Synopsis of the Story
Pandwani singer Usha Barle, folk theater legend Domar Singh Kunwar, and woodcarving master Ajay Kumar Mandavi. They have all made significant contributions in their respective fields and have been recognized for their efforts.
RAIPUR (Chhattisgarh): The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that three artists from the state of Chhattisgarh have been selected to receive the prestigious Padma Shri award 2023.
The recipients include Pandwani singer Usha Barle, folk theater legend Domar Singh Kunwar, and woodcarving master Ajay Kumar Mandavi. All three artists have made significant contributions to their respective genres and styles.
Usha Barle is known for her Pandwani singing in the Kapalik style, while Domar Singh Kunwar has been a prominent figure in folk theater for many years. Ajay Kumar Mandavi, who comes from a family of artists and craftsmen, has used his skills in woodcarving to rehabilitate prisoners in Left Wing Extremism affected areas.
Governor Anusuiya Uike and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel have congratulated the three artists on their selection for the Padma Shri award.
Usha Barle, a Pandwani singer in the Kapalik style, was born on May 2, 1968 in Bhilai. She began her training in Pandwani at the age of seven and later learned the stage nuances of the art from Teejan Bai. Usha Barle has performed Pandwani not only in Chhattisgarh but also in New York, London, and Japan. She is credited with presenting the biography of Guru Ghasidas in Pandwani style for the first time. Usha Barle was also involved in the Chhattisgarh state movement and was arrested in 1999 during a demonstration in Delhi for a separate state. She has also been honored with the Guru Ghasidas Samman in 2016 by the state government.
Domar Singh Kunwar
Domar Singh Kunwar, from Latabod village in Balod, has been involved in plays since childhood. His father also used to play female characters like Mandodari in Ramlila. Domar Singh joined the first dance party of the state and brought female characters to life. After working with Dau for a long time, he moved on to another party and later formed his own organization. His dance party, “Lok Nacha Mayaru Mor,” continues to entertain audiences today and he has given more than 5,000 performances.
Ajay Kumar Mandavi
Ajay Kumar Mandavi, from Govindpur village near Kanker district, comes from a family of artists and craftsmen. His father, RP Mandavi, makes clay idols, his mother, Saroj Mandavi, paints, and his brother Vijay Mandavi is an actor. Ajay Kumar Mandavi excels in woodcarving, engraving religious texts and literary works on wood. With the advice of Kanker collector Nirmal Khakha, he taught this art to former Naxalites in jail and has helped change the lives of hundreds of prisoners. He has been recognized for rehabilitating lost individuals in the area affected by Left Wing Extremism through his art.
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