Glimpses of North East India in the capital

Shomini Sen

New Delhi: The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi is playing host to a unique theatre festival this summer. The Indigenous Theatre Festival of North East India, which began in Tezpur, Assam, is now being showcased at the grounds of IGNCA. For theatre enthusiasts, the festival provides an opportunity to experience something unique in terms of tribal art form.

The theatre festival is perhaps the first of its kind in the country where theatre, ancient ritual dramas and proto theatrical forms are brought out in the public sphere in order to make the public aware of the lost culture that existed. The organisers feel that that in the wake of modernisation, the essence of traditional arts is fading and it is important to find measures to empower the indigenous arts, which have contributed to the formation of cultural discourse in the Northeast India.

While the plays are being performed in the evening, in the morning theatre workshops are being organised for theatre enthusiasts. One can interact with scholars and artists of north east and explore the possibilities of expanding the horizon of north east theatre in the country.

A craft bazaar has also been set up on the lawns of IGNCA, where one can find craftsmen of the seven states, selling handicrafts, silk and jewellery of their respective region. So one can find tribal jewellery of Nagaland, sholar work of Tripura, cane and bamboo work of Assam and weaved yarns of Assam and Manipur all under one roof.

For the foodies, a wide variety of cuisines of the north east are available. Food stalls of eight north eastern states offer varied range of delicacies, which are typical of their state. A textile exhibition-Digh Bani- has also been set up within the premises of the IGNCA campus.

“The information provided at the exhibition is very less. It should have been more. I have stayed in Assam for more than 20 years so I know about the different crafts but others may not”, says Deepak Basera, a visitor at the exhibition.

He also added, “The food stalls are extremely impressive. Wide varieties of cuisines are being offered. I bought something from the Assam stall. I wish to come back once before it gets over. Also the people are extremely warm, chatted up to couple of them!”

The theatre festival is on till 30 April and the food festival is on till 10th April.

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