Watch: When Assam CM Tried To Play Rabha Musical Instrument Badungduppa

The Badungduppa group organises the famous 'Under The Sal Tree' - a unique eco-friendly open-air theatre festival in Rampur area of Goalpara

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Badungduppa – a musical instrument – is an integral part of the art and culture of the Rabha community for centuries. Unfortunately, made of bamboo, this traditional percussion instrument is fading into oblivion.

To revive, preserve and promote the instrument, Rabha cultural heritage in general and traditional theatre in particular, theatre practitioner Sukracharjya Rabha had formed the Badungduppa Kala Kendra in Goalpara district of Assam in 1998.

The Badungduppa group organises the famous ‘Under The Sal Tree’, a unique eco-friendly open-air theatre festival in Rampur area of the district every December. Badungduppa, the only Rabha theatre group, is also now known internationally.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on November 20th, 2019 visited Late Rabha’s residence in Agia, Goalpara. He interacted with his family members and members of the Badungduppa Kala Kendra.

During his course of interaction, Sonowal was gifted the Badungduppa by the members of the theatre group. The beautiful instrument intrigued him so much that he even tried his hands to play the indigenous musical instrument.

In the video, Sonowal can be seen trying to make music from the Badungduppa as he is shown by one on how to hold it.

Watch the video here:

Rabha died of cardiac arrest at his village home in Goalpara on June 8th, 2018. He was 41. He was inspired by the work of Padmabhushan H. Kanhailal and Padmashri H. Sabitri. Rabha also received training under them at Kalakshetra, Imphal, Manipur for two years and conceptualised the ‘Under The Sal Tree’ theatre festival upon returning back to Assam.

He was the recipient of many a prestigious award and recognition including the ‘Bismillah Khan Yuba Puraskar’, 2009 for direction from Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi; the ‘Aditya Bikram Birla Kala Kiran Puruskar’, 2010 from Sangit Kala Kendra, Mumbai. Rabha has left behind a majestically rich imprint of his work for the generations to come.

Photo credit: @sarbanandsonwal