Subhas Chandra Pattanayak with pictorial input from Aradhana Misra
Orissa Government has pathetically failed in preserving, protecting and projecting the true history of Odissi dance, which, with 555 artists performing for 28 minutes at a stretch at the Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar, on 23rd December, has gone into Guinness Book of World Records.
A dance is a classical dance, because of its creation by and adherence to specific scriptural codes. The scriptural codes of Odissi are provided for in Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha authored by Jadunath Rai Singh, then the prince of Tigiria belonging to Tunga dynasty, which, the famous scholar Pt. Kedarnath Mohapatra, in Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts of Orissa prefers to describe as “the Grammar of Odissi dance”.
To keep warriors of his State physically fit and agile for protection of the Jagannatha trinity that his grand father Sankarshana Chamupatisigh Mandhata – the King of Tigiria – had, under a plan prepared by him and the Gajapati Emperor of Orissa, secretly transported into his principality from the backyard of Goddess Bimala in the night of 16 May 1692 by misguiding the Moghul commander take away a duplicate set of images from the temple podium of the Lord (as per Pt. Mohapatra in Khurudha Itihasa), Prince Jadunath had amalgamated Alasa Nrutya prevalent in coastal temple systems and the martial dance called Tunga Nrutya developed by his own predecessors. And for the new form of dance thus created, though not named by him, he had prescribed the codes in Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha, the scripture he authored as referred to above.
Centuries after his death, the unnamed dance form metamorphosed into Odissi.
So, it is Jadunath Tunga Rai Singh, who alone should be recognized as the father of Odissi dance. Yet, he is not honored as the real creator of this classical dance or provider of its scriptural codes.
On the other hand, it is Kabichandra Kali Charan Pattanayak whose single minded campaign carrying his dedication to and concentration in revival of the dance system has earned the classical status for Odissi. He was the real man behind recognition of this system as a classical dance. The Odissi practitioners now-a-days do not remember this man, who, despite subterfuge resorted to by envious elements, had obtained for the dance the recognition of its classicality.
But sadly, a few famous artists like late Kelucharan Mohapatra and Kumkum Mohanty, taking advantage of the political Government’s sophomoric approach to culture of the State, have, in their own way and through cronies, exploited different forums and occasions to project themselves as creators of the dance form.
The Odissi Dance Festival that commenced with the Kalinga Stadium event and is scheduled to continue till December 30 in different halls at Bhubaneswar, wherein a USA based organization is collaborating, had the occasion even to accept without any grumble that it is Kelu babu, from whom the dance came into form.
This happens when a political Government remains addressed to benefits of the ruling party than to benefit of the State.
The political government of Orissa is so very averse to cultural environment of the State that it had made the mega event take place in obnoxiously filthy an atmosphere.
A conscious subscriber, Ms. Aradhana Misra, has sent us pictures of the Odissi dancers while performing for the purpose as well as of the filthy environment where they were forced to perform before the observers from Guinness Book of World Records.
All the seats of Kalinga Stadium – that had costed the State Exchequer Rs.103 crores, according to a functionary thereof – are littered by bird droppings with no attempt ever made to clean them up as a result of which the filth is standing for years on the chairs and on the floors and between the rows and wherever the eyes go.
It is claimed that an amount of Rs.10 crores is spent on costumes for the dancers on this occasion. In the prevalent environment of scams, whether or not the said amount is really spent on costumes is a different matter; but it is sure, had a portion thereof been drafted for cleaning the filth, the guinness records could have come in a befitting condition.
We congratulate the artists, because of whom, Odissi has created a landmark in the world records. But, we should be failing in our duty if we do not say: Odissi has gone into Guinness Records despite the filth created by Orissa Government.
Except resizing, the pictures used in this report are absolutely unedited for records.