Sankardeva’s ‘Keli Gopal; published with illustration

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Book is a result of noted artiste Diganta Hazarika’s seven-month-long hard work 

By: Nilomoni Bora

GUWAHATI, Jan 22: The “Keli Gopal”, an Ankia Nat authored by Srimanta Sankardeva was published in book form with illustration in a tiny hamlet of Majuli on Tuesday.

The young artiste Diganta Hazarika, who has acclaimed name and fame for his art work in the state, country and the globe, has published his seven months of hard work in the form of a book.

Keli Gopal, a drama authored in 16th century by Srimanta Sankaradeva, was illustrated with a photographic view of the drama.

Out of six one act plays (Ankia Nat) written by Sankardeva, only “Parijat Haran” was published in book form with illustration by Sashadhar Ata in 1836.

After 185 years of this publication, Diganta Hazarika gathered the courage to publish the illustration of another drama, named “Keli Gopal”.

The book was released in a function at Khunachuk Village in Majuli on Tuesday.

Ankiya Bhaona is a classical theatrical form of Assam which is a rare assimilation of music, dance and drama that transports the audience to an enchanting world.

The Keli Gopala is a phantasmagoria. The play depicts the playful nature of Krishna with ambient music and moonlight, dance and despair.

In the moon lit night of the autumn month, Krishna plays his flute in the backdrop of river Yamuna. Enchanted by the melodious tune, the maidens of Vrindavan gather near Lord Krishna to enjoy the rasa dance with him.

The dance transports them to the land of eternal bliss and ecstasy and they are smitten by Krishna’s charm and persona. Krishna suddenly disappears from the scene which inflicts the girls with anxiety but soon they are relaxed as he appears again.

Krishna and the girls again get engaged in their rasa-Mandala dance. They go for water sports in the Yamuna River. This joy continues till dawn and is repeated over several nights. On one such night a demon called Samkhacuda attacks the cowherd girls and molests one of them. This incident leads to a fight between Krishna and the demon. Eventually the demon is killed by Krishna.

The drama from the Bhagavata Purana is prominent for its poetic illustrations and the demonstrations of supreme love and devotion of cowherds for Krishna. It is not an action oriented drama but a soft portrayal of romanticism and idealism.

Diganta hazarika has got name and fame for his painting in the country and abroad, including Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Uganda, Ukraine.

The book was released by internationally-acclaimed mask artiste, Dr Hem Chandra Goswami in a function held at Khanachuk Naamghar.

“This is an important book for Assamese literature. The artists have tried to uphold the traditional practices of Assamese painting,” Goswami said in his speech.

“Hazarika has beautifully designed costumes in multiple shades, the rendition of songs in deep and beautiful lyrics, the melody of the flutes and the seamless flow of dramatic action are the distinct artistic aspects of this art form inspired by Sankradeva,” Goswami said.

The function was organised by Sachipat, a voluntary organisation of the area.

The president of Sachipat, Jugal hazarika, members Basanta Hazarika, Rajani Kanta Bordoloi, Bhavananda Goswami, and the president of Khunachuk Village Management Committee, Rusheswar Hazarika were also present in the function.

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