50. India-Assam: Under the Sal Tree project

A festival of Celebrating Traditional Rituals through Theatre

In Assam, the military controls the population and there is little room for maneuver for intellectual and cultural development. Inspired by the indigenous dances and rituals, Bandung Duppa developed a new theater form within the region’s own tradition. Every year fellow theater makers from the immediate area come to Rampur to show each other’s results from modern folk theater at the Under the Sal Tree festival. The festival serves as a high-pressure pan showcasing exciting forms and dances in a quest to develop the identity of the people of Assam. Choreographer Dayna Martina Morales explored the transition from old rituals to new dance forms from the perspective of movement. In 2008 she did this at AsocYat in Bolivia. With this experience in her backpack, she gave workshops and exercise training at Badung Duppa in India in 2009.

North-east India consists of seven different states, mostly inhabited by indigenous people. The region has about 100 different tribes and has a very rich cultural diversity. Each tribe has their unique rituals and cultural tradition. However, the present time has taken its toll and the tradition is being eroded by modernization in the name of modern education, globalization, competition for living and so-called civilization. At present the modern culture making the people lose their own cultural heritage and identity. Obviously, question arises about our locus-standi. Or how will we be able to identify ourselves in cultural context.
Therefore, some initiative towards the preservation of our tradition is the urgent need of the hour. The present project is our humble attempt for sensitizing.
Change is an integral part of development. However, change does not mean the destruction of the tradition. It is rather the reinvention of the tradition in present context.
Rituals are the core of our cultural heritage. In the present project we will take up in-depth study of rituals and traditions. A thorough analysis and justification with the context will be done. We will than explore the possibilities of modeling these rituals in theatrical expression for sensitizing the general people.
Globalization and information technology have shrinking the world. Dominant economic and socio-cultural groups are influencing the minor groups so much that they are losing their identity.
Our rituals are the backbone of our cultural identity. Therefore, reinvention and revitalization of our rituals are a must for retaining our cultural individuality
Our main objectives:
To study and reinvent rituals in the present context.
To popularize and preserve our rituals.
To create a theatrical form for authentic expression of such rituals.

Partner organisation: Theatre group Badungduppa
Executors TE: 2
Local artists: 20
Target group: General audience of the surrounding communities
Audience: 4000
Performances: 4
Volunteers: 50
Participating Organizations: Theatre Embassy.
Finances: Theatre Embassy, ICCO
Theme: Belief