TIPA Turns 45, Artistes in Festive Mood
|Artistes giving their best to impress the judges|
Dharamsala, 12 August: Conium Doegar or Kolum Doegar as it is refereed to (a cottage owned by an Englishman by the name of Conium was situated there) is a little more than a kilometre’s walk uphill from the town of McLeod Ganj. Phosa Bazar for Forsyth Ganj, Mola Ganji for McLeod Ganj, Kishunanga for Kishore Niwas, so goes the list of names that the displaced Tibetans speaking different dialects from different parts of Tibet arriving in this north Indian hill town agreed upon. Started off in August 1959 as instructed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to conserve Tibet’s unique performing culture the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was then called Tibetan Drama Society.
One of the oldest institutes to be established in exile, it turned 45 yesterday. The institute’s annual Yarki (Summer Festival) coinciding with its founding anniversary is marked with the awesome performance of Tibetan culture during the competition between Gyalu and Ngonpa, the two groups which had practiced for more than a month. Interestingly enough, each does not let its opponent get a peek or a whisper of the songs and dances being practiced. The air in the institute during this period of competition often is compared to India -Pakistan cricket match. A passerby needs not be surprised to hear the latest pop number being played at full volume outside the practice venues. Western pop songs in an institute which boasts of promoting peace through the Tibetan performing art? No, this is a deliberate attempt on the part of the two temporary arch rivals to protect their songs from premature release in the institute. Yarki often becomes the source of learning new cultural performances for the various Tibetan schools, organisations and institutes in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Yesterday, the two houses performed in front of an exclusive audience which comprised of Tibetan Supreme Justice Commissioner Jhadur Sangpo, Chairman of the Tibetan Assembly Mr. Pema Jungney, Vice Chairperson Gyari Dolma, members of the working committee of the Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, representatives of the various non-governmental organisations, schools and institutions. Mr. Lobsang Khedup, the Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, presided over as the chief guest. The panel of judges sure had a tough time deciding the victor.
Gyalu has a record of never winning the trophy for ten years and it was all set to break this deadlock, says a Gyalu fan. That nothing is permanent seemed untrue as the results this time again went in favour of Ngonpa. But apparently, the view of the majority of the audience contradicted the judges’ choice.