West Bengal artists perform dance depicting killing of demon king

Bishnupur, Oct 20 (ANI): Artists of West Bengal's Bishnupur village performed the traditional Rabankata dance after the festival of Dussehra to depict the killing of Ravana, the mythological demon king.

The dance, which began on the last day of the Durga Puja on Tuesday will continue for the next two days, climaxing the midnight of the Dwadashi (twelfth day) with the symbolic killing of demon king, Ravana.

"On Dashmi (the tenth day of Durga Puja, a popular Hindu festival Kumbhkaran (Hindu mythological character) is killed. On Ekadashi (eleventh day), Meghnath (another Hindu mythological character) is killed. On Dwadashi (twelfth day) Ravana (a demon king) is killed," said Bishnu, a villager.

This unique form of dance originated around 400 years ago.

The dancers wear the masks of Hanuman, Vibhishan, Sugriv and Meghnath. And two other masks, which represent the demon king Ravana and his brother Kumbhkaran, are put on the dummies in a bid to be killed by bows on the last day of the dance festival.

The dancers along with the drummers visit door-to-door in the village to collect the donations for organising this event.

These masks, which are re- painted every year, are being used since the inception of this traditional dance and are re-painted prior to this festival. Also, the right to possess the masks are handed from father to the son or some one within the nearest bloodline.

Earlier the kings of Bishnupur donated tax-free land to these artists, who now complain about the negligence of the State Government.

"We are facing a lot of problem in carrying this dance form. We need help from the state government," complained Sukumar Adhikari, the head of the dance team.

This unique dance festival is on the verge of being worn out as with every passing year the condition of these artists is getting dilapidated. (ANI)

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