Tripura – Art & Culture
Tripura is a state in North-East India which is situated at altitude of 12.80 meters and borders with Bangladesh, Mizoram and Assam. It is surrounded by Bangladesh on its north, south and west: the length of its international border is 856 km (84 per cent of its total border). It shares a 53 km long border with Assam and a 109 km long border with Mizoram. The state is connected with the rest of India by only one road (NH-44) that runs through the hills to the border of Karimganj District in Assam and then winds through the states of Meghalaya, Assam and North Bengal to Calcutta. The capital of the state is Agartala.
The total land area of Tripura state is 10,491.69 Km2 and more than 50% is hill area. The population of the state is around 3671032 according to the census of 2011. The known languages of Tripura is Hindi, English, Bengali and Manipuri.
Due to the hill areas the state does not face higher temperature even in summer. The average temperature in summer remains between 20° C to 36° C and around 7° C to 27° C during winters. The climatic conditions of Tripura make it perfect place to spend a good time. In the period between June to August the state enjoys monsoon rainfalls. The average rainfall per annual is around 2500 mm in Tripura.
Tripura is the 2nd smallest state in terms of area, but the 2nd most populous state in the North Eastern Region. Although the state is small with a population of only over three million, the social composition of the population of Tripura is diverse. In particular, around one-third of the population comprises people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes. The literacy rate of 74% has been recorded in the state
For administrative convenience and de-centralization of power, Tripura which had once been a single district only is now divided into altogether eight districts, twenty three subdivisions and forty five rural development blocks. Besides, a special feature of the state is the vibrant existence of an Autonomous District Council for tribal’s based on 6th schedule of the Indian constitution. The ADC in Tripura encompasses 68.10% of the state’s total geographical territory and is home to roughly one third of the state’s population.
Tripura, nestled in a tip of the Northeast, flourishes on the bounties of nature but the beauty of the state is heightened by its human resources on the one hand and rich cultural tradition on the other.
Folk culture of the tribal and non-tribal people of the state forms the backbone of Tripura’s cultural tradition. This is reflected as much in the delicately rhythmic physical movement of the ‘Hoza Giri’ dance of the Reang tribesmen as in the collective musical recitation of ‘Manasa Mangal’ or ‘Kirtan’ (devotional songs in chorus) of the non-tribals. Apart from this, the ‘Garia’ dance of the tribal’s, organized on the occasion of New Year festivities and worship of ‘Garia’, and ‘Dhamail’ dance of the non-tribals, organized on familial occasions like wedding ceremony in rural areas as well as musical duels (Kabi Gaan) between two rival rhyme-makers on public platforms form the staple of Tripura’s folk culture. Tripura is enriched by myths and legends of tribal society over the past half a millennium.
Tripura’s folk culture now confronts a major threat from so-called modernity. Gone are the days when rhythmic movement of artists in ‘Garia’ or ‘Dhamail’ dance would keep viewers awake all through the night. These forms of culture have been falling prey to invasion of modernity as western musical instruments like guitar, mandolin etc keep replacing the traditional instruments like indigenous drums and flutes and western ‘break dance’ push aside the pristine purity of the ‘Garia’ dance or ‘Dhamail’. However, cultural programmes, marked by songs and dances, associated with birth anniversaries of great poets and lyricists Rabindra Nath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam add colour and charm to the state’s multi-layered cultural mosaic enriched by contributions from many streams of sub-culture.