Jammu witnessed something out of the world last Sunday at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium. Performed with the over 150 artists on stage, this biggest mega cultural event of world class was conceived, scripted, designed and directed by Internationally acclaimed theatre director Balwant Thakur who is also the highest Indian honor holder in performing arts i.e., Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction in Theatre. Balwant Thakur had named it as ‘Rangla Jammu’ which transported the jam packed audience to entirely a different world of creativity where highest level of perfection was not only demonstrating its ultimate strength but also leaving lasting imprint in their minds. Those luckiest who who made it to the auditorium will never ever forget the vibrant magical shades of the culture of Jammu. Department of Tourism and Natrang Jammu deserve all praise and appreciation for this unique presentation of J&K’s culture. If these kind of electrifying performances continue to appear on stage, surely no one will ever think of watching movies and television. It was a great occasion of cultural learning and highly rewarding experience of watching your own history of folk Heros and cultural roots. Such kind of power packed performances will certainly revolutionize the cultural scene of this region and the people shunning their culture, disowning their roots will not only be ashamed of what wrong they have done in distorting their own identities. This was indeed a presentation to be must seen by all. All credit goes to Balwant Thakur and his army of creative commandos who have established that ‘we are no less than anyone on this earth’. Balwant Thakur’s contribution in giving Jammites a sense of pride in their own culture will be remembered for generations to come.
The mega show opened with Late Dinu Bhai Pant’s poem ‘Mere Dese Daa Shelepa Meri Akhi Kane Dikh’ (See the sublime beauty of my land through my eyes) and undobutly avery this which came on stage afterwards was just magical. It started with the traditional instrumental variety of Jammu and the show was brightened up with rarest of the folk instruments like ‘King’ Narsingha’, flute, ‘Sarangi’ and ‘Dogra Dhol’. This was followed by the rarest singing traditions of Dogras like ‘Karkan’, Bhakhan’, ‘Geetru’ and ‘Shinjan’. This singing community which is more known as warriors have the unique singing traditions as their singing never stops be it birth or death.
‘Rangla Jammu’ was the unique cultural album of Jammu region showcasing the variegated variety of different colors, rhythms, costumes, design patterns and artistic expressions. This amazing bouquet of rarest performing art traditions beautifully unfolded the mesmerizing artistic traditions of this part of the world. The production transported the audience along to a dramatic journey of rarest singing traditions, rituals and festivities of Dogras. Ranj
Gla Jammu unfolded that folklore of narrative traditions of Jammu which is full of the rarest tales of bravery, love and supreme sacrifices and when few among them like ‘Bawa Jitto, ‘Data Ranpat’, ‘Miyan Dido’, ‘Zorawar Singh’ ‘Bhagan’ Gilmu’, and ‘Kunju Chanchlo’ enlivened on stage, it just kept everyone spell bound .
Jammu’s pluralistic culture and its diversity present a unique picture assimilating so many sub cultures and the same was visible in Gojri, Pahari, Bhadarwahi, Punjabi and Kashmiri. With the artistic collaboration of over 200 performers, designers, and technicians, this creative effort of Balwant Thakur demonstrated that artistic strengths of this region are ultimate in the world. The culmination of the programme still echoes all over when all performers came on stage and beautifully presented the unity in diversity of J&K, the harmony and the cultural co-existence of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Such cultural initiatives will not only integrate the whole state into one unit but also with the great country called India. From such historical cultural presentations only one lesson is to be learnt that what always reaches beyond a political period, and endures forever, is the quality of civilization, the poetry of it, which is called culture. All is lost in the continuous process, the majesty of the kings; the beauty of the queens but what remains is the beauty of creative labour and of human skill.