Objective

 

BanabibiKalyanpur18May10 002The modern world is fast losing its connection to its roots. This dissociation is resulting in the loss of much of its traditional essentials. Performance is no exception in this process. A majority of the performances that we see today is the result of the western influence on Indian performance culture. Bengal has consistently had a very strong platform for performance and continues to have one now, but the dominant strain of performance is heavily influenced by European methods of performance. In the process, Bengal is losing its traditional modes of performance. Traditional performance has a long history in Bengal. Traces of performance had been present in the Buddhist era but it took a concrete shape during the composition of the Mangalkavyas, or the poems of benediction. The roots of performance go back to singing these poems of benediction with rhythm and expression. Since then, traditional performance has also evolved but has still managed to retain its connection to the heritage of Bengal. However, these traditional modes of performance are gradually being marginalized for upcoming forms of entertainment. Project Palagaan attempts to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Bengal by systematic documentation of these traditional forms of performance. The primary task of Project Palagaan is to trace the performers residing at various corners of the two districts of West Bengal. Field surveys are conducted to interview the performers and document the verbal data received from each interviewee. The process of documentation includes filling up questionnaires that include the personal and professional details of the performers and information regarding the enactment of the palas. Another vital aspect of the field survey is the collection of a number of copies of various palas. We also have an extensive archive that includes photographs of surveys and performances, audio-visual recordings of performances of Shitala, Manasa, Banabibi, Alomati, Puspamala, Kajalrekha, Lakshmi, Sashthi and Manikpir palas, as well as interviews conducted with the performers.