of the plains of Chhattisgarh bring life to the post-harvest time by the
Saila dance. Saila is a stick-dance and is popular among the people of
Chhindwara and Baitul districts. But in these places, Saila is known by Danda Nach or
Dandar Pate. The Saila often comes out with many variations and much
buffoonery. Sometimes the dancers form a circle, each standing on one leg
and supporting himself by holding on to the man in front. Then they all
hop together round and round. Sometimes they pair off, or go round in a single or double
line, occasionally, climbing on each other's back. The
climax of a day's Saila, is the great Snake Dance. The Saila songs, of which
the refrain is the monotonous Nanare nana are usually of a progressive character
leading to a highly vulgar conclusion.
comprises over half a dozen varieties. Some of them are named as the
Baithiki Saila, the Artari Saila, the Thadi Saila, the Chamka Kunda Saila, the
Chakramar Saila (lizard's dance) and the Shikari Saila. Each variation has
a certain theme and distinctive feature of its own. Saila's simple form is
the Dasera dance which is always performed by the Baigas before Diwali.
Some of the post-harvest dances reach the climax towards the festivities of
Diwali. The Diwali dances of the Ahirs and Rawats of Bilaspur and Raipur
districts of the state have enough of vital appeal. Wearing tight-fitting
shirts, studded with ghungrus or tiny bells and armlets of ghungurs, the Ahir
dancers vigorously perform the Danda dance.
Gonds and the Baigas of Chhattisgarh and the Oraons of the north-west fringes of
Madhya Pradesh, the Karma dance is very common. This form is associated with the
fertility cult and essentially related to the Karma festival that falls in the
month of August. The Karma
dance symbolizes the bringing of green branches of the forest in the spring.
Sometimes a tree is actually set up in the village and people dance round it.
The dance is filled with breath of trees. The men leap forward to a rapid roll
of drums. Bending low to the ground the women dance, their feet moving in perfect
rhythm to and fro, until the group of singers advances towards them.
Majhwars of Sarguja district dance the Karma towards the beginning and the end
of the rainy season. The Gonds and the Baigas of Mandla and Bilaspur districts
dance it at any time they wish. The Baigas, the Jhumies, the Kanwars and the
Gonds of Baghelkhand area perform this dance to the accompaniment of the Thumki,
the Payri, the Chhalla and the Jhumki instruments. The Sirki, the Ghatwar,
the Jhumar, the Ektaria, the Pendehar, the Dohoari, the Tegwani and the Lahaki
are some of the sub-varieties of the Karma dance.
other variants of the Karma. The songs associated with these variants differ
with each pattern. The Thadi, the Lahaki, the Khalha, the Jhumar and the Jharpat
are the variations of Baiga Adivasis dance. The Karma seems to have been the
oldest dance form of the Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh. It is the only dance which is common to the many ethnic groups of India.