Our guests, along with Nabaneeta Dev Sen, President , Soi, lighting together the inaugural lamp
Day 1, 23rd April, 2017
The theme of Soimela 2017 is' Bhumikanya'.Bhumikanya is an attempt to honour the daughters of the soil. It is a celebration of folk and tribal literature and culture, with women in the pivotal role.
The programme bagan with a warm welcome speech by our very own Nabaneeta Dev Sen. This was followed by a Bhadu song composed and sung by the members of Soi which marked the tuneful beginning of a beautiful evening that followed.
Our guests who have come from different parts of the country lit the inaugural lamp together and were introduced and felicitated with tokens of friendship.
The cultural programmes started with Manidipa Nandy Biswas's rendition of Rabindrasangeet in Sadri .
Elaborate weddings have always been a part of the Indian culture irrespective of the language and region. The celebrations are made even more enjoyable by lighthearted war of words between the brode's and groom's family. This was put forward in the form of witty rhgymes woven in rhythm by Vibha Rani in Maithili.
The discussion session of the evening was titled "Stories and Proverbs in Our Community" and was moderated by Nabaneeta Dev Sen. The speakers were Viola Sonach Sangla ( Garo), Dr. Damayanti Beshra ( Santali) Kajal Demta (Sadri) and Krairi Mog Choudhury (Mog)While Dr. Viola Sonachi Sangma enlightened us about the matrileneal culture of the Garo population and their 'Dosai' tradition, Kajal Demta explained the history and evolution of the Sadri as the language of the 'tea tribes' and how it entwines the mainstream cultures of several states of eastern India.Dr. Damayanti Beshra shared Santali proverbs influenced by supernatural phenomenon with us. The session ended by Krairi Mog Choudhury sharing interesting proverbs and beautiful anecdotes behind them that prevails in the Mog language.
The evening ended with a powerful 'Pandavani' act by Seema Ghosh and other artists from 'Kasba Arghya'. They entralled the audience with their musical adaptation of 'Abhimanyu Vadh' .
Debleena Tripathi was the MC for the evening.
Day 2, 24th April, 2017
The second evening of Soimela 2017 turned out to be a colourful and variagated potpourri of ideas and creations, emerging out of sheer passion of creative women for expressing one's own self through various forms of arts.
The evening began with senior Soi Sharmistha Dasgupta welcoming the audience with the Soi Bhadu Gaan.
Ramkumar Mukhopadhyay from Sahitya Akademi shared with and informed us about the rich repository of tribal literature from different parts of India, and on Sahitya Akademi's role in promoting and preserving them.
Eminent Mog folk artist and writer Krairi Mog Choudhury presented her selection of 'performing poetry' in Mog, with songs and poems dealing with daily activities and incidents of life, like puberty and marriage.
This performance was followed by the discussion session titled ' Stories and Proverbs in Our Community' continuing from the previous day, . Shefali Deb Barma (Kokborok), Krairi Mog Choudhury (Mog), Kajal Demta (Sadri), Dr. Damayanti Beshra (Santal) and Vibha Rani (Maithili)were present for the session. They read out their poems, presented songs from their community and shared literary anecdotes specific to their own mythologies and culture. The session was moderated by Dr. Pratibha Mondal.
The discussion session was followed by a short play performed by Kalpana Gagdekar representing Budhan Theatre from Ahmedabad. Budhan theatre, with inspiration from Mahashweta Devi, works on sensitising people about the plight of the de-notified tribes/communities of India, primarily focusing on the Chhara community of Gujarat. Kalpana's powerful and poignant performance eerily brought forth the atrocities that men and particularly women from such communities have been facing since ages in the hands of the several authorities with power that control the state and society.
There was no better way to mellow down the ensuing sense of penitence and the discomfort of privilege that followed Kalpana's performance, than to call upon stage and introduce to all, our energetic team of volunteers, whose responsible involvement in the last few days have helped us succeed in all our efforts. The young men and women were presented with certificates of appreciation and a memento on behalf of Soi by none other than our President, Nabaneeta Dev Sen.
The next presentation of the evening was 'Bhumikanya' - a collage of texts depicting slices of lives of marginalised tribal women and folk songs, performed by fellow Sois. The text snippets were curated from literary works of several mainstream women writers, including members of Soi. The programme was conceptualised and directed by Dipanwita Roy.
The final attraction of the evening was a musical performance by 'Madol Folk Band'. Madol enthralled the audience with popular Bengali folk songs. Some of our guests and Soi members spontaneously danced to the tunes and added to the enjoyment of the celebration.
Pranati Thakur and Debleena Tripathi were the MC for the evening.
Soimela 2017 ended with our secretary, Gargi Roy Chowdhury giving the vote of thanks to all, followed by the Soi song 'Prano Bhoriye Trisha Horiye...'
Vie the photo gallery of Soimela 2017 here: