Nata Sankirtana: A Ritual Dance And Music Form of Manipur

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India is a country of different traditions, art forms and dancing styles. For example, Nata Sankirtana is a performing art in India with dancing and singing; it belongs to the Manipur state of India. In Nata, Sankirtana performance has singing, drumming and dancing. Earlier, Sankirtana was performed in temples and domestics spaces in the state, but now the government is promoting it, so performers who perform this are at academies. To connect more people with this ritual dance and music form of Manipur, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, Imphal, organized three days festival.  If you want to know more about Nata Sankirtana and its importance for UPSC exam, read on as here we have detailed information not only about the festival but the art form.

Manipur has a rich culture, and it reflects in the art forms of the state. It’s an irony that not all Indians know about the Manipur’s great culture and arts. So, the government of India took the initiative to spread the glory of Manipur’s culture. Nata Sankirtana steps will also help the government to provide employment to the people and generate revenue. Let’s know some quick points about the festival and its session;

Key Points about Nata Sankirtana Festival 

  • The government of India organizes the Nata Sankirtana Festival to promote the culture and dance & Art of the Manipur state.
  • The government has also connected the festival with employment generation to create opportunities for start-ups and job seekers.
  • The festival is also a revenue generation initiative for the government. It will be a three days celebration of Nata Sankirtana.

What is Nata Sankirtana? 

Want to know more about Nata Sankirtana for UPSC, here is its details. Nata Sankirtana is a classic style of singing that belongs to the period of 1763-1798 A.D. It’s a composite version of the music that has music, song and rhythm (taal). The performers have to follow strict rules while performing this Art. It has Vaishnavite text, and its composed based on traditional Ragas and Ragini’s of Indian music traditions. This Art is so much involved in the culture of Manipur that its performed on the birth of a baby and the departure of a soul too. On all good or bas occasions, the Manipuri people perform this complex art form.

Devotees sing and perform to please their god, and Naya Sankirtana is the same. The followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism worship their god with this Nata Sankirtana. The performance is considered as a complete sacrifice, as they call it, Mahayana. The Vaishnava followers believe that the sankirtana originated from Shrimas Bhagavata, their holy book as it has the book’s philosophy.

The Hindus believe that the present time is Kali You, and chanting the name of the god is the only way to get Moksha, the ultimate end of the soul. The chanting name is called ‘Hari Sankirtana’, and in this Art, performers do the same but with strict rules. This art form also has dhyan, yajna, puja and hari sankirtana. The art form has all the ways of complete salvation from different yuga, Satyayuga, Treta Yuga, Dwarpur Yuga and Kali-yuga. So the devotees perform this art form to get complete salvation, and it comes out as a performance that people from Manipur teach from one generation to another.

In 3 days festival, the viewers must look at this art form just as a complete breathtaking performance, but in reality, it has its roots in spirituality. The performance has devotion and its one of the ways to worship a god. The performers perform ‘Madhupremrasa that shows the love and affection of Radha Krishna. Here you will be surprised to know that the performers have to go through complete rituals and processes to be identified as lords to the viewers.

Now the government of India and the state want more people to know about this sacred worship practice. Of course, this art form deserves to be known by the national and international audience, but if you are a devotee, you can relate to it.

The Bottom Line

Nata Sankirtana is a wonderful art form that is transmitted to one generation to another as a legacy. New people learn it from their teachers and follow the ancient guru shiyshya tradition of India. Now the old-styled gurus’ ashram has transformed into institutes. Considering the age of Nata Sankirtana and rituals connected with it, so UNESCO recognized it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Now with the announcement of these three days, we hope that people connect with the art form.

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