Raibenshe Mela kicks off in Murshidabad
Kolkata: The first-of-its-kind Raibenshe Mela kicked off at Sahora in Burwan at Murshidabad district on Friday. The three-day fair will continue till December 10.
The fair is being supported by the West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) and is part of the ongoing Rural Craft and Cultural Hubs (RCCH) initiative undertaken by the department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in association with UNESCO.
It has been learnt that the MSME department, in association with UNESCO, has developed 10 Rural Craft Hubs across 11 locations with 3,000 people involved with handicraft between 2013 and 2016, to support and strengthen grassroots creative enterprises in the state. The project demonstrated how traditional art can be the epicentre of vibrant eco-systems that are self-sustaining.
Buoyed by the success, the project has been scaled up as 'Rural Craft and Cultural Hub (RCCH)' and includes an additional 12,000 people involved with handicraft and folk performing arts across 15 districts. Raibenshe has been included in RCCH.
The Village, Artist and Art are the three main components of RCCH and thus the village festival is very important. Around 290 Raibenshe artists from Birbhum, Burdwan and Murshidabad will showcase their skills during the festival. Aditya Mukhopadhay, researcher and writer on Raibenshe and all the 19 group leaders from Birbhum, Murshidabad and Burdwan inaugurated the festival at Ramnagar Sahora Union Higher Secondary School in Sahora village. It may be mentioned that Raibenshe is a traditional martial dance that combines acrobatic movement and balancing tricks with bamboo poles. It is a nearly 400-year-old tradition, with its origin in the Bhil warriors from Rajasthan who came as part of a Mughal army and subsequently settled down in Murshidabad in late 16th century. Incidentally, Bratachari is a modern offshoot of Raibenshe and was introduced by the eminent Bengali nationalist intellectual Gurusaday Dutta, who breathed a new lease of life into the art form in the years between 1930s and 1940s.