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Raseswar Saikiya Borbayan


Raseswar Saikiya Borbayan

One of the most celebrated exponents of Sattriya Dance, Music and Theatre, Late Raseswar Saikia 'Barbayan' was born in a sleepy village in Teok, then in the Sibsagar district of Assam . Brought to the Kamalabari Sattra, one of the principal seats of Vaisnava religion and culture of Assam in Majuli, as a Sattra inmate at the early age of five, Raseswar was given to learn the basics of Sattriya way of life and then to the learning of dance and music under the guidance of various 'Adhhyapak's in the Sattra hutments including the legendary exponent Late Maniram Dutta Muktiyar.

The promising child soon shone to prominence with his virtuosity in Khol playing, dance and acting in Ankiya Bhaona . In the prime of his youth he earned accolades in the Sattra and outside with his scintillating performances in Ankiya Bhaona and the youthful Raseswar was elevated to 'Barbayan', the principal teacher of dance and Khol playing in a Sattra. The virtuous artist in Raseswar promoted him to view Sattriya music and dance as a secular art from within the sanctions of this religious and ritual art and the took it outside the precincts of the Sattra and taught the art to the children including girls to earn the wrath of the Sattra order. Thus the rebel artist came out of the monastic order to dedicate himself to the pursuit and wider extension of the Sattriya dance tradition outside the traditional Sattra way of life.........

Raseswar Saikia 'Barbayan' was associated with the Pragjyoti Kala Parished, directed by noted artist- director Shri Jatin Goswami, then based in Tinsukia in upper Assam as a dance teacher. During this period he was deeply inspired by Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha to take up the pursuit of Sattriya Dance in a more dedicated and secularistic way. He then shifted to Guwahati and broke new grounds for Sattriya dance and music and imparted training to a new group of artists in the Sangeet Sattra, an institution of which he was founder Principal and served in the capacity till his last breath. He contributed enormously towards popularization of Sattriya Dance outside Assam taking groups with him whenever an occasion came. .......

A relentless crusader for getting a pride of place for the Sattriya Dance in the national scenario as a distinct from of Classical Dance of India, Raseswar Saikia 'Barbayan' with the little amount of formal education he had in the Sattra premises, left no stone unturned to get the due honour for Sattriya. .......

.Apart from various honours the people of Assam showered on this dedicated artist, the Sangeet Natak Akademi conferred on him the prestigious Akademi Award in 1980. .......

The Srimanta Foundation pays glowing tribute to this great artist of dedication and conviction on its First Anniversary.

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