OJA-PALI

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Region : Assam




Chorus, the 'Palis' are his assistants and the 'Daina Pali' is the principal assistant. The number of assistants may be three, four or more. They dance, play small cymbals and sing stories from the epics and the puranas. Their dance bears clear evidence of many aspects of Indian classical dances like 'Hasta', 'Gati', 'Bhramari', 'Utplavana', 'Asana'. etc.

The Costumes
The Oja wears Pag-Jama or 'Ghuri', bangles, 'Unti', ring and Nupur, and ties a 'Tangali'. The classification of 'Savaras' by Oja-Palis into 'Ghora', Mantra and Tara corresponds to the Indian classification of 'Udara', 'Mudra' and Tara. The songs sung by Ojas: Malaci or Malanci Geets and 'Jagar' are in Sanskrit language. They also sing a kind of mixed song, 'Patsha' Geet, which were written under Muslim influence.

Types Of Oja-Pali Dances
There are three kinds of Oja-Pali dances, namely - Vyasa Geet Oja, Suknarayani Oja and Ramayani Oja.

(1) The Oja-Pali of "Vyasa Geet" mainly sings the songs of the Vaishnava cult. Here, the themes of the dances are adopted from the stories from Bhagavata, Mahabharata and Harivamsa. The make up of a Vyasa Oja differs from that of a Sukanarayani Oja. The Vyasa Oja wears a long white skirt, a tight fitting jacket, a turban of a particular shape, anklets and various other gold ornaments of the neck, hand and ear.

(2) The other Oja named "Suknarayani" chants mainly the hymns of the snake goddess, Manasa composed by Sukabi Narayan Dev, an Assamese poet of the olden days. The theme of the dance is the story of 'Behula' and 'Lakhindar', which is mainly connected with Goddess Manasa. The costume of this kind of 'Oja' consist of a long shirt known as 'Chapkan', a white Dhoti, a 'Chaddur', a pointed turban and various gold ornaments of the wrist, neck and ears.

(3) The third variety of Oja, "Ramayani Oja", puts the costume akin to Vyasa Oja and sings only the songs from the Ramayana. Unfortunately, this kind of Ramayani Oja-Pali is disappearing slowly.

All the three kinds of Oja-Pali dances have reached exquisite perfection in 'Karana', i.e. posture and 'Angahaara', i.e. gesture.







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