In News: Recently, a group of Bhaona artists performed in Abu Dhabi in English language contrary to the traditional language of Brajawali.

About Bhaona:

  • Bhaona is a traditional form of entertainment, always with religious messages, prevalent in Assam, India
  • The history of Assamese drama begins with the plays of Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568) written in the early sixteenth century. 
  • These plays are popularly known as Ankiya Nats and their staging is known as bhaona
  • It is a simple drama which shows the victory of truth at the climax, generally using fictitious or mythological kings, queens, demons, Gods, soldiers etc. 
  • Bhaona was created by Sankardeva. He himself wrote seven dramas (called Ankia Naat) for performance in Bhaona. 
  • 'Ankiya' means one act and 'Nat' means drama. Therefore, 'Ankiya nat' simply means one act play. 
  • These plays are comprised of an orchestra who are called 'Gaayan'(singers) and 'Baayans'(instrumentalists) and actors.  
  • There is one Sutradhar who begins the play by narrating the story of the play who acts as the chorus of the English plays. 
  • Khol, Taal, Doba and Nagara are some musical instruments used in the play.

About Brajawali:

  • Brajawali is a special language used in Bhaona. 
  • It was created because Sanskrit, which was the original language used in the Hindu religious texts, was difficult for common people.
  • Sankardeva didn’t want the divine characters of his plays to speak a language which is not understood by majority masses.


Srimanta Sankaradeva:

  • Sankaradeva was a 15th–16th century Assamese polymath: a saint-scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam. 
  • He is credited with building on past cultural relics and devising new forms of music (Borgeet), theatrical performance (Ankia Naat, Bhaona), and dance (Sattriya), literary language (Brajavali).
  • He is credited for inspiring the Bhakti Movement in Assam. In addition, the Bhagavatic religious movement started by him had influenced two medieval kingdoms-Koch and Ahom.
  • His teachings are credited to have integrated different castes and groups of people in Assam into one cultural unit.

Sattriya Dance:

  • It is a classical Indian dance originated in the state of Assam 
  • It is a dance-drama performance art with origins in the Krishna-centered Vaishnavism monasteries of Assam, and attributed to the 15th century Bhakti movement scholar and saint Srimanta Sankardev.
  • One-act plays of Sattriya are called Ankiya Nat, which combine the aesthetic and the religious through a ballad, dance and drama.
  • The plays are usually performed in the dance community halls (namghar) of monastery temples (sattras).
  • The themes played relate to Krishna and Radha, sometimes other Vishnu avatars such as Rama and Sita.