Monday, December 5, 2022


Classical Dance


Oja- Pali is a group of chorus singers and dancers. The Oja is the leader of the 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 Oja wears pag-jama or ghuri, bangles, unti, ring and nupur, and ties a tangali . The classification of Svaras 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 Sanskritic language; they also sing a kind of mixed song, Patsha geet. They are written under Muslim influence.

There are three kinds of Oja-Pali dances, namely - Vyasageet Oja, Suknarayani Oja and Ramayani Oja.

(1) The Oja-Pali of Vyasageet 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.