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Centre to revive indigenous Goan culture to counter Portuguese influence

It has set up a regional chapter of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in the coastal state to promote ‘original’ cultural heritage of the erstwhile Portuguese colony.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2017 15:31 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Goan culture,Goa,Portuguese colony
The Centre has decided to revive indigenous culture of Goa to counter Portuguese influence on the coastal state, a popular tourist destination. (Shutterstock )

The Centre has set up a regional chapter of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in Goa to promote local indigenous culture to counter Portuguese cultural influence on the state.

An IGNCA team was in Goa on September 29 to set up its regional centre there.

The centre will try to revive dying folklores, dance, songs and other form of intangible cultural heritage of the erstwhile Portuguese colony and will preserve and documented them for future generations.

Portuguese ruled Goa from 1510 to 1961. Having been a territory of the European colonial power for over four and a half centuries, Goa is generally served to the domestic and foreign tourists as a place of Portuguese culture.

But the Bhartiya Janata Party-led NDA government at the centre has decided to change the trend by reviving the rich Goan culture.

The IGNCA has been mandated to find local artistes to sing folk songs and perform folk dances, which are on the verge of extinction for digital archiving of the cultural wealth under its National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCCA).

“On Friday, we have set up our regional centre in Goa and signed an MoU with Ravindra Bhawan to launch a massive hunt for the folklore artistes to take part in theatres, perform folk dance, sing folk songs and play various musical instruments which have nothing to do with Portuguese culture. The idea is to save the dying cultural heritage of Goa by reviving and recording them,” said a senior IGNCA official privy to the NCAA project.

The centre will be formally launched on January 1.

Apathy of the local agencies and growing commercialisation of tourism sector led to the annihilation of traditional Goan culture, the historians say.

According to Goa-based historian Rohit Phalgaonkar Goa is being falsely projected as a place where foreign or European culture flourished.

“Some business interests serve Portuguese folk dance or songs in Goa to the tourists, and they are not exposed to the rich Goan culture comprising arrays of folk songs and dances. Tourists too come with the mindset that Goa is a centre of foreign or Portuguese culture,” he said.

Some of the Goan art forms such as Dhaalo folk dance and songs (geetas), the folk theatre forms - Perni Jagor (Jagran) and Kaalo Jagor - are either extinct or on the verge of extinction due to lack of performers and audience for them.

Artists playing dholls (drums), shehnai and surt (special Goan trumpets), which were used to be played in temples during functions, are now hard to find.

“It’s very difficult to find artistes to play shehnai and surt as most of them have died, and those alive did not pass on the tradition to younger generation,” Phalgaonkar said.

Surt player Bhiso Painginkar (75) of Paingini village of Kankon district died 4 years ago. His children don’t know how to play surt. Likewise Ramnath of the same village, who knew how to play shahnai died without passing on the art to his children.

The IGNCA would have to find artistes playing these musical instruments in neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka for recording this art form.

The IGNCA since 2014 has recorded 15,000 hours of audio-video of Indian folklore, music and dance forms in various parts of the country. It has set a target of recording 30,000 hours of intangible cultural heritage.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 15:31 IST