Bridging The Gap
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Bridging the Gap

With Bharat Lok Parva, director Om Prakash Bharati sought to initiate fresh ideas and dialogues.

At the recently concluded Bharat Lok Parva organised by Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre at the sprawling Srimat Shankaradev Kalakshetra, Guwahati, director Om Prakash Bharati’s vision of preserving, innovating, projecting as well as disseminating the knowledge of not only the art forms of the zone, but also of other zones and providing a platform for all folk artistes to interact with each other got fulfilled.

On the occasion, Bharti answers a few questions giving insight into the festival.

What is your connection with the region and what kind of participation went into Bharat Lok Parva?

My village is my alma-mater from where I imbibed first-hand knowledge. I may liken my training and education to acquiring knowledge from the ever flowing waters of the river, rather than from a stagnant pool. What is the kind of knowledge you receive from universities? University education at best is like receiving knowledge from a vessel of water filled from a river, which has its limitations.

What role did the Chairman of Eastern Zonal Culture Centre, who is the Governor of West Bengal, Kesari Nath Tripathy, play in the festival?

He had a very clear view of his aims and objectives. With his 20-odd years of experience of administrative and cultural work he planned out the festival followed by Purvottar Yatra where artistes from the whole of India performed in 32 venues in eight states. They did not leave out performing in rural belts. At least 2,200 artistes were involved in these performances with 150 co-ordinators and escorts of which 1200 artistes were from the North East itself.

Who and what was your targeted audience?

The targeted audience was two crores. In Sikkim, we covered 50 schools and addressed schools in Tawang, Shillong, Aizawl, and Imphal. It was a total involvement of communities.

What were your goals concerning artistes?

The artistes exchanged addresses with the idea of establishing permanent contacts. I also introduced the open-stage culture which would be a binding thread to facilitate national integration. How many thorns have poked their feet!

We have to understand their pain. There were 162 cultural groups and so many ideologies have come together and we have to think alike and stay together. I want to encourage their leadership. I am still in search of furthering its improvement. It is my aim to make it an annual event. Give a platform to artistes and they create their space.

What about the finances?

Finance was provided by the Ministry of Culture and I did the management.

I came up with the idea of paying the visiting folk artistes to decorate the venue, rather than hiring decorators or agency design artistes and spending a huge amount.

This fulfilled the two-fold aim of the artistes earning a little more, as well as giving the venue an all-India look, which created a proper ambience.

This move was society oriented. Sora paintings of Odisha, Manjusha from Bihar, Jadupatia of the Santhals as well as typical arts of Bengal, Assam and Nagaland were used.

The whole venue was lit up and looked like mini-India and wore a festive look.Kesari Nath Tripathy has an abiding interest in arts in general and tribal and folk art in particular and therefore I got more than his due share of encouragement in holding Bharat Lok Parv in Guwahati.

What was your vision?

For 13 long years I have worked as Director for Sangeet Natak Akademi’s North East Centre in Shillong. My area of interest naturally happens to be the North East of India.

Folk and tribal artistes of the North East have been presented across the length and breadth of the country by EZCC with a little help by me. My aim of opening a cultural dialogue with the North East was to bring them closer to the rest of India both politically and socially. My objective was to create an emotional platform, where artistes may share and develop a deep relationship with each other.


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