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Assam Vaishnavite body seeks stop to use of ‘spiritual’ Satra troupes for govt functions

NOTING that it was too spiritual to be ‘misused’ to welcome politicians,the Asom Satra Mahasabha,the apex body of over 400 satras....

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati |
August 5, 2009 6:06:58 am

NOTING that it was too spiritual to be ‘misused’ to welcome politicians,the Asom Satra Mahasabha,the apex body of over 400 satras (Vaishnavite monasteries),has asked that “gayan bayan”,the traditional spiritual musical troupe,not be asked to perform at political and government functions.

“The Sabha has been noticing rampant misuse of gayan-bayan by various organisations including political parties to welcome VIPs and other guests. The gayan-bayan is a highly spiritual ensemble which is associated with religious rites and has a sanctity of its own. It is not proper to use a gayan-bayan troupe in all kinds of functions,” Bhadra Krishna Goswami,president of the Asom Satra Mahasabha said.

Goswami,however,clarified that there was nothing like a ban on using gayan-bayan. “It is a general request to all concerned. There are certain rites associated with the gayan-bayan. A person ushered in with a gayan-bayan has to kneel down and bow before it as the music comes to an end,” Goswami said.

It has become common in Assam to for political parties to hire a gayan-bayan troupe from a satra to receive VIPs at the airport or welcome them to functions. “The gayan-bayan performance takes a fixed time to come to a close. But when a VIP just gets into his vehicle and leaves,the organisers too follow him,leaving the gayan-bayan performers in a lurch. This is blatant dishonour to a traditional spiritual performance,” Goswami added.

The Satra Mahasabha president said there were several other musical items in the satriya tradition which could be used to welcome VIPs.

“We are not against use of such items. The more people use satriya music and dance forms,the better is the propagation of this rich art form. But that cannot be at the cost of insulting or dishonouring the spiritual format,” he said.

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