Mandavya Kala Manch instrumental in its preservation, restoration
The Newz Radar, Mandi
“Mandavya Kala Manch”, a local social and cultural troupe, which is instrumental in the conservation, preservation, and restoration of Himachal’s folk art and culture is breathing new life into traditional folk art with its multifarious presentations that cater to social causes, historical events, state celebrations or as a flag bearer of culture on national platforms.
The organisation which is active in the filed of art and culture for the past 35 years was recently honoured by “Akhil Bhartiya Pravasi Himachali Sanyukt Morcha” during “Ek sham Dev Bhoomi Himachal ke naam” programme organised at Sanatan Dharm premises in Sector 27, Chandigarh, recently.
Mandavya Kala Manch is the only culture troupe from the state which was selected by the Union Ministry of Culture after various rounds of performances for the Republic Day parade held in New Delhi this year.
It managed to reserve its berth for a folk-dance performance during the recently concluded G20 summit at Dharamsala where the artists impressed the delegates with their stupendous performance.
With several feathers in its golden cap, credit for reviving the centuries-old folk dance, “Luddi” goes to this troupe which re-introduced it among the general public in the early nineties.
The team also took this folk dance across the country and brought it to the top of the state’s cultural map. Other than this Mandanya Kala Manch has revived and preserved the forgotten folk dance “Buddra” and folk play “Banthda” “Mandyali Giddha”, “Nagreey Nitrya” and various other folk dances.
The cultural troupe has represented the state in various national-level youth festivals and all-India folk play and folk dance competitions and won several awards in its cultural journey. It has won the award for the best cultural troupe consecutively three times in a row during the national winter carnival festival in Manali in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively, other than winning awards in various streams in 2013 and 2017 in the same event.
The organisation, comprising over 80 members, was founded by Kuldeep Guleria, who retired as a district public relation officer last year. In the last three decades, he has formed an army of artists who are well-versed and trained in all the basics of traditional folks, plays, dances art and culture.
Talking to TNR he disclosed that apart from staging shows and performances all across the state and country his organisation has trained over 10,000 students in schools, colleges and universities in various folk art streams by conducting hundreds of workshops for budding artists.
“We are the pioneers in launching a book titled “Mandyali Geeton ka Sangrah” in 1998 which aims at the preservation of local Mandyali songs in a written text which was never ever done in the past”, said Guleria.
“In 2008 we came up with a music album of local songs which was distributed free to everyone for the sake of popularising our folk, especially among youth who were somehow veering towards Bollywood and Punjabi singers”.
“Our team of artists brings on stage the age-old customs and practices still prevalent in society and aware the masses against them. We work for social causes like drug addictions, saving trees and the environment, female children and literacy through our skits, plays and folk dances.
“Each time the artists of Mandavya Kala Manch stage a performance, a small sense of victory pervades the group for having reclaimed a slice of its rich culture and heritage. While dancing, the young artistes subconsciously find themselves reaching for the outstretched arms of mothers and grandmothers, guided by the legacy of the folk that smoothly elides the years between them,” said the founder adding that god only gives wings to those who have the talent to soar.