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Bringing the maand back to life

Recently, the Minister for Art and Culture, Govind Gaude announced that the financial scheme for revival of Goan ‘maand’ will be functional from the next financial year (from April). In order to understand the importance of maand in Goa’s culture and history, NT BUZZ spoke to a few people to know more and how this financial scheme will help revive the art form

Venita Gomes |NT BUZZ

More than 20 years ago, in Goa the maand was considered to be a sacred and recreational space in a village. All the people during the festive season would gather around the maand to carry out various rituals and practice folk art forms like shigmo, dhalo, goff, fugddi etc. Even today there are several villages that still adhere to this tradition; however, there are many others where the practice has slowly faded away. Yet this art form stands unique to Goa and as an attempt to revive this form, the Minister for Art and Culture, Govind Gaude recently announced that a financial scheme for the revival of the Goan maand will be functional from the next financial year, from April.

Speaking about the Goan ‘maand’ Gaude says that this sacred place where people would assemble for amusement and recreation and entertainment also saw the performance of various folk forms like ‘ranmalle’, ‘kallo’, ‘perni zagor’, ‘talgadi’, ‘tonyamell’, shigmo, ‘chale’, ‘goff’, ‘dhalo’ , ‘zagor’ and others.

According to the scheme, the ‘maand’ trainer shall be given around `9,000 per month while that for the assistant will be given `6,000 per month. Financial assistance of `50,000 will be provided to purchase folk instruments and `40,000 for repairs of old musical instruments and ‘maand’ itself.

Giving an insight into the historical aspect of maand, historian, Prajal Sakhardande says: “The maand was the open village stage and all the festivities and rituals in the village would take place there. It was considered to be a sacred space where the shigmo, dhalo and any festivity associated to a village started from.”

In the olden days in Goa the Gaunkari system was prevalent, in context to the maand Prajal adds that the Gaunkars would gather the people around the maand and ask for god’s blessing and only after that all the festivities would begin.

He says today the maand are been replaced by a concrete stage and hence there are very few villages where you can find a square area smeared with cow-dung and a ‘Tulsi’ plant and ‘diwli’ kept near, depicting the original maand.

Appreciating the efforts being taken by the department of Art and Culture to revive this tradition, Prajal says: “From a heritage point of view, this scheme will encourage people to keep their heritage alive and will enable people to return back to their roots. So, this scheme is very important.”

Photographer, writer and ethnographer Pantaleao Fernandes who has been attending such festivities in various villages for over a decade says that there are a few places that are popular for this maand festival. He adds: “The Nav-Hindu gawdas, or those Hindus who were converted to Christianity and later were reconverted to Hinduism, celebrate a unique festival that is popular in areas of Chimbel, Curca and more prominently in Carca and Nauxi below the Bambolim slope. In the month of May they have their zagor. Also, in Siolim there is zagor that takes place which is called Hindu-Christian zagor, which is quite popular. Besides that the Maand of the Hindu shigmo and maand of Hindu dhalo still exist. Only the Christian maand has faded,” he adds.

Pantaleao also mentions that if these people were helped with the arrangement and organisation, the maand would be a sight for many tourists who would get to witness a unique aspect of Goan culture. “The wordings and songs that they sing are nice to hear. They had various stories of everyday life to share through these performances.”

Folklorist, Rajendra Kerkar says that the teachers who taught various dances were not given enough recognition and support which can be a reason for its decline. “The traditional maand, where women would gather to dance ‘dhalo’ and ‘fugdi’, while the men would gather to enjoy ‘tonyamell’ is gradually dying today. There is certainly a need for such a scheme to revive the village maand. Also, the teachers who taught various dances need to be given enough recognition and support. However, the teachers need to be honest and knowledgeable to impart knowledge to the student,” says Rajendra adding that some of the art like ‘tonyamell’, ‘talgadi’ and a folk theatre ‘ranmale’ need to be kept alive.

Secretary of Adivasi Sangatna Kepem, Joao Fernandes acknowledges the efforts to initiate this scheme and says: “It is absolutely a great step towards doing something that can restore our culture. Maand is the culture of villages in Goa. Here, villagers unite to perform folk dances, songs and drama to express their joy and celebrate. The scheme has the potential to preserve our folk culture; however its authenticity and value should be kept intact.”

With the help of this scheme the villages across Goa hope to take this form forward. Associate professor at Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College and Research Centre, Prashanti Talpankar says: “People should develop new innovative ideas to make the maand interesting and appealing to the people. So, more and more youngsters come forward to take interest in this form.”

(With inputs from Sachi Naik)


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