(GIST OF YOJANA) Rathwa ni Gher: Tribal Dance of Rathwas
Rathwa ni Gher: Tribal Dance of Rathwas
The Rathwas who dwell in Rath-Vistar, the hilly area of the south-eastern part of Gujarat state, perform the Rathwa ni Gher dance on the occasion of Holi (festival of colours) also known as Kavant festival, named after the place where the Holi carnival lakes place.
The Gher (dance with music) performances begin on Dlulendi, which is, literally, ‘the day of flying coloured dust’.
This is the day when people smear each other with colour powder. The festivities last for five days during which the Rathwas observe fast and abstain from sleeping on cots, washing clothes and bathing. Both men and women perform the Gher together, in groups of 20 to 25.
Of all Rathwa dances performed on various occasions linked with the cycle of seasons, Rathwa ni Gher stands out as exquisite, colourful and spectacular.
The intricate make-up, the synchronised footsteps, vigorous whirling of the dancers and the mesmerising symphony created through indigenous musical instruments show how antique and refined the dance form is; it constitutes the Rathwas creative expression of their religiosity, cultural identity and understanding of nature.