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Seraikela Kharsawan District

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About the Seraikela Kharsawan district
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Brief About Seraikela District
INTRODUCTION
Definition of Chhau Dance and the word meaning of Chhau: - The Chhau Dance follows the basic principles of Hindu Dance. Chhau Dance is prevalent not only in Seraikela but also in the same form or the other in many parts of Orissa and West Bengal. The word Chhau is interpreted in different ways by different quarters and persons: - In the opinion of Late Bijay Pratap Singh Deo of Seraikela who was an architect of Chhau dance of Seraikella school, Chhau is a masked dance, the motif of which has been drawn from the mythological picturesque. In the opinion of some people "Chhau" is a dialect which meams six faces, Viz. fore head, eyes, nose, cheeks, lips and chin and a mask bears the six parts of the face. The word "Chhau" ordinarily means mask and because the dance is performed by use of mask, it is called "Chhau Dance". According to yet another school of thought the word "Chhau" has been derived from the Sanskrit word "Chhabi" which means image or picture. Several others say that as the dance is characterized by variety it is called Chhau dance and therefore the word meaning of "Chhau" is Chhabila in Sanskrit and fancy or picturesque in English. According to Sitakanta Mohapatra (I.A.S.), Chhau is concocted pronunciation of the word Chhauni (Military Barrack or Cantonment). In his views, the militia man (Paikas) staged and performed in Chhauni (cantonments) for amusement during leisure time and enjoy their success or victory in battle field, so the people called it as "Chhauni dance", Which in course of time has changed to Chhau dance by mispronunciation.

HISTORY

The beginning of Chhau dances is lost in hoary past and the rulers have been intimately associated with religious festivals known as "Chaitra Parva" celebrated every year for several centuries. Not only have they been actively associated with religious festivals, they have nurtured the art of dance. They have nurtured the art of dance that blossomed underthe royal patronage. Invariably every year the Chhau dances are performed during the spring and members of the royal family and commoners dance together without distinction of rank and creed. The prince and pauper join each other freely and express their feelings through dance. In early days the dancers used masks of bamboos and gourds and these dances were related with mythological tales of Mahabharata, Ramayana and the life and nature of human beings. Later on masks made of paper mache were used. The present style of dance is given to its shape by the untiring efforts of Kunwar Bijay Pratap Singhdeo in 1920s. Hence after he is said to be the Father of Modern Saraikela Chhau. Since 1938, Seraikella Chhau dance has added to it's glory by exhibiting the dance to corners of far and near till this date. The Govt. has given new dimension to the art and culture by establishing state Chhau Dance Centre. The in exhaustive effort of the dancers of Chhau; Seraikela keeps a special position in global world of art. Our country is predominantly based on religion. People worship different Gods and Goddesses to invoke their blessings to ward off evils. To please the Gods, there was necessity of rejoicing through music and dance in harmony with rituals. As such the Chhau dance in general and that of Searikela in particular relates this dance with the worship of Lord Shiva in the month of "Chaitra" (Mid April) ushering spring when the hearts of the people are filled with cosmic joy in tune with the "Basant Ritu" the spring

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