Can the guru-shishya paramapara (teacher-student tradition) help conserve India’s fast dying folk traditions?
A unique plan is underway in Uttarakhand, whereby the country’s centuries-old ancient academic custom will be employed to protect the region’s fast fading folk traditions of dance and music.
“Conservation of the dying traditions of music and dance will be carried out through the country’s age-old and sacred guru-shishya parampara,” said Beena Bhatt, director of the state’s culture department.
Describing the move as unique, she said it would help conserve the fast dying Pahari folk traditions. “All the legendary masters of Uttarakhand’s folk arts, most of whom are now in the twilight of their lives, will be captured on camera,” Bhatt said. “They will be videographed imparting guru gyan — skills relating to folk dance, music and painting — to shishyas (students).”
Legendary folk singers Kabootri Devi and Narain Singh Negi among others will be roped in to impart artistic skills in the proposed ashram-style schools planned across Uttarakhand.
“These schools will be set up in phases. In the first phase, six ashram-style schools will be set up,” Bhatt said.
The masters and their pupils will also get adequate remunerations. Bhatt added the proposed incentives would “go a long way in protecting the local arts that have been dying out for want of patronage”.
Monetary incentives will help ignite the people’s long lost interest in local traditions, Bhatt said.