Photographer Md.Arifuzzaman is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘The Story Of Manipuri Dance‘. To see Md’s body of work, click on any image.
The history says, the indigenous people of the Manipur valley were the dance-experts revered as Gandharvas in the Hindu epics ( Ramayan and Mahabharat) suggesting a dance tradition has existed in Manipur since antiquity. With evidence of Vishnu temples in the medieval era, the dance arts have been passed down verbally from generation to generation. Interesting fact is, the Manipuri dance got a second life through the efforts of the Noble Laureate. In 1919, he was impressed after seeing a dance composition of Goshtha Lila in Sylhet, eastern part of Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi Meitei and Bishnupriya Manipuri Community has been continued to observe every year as a grand religious festival. Every Year Celebrates ‘Raas Leela’ in Moulvibazar district of Bangladesh. A celebration of the divine love of Radha and Krishna, ‘Raas Leela’ is a colorful indigenous festival of Bangladesh. Manipuri’s have been celebrating this festival full day to full night on the ‘Purnima Tithi’ (full moon) in November every year. The celebration included “Rakhal Nritya” (dance of Sri Krishna and the cowherds), “Kirtan”, “Natpala” and “Raas Leela” (dance of Sri Krishna, Radha and the milk maids). ‘Raas Mela’ (fair) was also part of the festival. The range of products included Manipuri handicrafts, household items, toys and much more. Thousands of people, irrespective of caste and religion, from different areas of the country attend the festival.
Raas Leela( Radha’s dance) usually commence in the midnight and finish before the dawn. The Rakhal dance is celebrated. The Manipuri dance is a team performance, with its own unique costumes, aesthetics, conventions and repertoire. The Manipuri dance drama is, for most part, marked by a performance that is graceful, fluid, sinuous with greater emphasis on hand and upper body gestures. As a Photographer when I saw their dance I was speechless and felt it has spirituality in the rhythm of the dance.
All images and text © Md.Arifuzzaman
Md.Arifuzzaman ’s Previous Contributions To Edge Of Humanity Magazine
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