Artistes stand tall at Republic Day parade, feel let down by state

'Union ministers, MPs from K'taka evinced no interest in our skills'

Artistes from Mysuru and Mandya districts, who participated in the Karnataka tableau on folk dance forms in the Republic Day procession in New Delhi, are an elated lot for the opportunity they got to represent the state at such a significant forum.

But they are unhappy with the MPs from the state as none of them evinced an interest about the artistes or their skills.

The artistes — N Malleshaiah, Y Rajesh and Savitha — left Mysuru and Mandya respectively on January 7 and returned on February 4. They were in Delhi from January 10 to February 2 and were part of the tableau on the theme ‘One State, Many Worlds’ that traversed the Rajpath on January 26.

Savitha, a Puja Kunitha artiste from Thalagavadi in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district, said she wished that the Union ministers and MPs from Karnataka had acknowledged their presence and appreciated their efforts during the parade. Her sentiment was echoed by performer Rajesh too.

Braving Delhi’s winter, the artistes would rehearse for hours for the grand procession which was witnessed by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan as chief guest. Malleshaiah, an employee of the University of Mysuru and Rajesh, a sculptor, performed Nandi Dhwaja Kunitha.

Various folk dance forms like Nandi Dhwaja, Puja Kunitha, Dollu Kunitha, Somana Kunitha, Jaggahalage Kunitha, Karadimajalu, Seesu Kamsale, Kamsale Nruthya, Veeragaase, Hagalu Vesha, Goravara Kunitha and Gaarudi Gombe were part of the tableau. The folk art forms represent various regions of the state and artistes had been drawn from various districts. They were part of the tableau in the procession that began at Raisina Hills, near the Rashtrapati Bhavan, then proceeded on Rajpath and up to India Gate in the close vicinity of Red Fort.

Speaking to DH, Rajesh said, they had great expectations about the tableau as it was very good, but failed to make it to the top three slots. “We were put up in tents on the premises of the Rashtriya Rangashale campus. The hospitality was good. Before we started the rehearsals, it would be biting cold in Delhi, but by the time we completed our rehearsal we would be sweating,” he recounted.

About the preparations for the RD parade, Rajesh said, “Usually we danced with a 30-foot-tall Nandi Dhwaja which weighs around 150 kg, but for the RD procession, I specially made a new set of 15-foot-tall Nandi Dhwajas (two) weighing 60 kg each. The rehearsal was tough and each second counted. During the grand finale, our tableau started at 10.37 am and came before Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 10.50 am and concluded at India Gate at 10.57 am,” he said.

Savitha, a resident of K M Doddi in Maddur taluk, of Mandya district, said she had performed Puja Kunitha in a stage programme in 2004 in the presence of then president A P J Abdul Kalam. “This was my first time in the procession as part of the Republic Day,” she said excitedly.

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