Pala and Daskathia Utsav
Photos courtesy: Odisha Tourism

July 27, 2012

Pala and Daskathia, the popular ballads of Odisha, are prominent educative and entertaining medium across the villages. These ballads elegantly blended with literature, music, dance, rhythm and humour present myths, episodes from the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and from other folk traditions and social cultural events. To promote the tradition of Pala and Daskathia, Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy organised a three-day-long State level Pala and Daskathia Utsav (July 19 – 21, 2012) at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar, with the patronage of the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha.

The inaugural evening’s first program was Daskathia presented by Balakrushna Mishra and Kunjabihari Dash from Sergarh, Ganjam. Mishra enthralled the audience with the presentation of ‘Salvation of Shabari by Lord Krishna.’ This was followed by Pala by the renowned artiste Kumari Santilata Sahu from Jagatsinghpur whose sweet renderings and narrative skill appealed to one and all. ‘The meditation of Lord Hanuman in Dwapara Yuga’ was presented by Kumari Sahu and her group to thundering applause. The last program was presented by the renowned Pala gayaka Judhisthira Parija from Balianta Khurda. Based on excerpts from the epics, Parija justified that everybody is great in his own sphere because god has endowed his blessings on his creations.

The second evening was as enchanting as the inauagural evening. The program started with the performance of Daskathia by veteran artiste Sudarshan Padhi and Bhabani Shankar Dash from Hinjilikatu of Ganjam District. From Madhya Parva of the Mahabharat by Sudramuni Sarala Das, the duo presented the episode of ‘Nilendri Harana.’ Daskathia was followed by the traditional Pala presented by Manorama Panda. A disciple of the legendary Pala exponent Jagannath Barik, Panda narrated ‘Naga Jyoti,’ a fanciful event about the curse of Rishi Matanga versus the chastity of the princess of Magadha, Padma. The last item was Pala gayana by gayaka Kokila Madanamohana Jena and troupe who presented ‘Papamochan Yajna’ of Shri Ramachandra from Ramayana. These traditional performances received wide spread appreciation from the art loving viewers of the capital.

On the final day, the program started with Daskathia by gayaka Ratna Rabinarayan Satpathy and Sisir Kumar Satpathy. The popular duo presented ‘Siva Dhanu Bhanga and Sita Swayambar’ from the Ramayana. The typical style of Daskathia found a vivid expression in the performance of Satpathy. This was followed by traditional Pala by Kumudini Patel and her troupe. Despite being physically challenged, Kumudini with her scintillating renderings enthralled everybody at Rabindra Mandap. She presented ‘Sasirekha Parinaya,’ a soul-stirring episode from the Mahabharata. The last performance was by Laxman Charan Rout and his troupe from Bhadrak. He performed ‘Mahadani Ajigarta’ from the treatise Ajigarttopakhyana of Pandit Bhimsen Vedapathi.

Some of the dignitaries who graced the festival were Prafulla Samal, Hon’ble Minister, Tourism & Culture; Ashok Kumar Tripathy, Principal Secrertary, Tourism & Culture; Rajat Kar, President, All Odisha Pala Association; Susil Kumar Das, Director, Culture; Dr. Sarat Pujari, President, OSNA; Chitta Ranjan Mallia, Secretary, OSNA; and Saileswar Nanda, renowned dramatist and orator.