Culture & Heritage
‘Khan’ The Folk form is a unique Folk culture form typical to the ‘Dinajpur’ region. It is an age-ole folk-cultural form practised by the rural people of the District- mainly belonging to the scheduled cast & scheduled tribe communities.
‘Khan’ intermingled with dialogues. The language is, of course, Bengali in the form of local dialect. Songs used to be composed and tuned by the participants. Nowadays, someone capable from the performing teamtakes the responsibility. Songs and dialogues are improvised, hence the lack of written manuscripts.
‘Khan’ deals with any local scandalous incident or illicit act committed by any local person. Some pundits interpret ‘Khan’ as scandalous events. ‘Khan’ performers are mostly concentrated in Kushmandi & Bangshihari Blocks. The performances take place in the open and continues from late evening to the wee hours of the morning.
‘Khan’ teams and players nowadays are scattered almost all over the district. There are professional ‘Khan’ troupes. Their performances are seasonal particularly after the harvesting season is over the when rural people have money in their pocket to spend on entertainment. Some of the notable ‘Khan’ palas are – ‘Cyclesari’, ‘Budhasari’, etc.
The other notable Folk Cultural forms of the district are:
NATUA: Practised in some villages in Kushmandi Block, deals mainly with the love of Radha & Krishna.
JANG GAN: Folk songs composed in Dinajpuri & Surjapuri Dialect. Gangarampur & Kumarganj Blocks have artistes of Jang Gan.
MOKHA DANCE: Mask dance practised by the rural people representing various ethnic groups. Masks are made locally using locally available wood. Kushmandi Block is the main centre at present. Masks of animals like monkey, Tiger, Gods & Goddesses such as Kali, Shiva, and also of some fictitious comic characters Bura-Buri are made. Male dancers were these masks with suitable attire and perform. The dancers are accompanied by drummers and local flute players.
HALNA – HALNANI: Main Characters are two fictitious rural person – Male Halna & Female Halnani. This is a folk-opera type performance. Folk artistes of this district are socially conscious. They take part in all the Government programmes for social upliftment such as DPEP, Literacy Campaign, Health Awareness programme, Family Welfare programmes organised by the State Government. Folk Cultural performance take an important position in the annual Teesta – Ganga Utsav ( a cultural festival organised by the I & CA Dept.) where these Folk artistes share the stage with Artistes from the banks of Ganga. Baul songs, Lalon Geeti Bhawaia, Chatka, Gambhira are also practiced widely in this district. Songs of these Folk cultural forms are typical of neighbouring districts (Gambhira in Malda; Bhawaiya in Cooch-Bihar) and ‘Bauls’ are seen performing throughout the district. A Baul Mela & Utsab is held at Nayabazar Hattola in Tapan Block. Folk-cultural artists and performers now have a forum in the District, sort of state level organisation.