Uttarakhand – a northwestern state of India is blessed with so many artists. But the increasing rate of desertion & people’s attraction towards western culture has suppressed them. They haven’t got the recognition that they actually deserve. Mohan Upreti & Naima Khan Upreti are the two prominent faces among them. They actively participated in promoting the folk music, dance, and traditional art of Uttarakhand throughout the country.
Mohan Upreti – The man of his Art :
The above-mentioned heading “Mohan Upreti – The man of his Art ‘ is Mohan Upreti’s biography. Cinema critic Diwan Singh Bajeli wrote it in 2006. A folk artist, music composer, and playwright from the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand (Uttar Pradesh then) was born in 1928. He completed his secondary education from his native place and moved to Allahabad for higher education. He took admission to the University of Allahabad & formed “Lok Kalakar Sangh”. But independence movements were on peak due to which police demolished it. After doing the M.A. in International Affairs & inspired by Marxism, he was compelled to leave his home in Almora for Kanpur to join the trade union movement under the wings of PC Joshi.
Some known works :
- He went to Delhi and established “Parvatiya Kala Kendra” (Center of Arts of the hills) in 1968 under the supervision of B. M. Shah. The main purpose of Parvatiya Kala Kendra was to revive theater & produce plays & Ballads.
- He worked in the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi for many years. He directed his most prominent work “Indra Sabha” there.
- “Rajula Malushahi” is another epic work published in 1980. It highlights the folk culture of Kumaun & some other parts of Uttarakhand.
- He composed one of the finest plays named “Nanda Devi Jagar”. It was further followed into a film named “Sita Swayamvar” & “Haru Heet”.
- He also composed “Bedu Pako Baro Masa” – state song of Uttarakhand. In 2004, PC Joshi used this creation in a Coca-Cola commercial. It is the marching song of The Kumaon Regiment.
- A few days before his departure he had a chance to hear the folk melodies of the hills from late Mohan Singh Bisht of Ritagarh, Almora. And took his last breath in 1997 in New Delhi.
The love story of Mohan Upreti and Naima Khan :
Upreti belonged to the upper class (Brahmin) family. Whereas Naima khan belonged to a whole different community. She was born on 25th May 1938, Almora in a strict Muslim family. They both met in a competition where Naima was the participant whereas Mohan was the judge. It was followed by working together & gradually falling in love with each other. Locals and their own resp. Families extremely opposed their relation. But they didn’t give up on each other, continued working together. Finally made everyone accept their affection for each other.
Folk Tradition Needs more recognition :
People in the past had done a lot to conserve and promote the native culture. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the fame they deserve. Our government and an active class of society should take important steps in introducing these artists among youth.