


Gaur Dance: Related with Muria Tribal people, this festival is celebrated during time of enjoyment, especially during new crop. During this festival, Maria young boys wear the horn of Bison, decorated with shells and dance in a very attractive manner.

Gendi (Stilt) Dance: Young boys of Muria Tribal people dance very fast on stilts (Gendi) made of long bamboo. Physical balance and skills are specialty of this dance. This dance is specially performed in and out of “Ghotul” (youth club), which is called Ditong, and it is a dance without song.


Bhandri Dance: Young boys and girls of Muria Tribal people perform various types of songless dances at Ghotul, which is directed by a person.


Hulki Pata Dance: This is also a dance of Muria Tribal people. Main attraction of this dance is its song. It is a group dance of men and women.


Kaksaar Dance: This dance is performed to please their Linga Dev by Muria Tribal people. Songs of this dance is called Kaksaar Pata.


Folk Drama of Bastar:

Bhatra Naat: Bhatra Naat is prevalent in the eastern region of Bastar, near Orissa border where Bhatra Tribal people reside. It is also called Oriya drama (perhaps it had come from Orissa). In this drama, men wear masks. It is men’s drama. Mainly Bhatra Tribal people perform this drama therefore this form of drama is called Bhatra naat. Bhatra is an independent language, which is known to be an extension of Chhattisgarhi and Halbi languages, on which prominent effect of Oriya language can be seen. Most of the Bhatra naat is based on Mahabharta, Ramayana and other PURAN/ETHICAL stories such as Ravana Vadh, Kansa Vadh, Keechak Vadh etc. Bhatra naat starts after completion of harvesting. During spring and summer season, Bhatra naat can be seen conducted in various villages. People came to see the drama from 5 to 10 km distances from other villages on foot or bicycle. There is a good number of audiences for this drama in Bastar.


Maopata: Maopata is second folk drama of Bastar, which is prevalent in Muria Tribal people. This folk drama is based on hunting in which all the events starting from going for hunting to safe returning from hunting and celebration etc. are staged. Usually when the hunter returns from hunting, they narrate all the adventurous events of hunting to their fellow villagers in a very dramatized way. Maopata is a drama dance based on group hunting of bison (gaur).

Naacha deals with all the aspects and colors of life whether it is social, religious, cultural, economical or political. No other folk form in India explores various sides of life as Naacha. Moreover, it is not related with any particular religious group or community like many other folk forms are in Chhattisgarh and India. For examle, Panthi dance is related to satnam panth, Pandwani is based on Hindu religious epic Mahabharat, Ramleela is based on Ramayan. But with Naacha this is not the case. It could be anything, any aspect, any color of life.


Naacha is a combination of dance, drama, song, music, dialogue and acting whereas in panthi it is only song and dance, in Pandwani music and story, in Ramleela it is acting and music.


Unlike theatre, naacha is very different in its preparation and acting pattern. Artists of Naacha perform without a written script and without any involvement of a director. Naacha is a very effective and powerful improvisation and the process of building up the character all the time. But the original form of Naacha is missing and is getting influence from films.

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Handloom and Handicraft

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: Research |


Chhattisgarh is a unique amalgamation of different cultures, natural beauties, ancient and modernity. Artists of Chhattisgarh make beautiful sculptures and are at the top of the marvels since ages. The beauty of art lives in the mixture of ancients and modernity. Most of the area is covered with rivers, hills and forests and in between the forests live various castes and tribal people like Gond, Maria, Muria, Abujhmaria, Halba, Bhatra, Dhruva etc. Each of them have their own customs and cultures, folk dances and folk arts. These folk-arts include metal art, handicrafts, wooden arts and terracotta that are part of their lives.


But impact of modernization has started bringing changes here. Sculptures of Chhattisgarh had remained a live tradition, which is on the verge of disappearing. Transportation facilities and increasing demand are affecting the quality of traditional sculptures are becoming modern. These tribal people are now producing new forms of arts, new type and shapes in the market, leaving behind its traditional arts due to which their decade old arts are changing very fast.


Bastar division is famous for its special form of sculptures in all over the world. Here mainly three forms of sculptures are found- Bronze idols or bell metal statues, wooden craft and terracotta sculptures. Ghadwa Tribal people make the bell metal work. The technique of moulding metal is called vanishing wax technique. The statue of the dancer found from pre-historic place of Indus Valley civilization was also moulded in this technique. They make the statue of idols related with their religious ceremony and livelihood. Statues are mainly of Mavali Mata, Bandarin Mata, Bhima Dev, Anga Dev and elephants, horses and birds. Such statues are also made by woodcraft. Traditionally, in woodcraft; a few things were made such as doors of huts, souvenir of dead (usually by Maria Tribal people), tobacco fillers and wooden combs made by youth of Ghotul etc. Carving on the wooden flats depicted the festivals of tribal people, scenes of Haat (madai), chariot pulling of Danteshwari Mata, dancing tribal youth, Tribal people taking Salfi and liquor, tribal people going for hunting etc. There was increasing demand for such artwork day by day and hundred of youth started this wooden work in Jagdalpur and nearby. They carve the tribal way of living, decorative materials and besides this, they started making sofa sets, diwan, bed, table and other useful things, which have big demand in market. They make things of daily use, statues of animals and idols of god and deity by terracotta or clay. Earlier they used to make agricultural instruments and wall decoratives but since last few years, they have started making swingers (jhula), nets, big wall decoratives and animal shapes of various sizes. The youth of new era have started making such animal shapes which depicts its expressions also. Demand of such artistic pieces is increasing in metros and foreign, but the middlemen who run emporiums in local and metros share most of the profits. They sell such beautiful art pieces just by weighting like utensils.


Terracotta: In Bastar region, making of terracotta is quite prevalent (प्रचलित). The idol figure of terracotta is worshiped in almost every occasion; let it be family and social events of festivals or any event. Habitats of Bastar are firm believer of the power of these gods, symbols of icons and they seek blessings from these gods. The tribal terracotta, made in Bastar region, caters the needs of all the near- by surrounded cultural regions like Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Terracotta structures are made in various shapes and size of pots and figures to meet the need of social and sacred requirements. Mostly human facial figure, animal figures, bell ornamented horses and elephants are made and are very popular forms of terracotta products in Bastar.


Wood craft: the Tribal people have great affection and skill for wooden craft. They decorate their houses and shrines with carved upright pots, door panels, ceiling frames etc. In Ghotul, Murias keep huge wooden drums, dancing stilts, musical instruments and carved wooden dead-rest (मृतक स्तम्भ) called “Kutul”. Young boys present carved wooden combs as a token of love to their choice of girls. Their beautifully decorated wood works include the iconographed figure of birds, various animals, weapons, human figures and gods. Muria Tribal people of Bastar have particular specialization in elaborate (विस्तृत, फैला हुआ, सावधानी से परिश्रम से बनाया किया हुआ) ornamentations of various items. Tribal musical instruments are made of wood with different shapes and sizes with designs carved on their outer sides. Ritual masks are also made of wood only.


Metal Art: Tribal people of Bastar are experts in bell metal craft. There are two traditional ways to make metal craft in Bastar- One is of bronze using Cire Perdue of lost wax technique and another is the by iron smithy. Hand made bell metal craft include the shapes of animals like elephant, dear, horses etc. of different sizes and utensils, ornaments, idols etc. These arts reflect cultural, social and spiritual requirements of the Tribal people. Families who acquire such profession of making metal handicraft are known as Ghadva and scattered all over Bastar tribal villages. In Kondagoan and Jadgalpur, there is concentration of Ghadva families. With the popular demand of aluminum and steel utensils, demand of metal utensils moulded of bronze or copper has gown down, but the ornament and metal-moulded shapes of animals and birds is continuously increasing.


Lohar (Blacksmith) family is part of tribal village. However, Kondagaon has got a whole colony of blacksmiths. There are many clans of Lohars such as Sodhi, Netam, Poyam, Markam, Marai, Nevra, Halami, Baghel, Mandavi etc.


Bamboo craft: Bastar tribal specializes in Bamboo Crafts which include the products like wall hangings, table lamps, table mats, etc.


Cotton Fabrics: Tribal people of Bastar are very famous for making attractive handicrafts made from Kosa thread. This thread is obtained (पाना, प्राप्त करना) from a kind of worm found in forest. The hand printing is done with natural vegetables dye. The fabric includes cotton sarees (known as Bastar Kosa Saree), dress material, drapes and other cotton materials.         

Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Jagdalpur are very famous for its terracotta works. Jagdalpur is famous for Kosa Silk Sarees. Work of bell metal and pig iron are specialty of Kondagaon and Jagdalpur. Narayanpur and Jagdalpur are famous for woodcrafts and bamboo work. Making of stone souvenir (सूवनियर-निशानी, स्मृति चिन्ह) is the oldest sculpture art of Bastar.

The prisoners of local jail in Jagdalpur also do handicraft art. There are nearly 300 local markets in Bastar where Tribal people purchases salt, tobacco, cloths and other things in exchange of forest products. Cockfighting is the main attraction of the markets here.

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History of Chhattisgarh

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: Research |

The Movement for Prathak Chhattisgarh

The demand for a separate Chhattisgarh state was first raised in the early twenties. Similar demands kept cropping up at regular intervals; however, a well-organised movement was never launched. Several efforts were made by individuals and organisations towards highlighting the Chhattisgarh identity and expressing the sense of perceived marginalisation. There were certain protests with mass support but these were limited and sporadic (छिटपुट, इक्का-दुक्का, कही-कही). There were several all-party platforms formed and they usually resolved around petitions, public meetings, seminars, rallies and bandhs.


A demand for separate Chhattisgarh was raised in 1924 by the Raipur Congress unit, and later on also discussed in the Annual Session of the Indian Congress at Tripuri. A discussion also took place of forming a Regional Congress organisation for Chhattisgarh. Sporadic attempts to give a call for a separate state for Chhattisgarh continued in the years immediately following Independence. In 1955, a demand for a separate state was raised in the Nagpur assembly of the then state of Madhya Bharat.


When the State Reorganisation Commission was set up in 1954, the demand for a separate Chhattisgarh was put forward to it, through this was not accepted. It was reported that the State Reorganisation Commission rejected the demand for Chhattisgarh on the grounds that the prosperity of Chhattisgarh would compensate for the poverty of other regions of Madhya Pradesh.


The eighties were a comparatively quiet phase in the demand for Chhattisgarh. The 1990’s saw more activity for a demand for the new state, such as formation of a state wide political forum, especially the Chhattisgarh Rajya Nirman Manch. The Late Chadulal Chadrakar led this forum, several successful region-wide Bandhs and rallies were organised under the banner of the forum all of which were supported by major political parties including the Congress and the BJP. The rallies of the all party forum were attended by leaders from most political parties.


Creation of Chhattisgarh

The Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh took the first institutional and legislative initiative for the creation of Chhattisgarh. On the 18 of March 1994, a resolution demanding a separate Chhattisgarh was tabled and unanimously (निर्विरोध) approved by the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. Both the Congress and the Bhartiya Janta Party supported the resolution. The election manifestos of the Congress and the BJP for both the 1998 and the 1999 parliamentary elections as well as the Madhya Pradesh assembly election of 1998 included the demand for creation of separate Chhattisgarh. In 1998, the BJP led Union Government drafted a bill for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh from sixteen districts of Madhya Pradesh. This draft bill was sent to the Madhya Pradesh assembly for approval. It was unanimously approved in 1998, although with certain modifications. The union government did not survive and fresh elections were declared. The new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government sent the redrafted Separate Chhattisgarh Bill for the approval of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, where it was once again unanimously approved and then it was tabled in the Lok Sabha. This bill for a separate Chhattisgarh was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, paving the way for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh. The President of India gave his consent to The Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000 on the 25 of August 2000. The Government of India subsequently set the First day of November 2000 as the day on which the state of Madhya Pradesh would be bifurcated (दो शाखाओं में विभक्त) into Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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