BHUBANESWAR: At a time when the State Government and the Centre are celebrating 200 years of ‘Paika Bidroha’, the street festival of Patha Utsav reverberated with beats of the martial dance form of Paikas here on Sunday.
The display of the dance recalled the gallantry marches of Paikas (farmer militias) against the Britishers. A group of women performed with swords recalling the bold lady militia who never gave up their weapons.
Three Paika dance groups including the women group performed on behalf of the Culture Department. Minister of Tourism and Culture Ashok Panda was among others to watch the performances.
Prior to the performance, Janpath was decorated as a replica of the battlefield of Paika rebellion. Hundreds of visitors had also decked themselves up as typical Paikas with swords and weapons in their hands. Some visitors also performed street plays on the theme.
The music session started with the famous song on Paika heroes sung by legendary Akhaya Mohanty. Famous Ollywood singer Bibhu Kishore was one of the key attractions of the event. Other participants also organised drawing, painting and street plays on World Nature Conservation Day which falls on July 28. The morning drizzle did not stop hundreds of people from attending the weekly event on the Janpath. Many of them were seen witnessing the events from under the shade of umbrellas. While on one stage Paika dances were being performed, the other stages added romantic flavour to the rainy morning with artistes rendering songs on the theme, rain.
The Culture and Tourism Department in collaboration with BMC had organised this Patha Utsav as part of celebration of Paika Rebellion. The State Government has demanded before the Centre to declare the Paika Revolt as First War of Independence of the country.
Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda and BMC Mayor Anant Narayan Jena jointly announced that Patha Utsav would take a break as rains have been creating an obstacle in organising the events. The next session of Path Utsav will start soon after Dussehra. The street festival started as Raahgiri on January 17 last year was organised for 27 weeks continuously. The Patha Utsav has successfully completed its 35th week.