One of the biggest threats to Gavari’s future is its waning support among “educated” Bhil youth who rarely see any reflection of their culture or respect for their traditions in the local schools.
The Rediscovering Gavari Project has thus been hoping to introduce Gavari’s inspiring artistry and messages via Udaipur flagship schools to awaken local students & faculty to this rich heritage treasure and the global relevance of its eco-reverent and egalitarian values.
The RGP team therefore requested some of Udaipur’s top schools to let them meet their students and learn what they knew about Gavari so they could design effective school introductions. Quite appropriately given its namesake’s tribal history, Maharana Mewar Public School was the first institution to sign on to help create a student friendly Gavari presentation.
MMPS invited the team to come on October 1st and despite the examination season commotion, nearly a hundred students showed up, many from the INTACH and Interact Clubs and MMPS’ extraordinary Art Department. Principal Datta generously introduced the team and explained their hopeful mission. RGP researcher/publicist David Kubiak led off with the Mewar seal below and some dramatic Gavari imagery and asked the children what they knew about Mewari Bhil history and the Gavari ritual in particular. They answered that only about 15% of them had ever experienced Gavari personally and even they were pretty unclear what the tradition was about.
The test presentation began with a brief visual reminder of the historic mutual respect between Bhil and Rajput leaders as equal protectors of Mewar’s independence and the health of its beautiful lands – a responsibility the Bhils continue to recall and honour in many Gavari plays.
Lokesh Paliwal explaining Gavari’s ICH value for all Mewar
|.||Harish Agneya describing the rich meaning of Gavari dramas|
UNESCO ICH correspondent, Lokesh Paliwal then explained the concept of Intangible Cultural Heritage and why Gavari was an incredible ICH treasure for both the local Bhil villagers and all the people of Mewar.
RGP documentarian Harish Agneya then described some of Gavari’s most well known dance dramas and showed how & why these vivid live performances are a lot more exciting and informative than the Bollywood shows on TV.
The students responded warmly and the speakers sincerely thanked the young audience & MMPS for helping them finally launch the Rediscovering Gavari School Program and showing them how to improve it in many important ways.
The next RGP School Program is currently scheduled to be held at Delhi Public School – Udaipur on October 12th.