A Brief Study Of Music, Folk Dances & Festivals Of Northeast India

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  • 1.A Brief Study Of Music, Folk Dances & Festivals Of Northeast IndiaSubmitted To :Submitted By : Lalit Chauhan Shubham Kulshrestha Bhavya Ahuja

2. Northeast India is the eastern-most region of India connected to East India via a narrow corridor squeezed between Nepal and Bangladesh. It comprises the contiguous Seven Sister StatesArunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripur aand the Himalayan state of Sikkim. These states are grouped under the MDONER ministry of the Government of India. Except for the Goalpara region of Assam, the rest were late entrants to political Indiathe Brahmaputra valley of Assam became a part of British India 1824, and the hilly regions even later. Sikkim was recognised as a part of North-East states in the 1990s. The Siliguri Corridor in West Bengal, with an average width of 21 to 40 kilometres (13 to 25 mi), connects the North Eastern region with the mainland Indian sub-continent. The region shares more than 4,500 kilometres (2,800 mi) of international border (about 90 per cent of its entire border area) with China (South Tibet) in the north, Myanmar in the east, Bangladesh in the southwest, and Bhutan to the northwest. 3. FORMATION OF NORTH EASTERN STATES In the early 19th century, both the Ahom and the Manipur kingdoms fell to a Burmese invasion. The ensuing First Anglo-Burmese War resulted in the entire region coming under British control. In the colonial period (1826-1947), North East India was a part of Bengal Province from 1939 to 1873, when Assam became its own province. After the Indian Independence from British Rule in 1947, the Northeastern region of British Indiaconsisted of Assam and the princely states of Manipur and Tripura. Subsequently, Nagaland in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972, Arunachal Pradesh in 1975(Capital changed to Itanagar) (actually formed on 20 Feb, 1987) and Mizoram in 1987 were formed out of Assam. Manipur and Tripura remained as Union Territories of India between 1956 until 1972 when they attained fully-fledged statehood. Sikkim was integrated as the eighth North Eastern state in 2002. The city of Shillong acted as the capital of the Assam province created during the British Rule. It remained as the capital of undivided Assam until formation of the state of Meghalaya in 1972. The capital of Assam was then shifted to Dispur, a part of Guwahati, and Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya. 4. GEOGRAPHYThe Northeast region can be physiographically categorised into the Eastern Himalayas, Northeast Hills (Patkai-Naga Hills and Lushai Hills) and the Brahmaputra and the Barak Valley Plains. Northeast India (at the confluence of Indo-Malayan, Indo-Chinese, and Indian biogeographical realms) has a predominantly humid sub-tropical climate with hot, humid summers, severe monsoons and mild winters. Along with the west coast of India, this region has some of the Indian sub-continent's last remaining rain forests which supports diverse flora and fauna and several crop species. Similarly, reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the region constitute a fifth of India's total potential. The region is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra-Barak river systems and their tributaries. Geographically, apart from the Brahmaputra, Barak and Imphal valleys and some flat lands in between the hills ofMeghalaya and Tripura, the remaining two-thirds of the area is hilly terrain interspersed with valleys and plains; the altitude varies from almost sea-level to over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) above MSL. The region's high rainfall averaging around 10,000 millimetres (390 in) and above creates problems of eco system, high seismic activity and floods. The states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have a montane climate with cold, snowy winters and mild summers. 5. THE SEVEN SISTER STATES 6. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES Music & dance are an integral part of every festival and occasion, taking place in Arunachal Pradesh in the northeastern part of India. Every festival is ceremonialised with much fun & fair, which also includes music and dance. The fold dance of Arunachal Pradesh are generally accompanied by traditional musical performed in groups. The people of Arunachal dance on important rituals, events, during festivals and also for recreation. Both men and women participate in the dance and music performances. In Arunachal Pradesh, an organized group of tribal performers perform dances, plays, musical scripts and dance dramas, based on stories of Lord Buddha. The dancers wear masks of demons or animals, as described in the tales of Buddha, along with splendid costumes. These dances are mostly performed in monasteries. 7. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES The folk dance of Assam is called 'Bihu'. Every Assamese, young or old, rich or poor, takes delight in the dance, which forms a part of the Bihu festival. The festival comes in mid-April, during the harvesting time (which lasts for a month). During the day, all young men and young girls gather and dance together (though they do not mix-up much), to the tunes of drums and pipes, along with love songs. The dances are performed either in circles or parallel rows. 8. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES Manipur presents a wide spectrum of music and classical dance form, which are best way to revive and refresh the daily monotonous lifestyle of the people. Both hill and valley people of Manipur are very fond of songs and music. Mostly, all the folk dances are accompanied with songs, which are supported by distinct traditional musical instruments of Manipur The Thang-ta dance of Manipur was an evolution from the martial arts exercises encouraged by the kings of Manipur. The dance is exciting in nature and is performed by young men holding swords and shields. One of the instruments that dominate Manipuri dances is the drum. Dhol Cholom, a drum dance, is one of the dances performed during Holi. 9. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES Meghalaya is the home of famous music and dance forms of North East India. The dances are associated with their festivals or seasons and hence enjoyed round the year. The dances are social, religious, agricultural, funeral and recreational. The land resounds the sound of perfect tempo, beautiful songs and traditional instruments. The dances of Meghalaya are mostly held under the open sky. The Garo community usually sing folk songs associating to birth, festivals, marriage, love and heroic deeds along with the beats of various types of drums and flutes. The Khasis and Jaintias are generally fond of songs praising the nature around them. To celebrate the remembrance of the evolution of Khasis and their indigenous democratic state called Hima, 'Nongkrem' dance is performed in Meghalaya, during autumn. The Khasis are a tribe of Meghalaya, who also celebrate the ripening of paddy for threshing, by dances and songs. The folk dances capture the movements of everyday life as well as animals and birds. 10. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES The music and dance of Mizoram are basically performed during the religious festival time. Most of the dance and music of Mizoram are performed in groups. Both men & women participate in the performance of Dance and Music. The cheerful mood of the Mizos are expressed through their love for music. The drum and the gong are two traditional musical instrument of the Mizos in the state of Mizoram. The theme would mostly be narration of some events or praise of some hero or former villages, description of some hunt or simply of love. Bamboo Dance is the most colourful and distinct dance of the Mizos. 11. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES The dances of the Nagas portray a sense of fun and zest in their life. Harvesting season is main celebration time for all the Naga tribes, which they rejoice through the performance of various dances. Then, there are other occasions on which the dances are performed. The characteristic feature of all Naga dancing is the use of an erect posture, with many movements of the legs and comparatively little use of the torso and shoulders. 12. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES Famous Music and classical dance are an essential part of the Tripuris. Garia dances are held for the wealth & welfare of the people; dances of the Reang community; 'Bizu' dances performed the Chakma community denoting the end of the Bengali calendar year; 'Hai Hak' dances of the Halams and the Cheraw dance related with the confinement of Lusai woman, are examples. 'Basanta Raas' is the enchanting dance of the Hindu Manipuris, residing in Tripura 13. MUSIC & FOLK DANCES In Sikkim, the men are attracted more towards the monastic style of dancing, while the women have their own folk dance style. The dances of Sikkim are different than those of Indian traditions. Masks used in dances are something close to Indian cultural dances. Folk dances and songs are an ingrained part of Sikkimese culture. Most of the cultural dances related to the amazing beauty of the natural surroundings, some signifies the harvest season and others are performed for welfare. Many of the musical instruments that accompany the dances are unique to Sikkim. Almost all the dances are accompanied by the musical instruments.

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