MLSU’s College of Social Sciences & Humanities hosted an unprecedented Gavari symposium featuring a broad array of Gavari authorities & enthusiasts and MLSU VC J.P. Sharma to inaugurate their new academic assembly hall on October 6th.
Aditi Mehta and MLSU VC JP Sharma Inaugurate the Symposium
Gavari is the Mewari Bhil peoples’ annual 40-day sacred festival that celebrates their supreme goddess of Nature and presents the Bhils’ myths, history and tribal lore in day-long theatrical performances.
All rise as keynote speaker IAS Aditi Mehta & MLSU VC Sharma enter the assembly hall
The symposium was organized by Udaipur’s Rediscovering Gavari Project (RGP) to examine Gavari as a theatrical microcosm of tribal artistry and indigenous values from eco-spirituality & female empowerment to egalitarian politics & environmental defence.
Eminent Gavari scholar & IAS veteran Aditi Mehta presented the keynote address on Gavari, Goddess Spirituality & Women’s Empowerment and also spoke on Gavari’s unique status as a trance-empowered classic and contemporary theatrical form.
Renowned playwright and director Sri Bhanu Bharti then thanked MLSU for finally bringing Gavari into academic focus and expanded on Mehta’s observation with his insights into Gavari’s Lessons for the Creative Performing Arts.
Multifaceted art trailblazer Dr. Shail Choyal, who filmed the first ever Gavari documentary with Sri Bharti back in the Eighties, then closed the session with his perceptive views on Gavari as Sacred, Social & Political Theatre.
MLSU Art Student Display of Gavari Imagery
The midpoint chai break featured a vivid Gavari photo exhibition by the MLSU media art students who are also distributing the imagery to their painting & sculpture colleagues to inspire further creations.
The animated roundtable on Gavari’s history, values & vulnerabilities
Session II was conducted as a roundtable panel with MLSU History HOD, Dr. Prathiba discussing Gavari in the context of Mewar cultural history; installation art innovator Dr. Basant Kashyap recalling Gavari’s power as his first artistic catalyst; Rajputana Natural History Society’s Dr. Satya Prakash Mehra addressing Gavari’s contributions to environmental ethics & consciousness; author/film maker Sri Harish Agneya recounting the crying need for more Gavari documentation; West India UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage correspondent, Sri Lokesh Paliwal explaining Gavari’s key role as a Mewari ICH treasure; and RGP publicist W. David Kubiak describing the global resonance of Gavari’s eco-spirituality and anti-hierarchical values.
Gavari’s first academic audience with many history, art & psychology students sitting in
VC Sharma admitted he had previously known very little about Gavari, but now found its implications fascinating and offered support for further Gavari studies and activities.
Rediscovering Gavari 2018 is part of an ongoing collegial promotion effort led by Udaipur’s District Administration, TAD, RTD, TRI, RTO and the core RGP team. The organizers expressed their sincere gratitude to UCSSH Profs Trikha, Bhanvidya, Deivedi & Kothari for facilitating the event and Hindustan Zinc for cosponsoring it. An edited compilation of symposium presentations will be published later in the fall on RGP’s official website http://www.gavari.info