What is Devasthali?
Devasthali is an organization, comprising of a bunch of youths who strives towards saving the language and culture of Uttarakhand through folk dance, music, theatre, ground work and much more. Devasthali is a synonym for ‘Devabhoomi’ that means ‘Land of God’ which is another term used for Uttarakhand.
The beginning: Initially the team was just about a group of people meeting on weekends and sharing their thoughts and ideas around the culture and beauty of Uttarakhand. But to bring a change, bunch of people talking was not enough. Revolution isn’t brought just by words but there must be some action backing it. Theatre is one of the way masses could be connected so the team decided to experiment within and tried to put their foot in this field. A 25 minute long dance drama on “Problems in Uttarakhand” was the first try. Then gradually researching helped this team moving towards folk dancing and folk singing, thereafter for a long time the team has given their heart and sweat in folk dance and folk singing starting of from a number of renowned events, then collaborating with certain NGOs and organization for different social and cultural purposes and even performing in front of the Chief minister of Uttarakhand and Defence minister of India. The time had came to put our next foot forward.To bring a change you have to be a part of the change, After doing a lot of cultural activities in order to promote our cultural heritage, there was one thing that was clear within the team and that was to preserve our heritage on a ground level and should start help, educate and understand the agonies of people and work accordingly you cannot help a person you don’t know so we tried to visit hills and gather information and facts so that we can help. Team Devasthali visited and is still to visit a number of villages to understand the problems of people, learning values, embracing Culture, Connecting with Locals out there and try to help and grow. When you work for a cause you find similar people working for it similarly then we collaborated with some selected influencers and NGOs who were actually doing something for our Uttarakhand. In the present era social media plays a vital role in shaping the mentality of people especially the youth therefore our social media handles(@devasthali__official) serves in providing some authentic and equally important information to the people. On 27th of March 2020 Devasthali had completed its two years of pure hard work and dedication and will do it till the goal is achieved.
What do we do?
We are a team of young creators and artists striving to save our rich cultural heritage of Uttarakhand. We welcome and practice every idea which helps our CULTURE and LANGUAGE grow.
Embracing Culture –
Learning Old Folk Dances and songs which are in verge of extinction and celebrating Uttarakhand festivals within the team is a very common practice. We usually conduct workshops on Cultural activities.
We usually go and visit different villages. The geography of the area helps us to understand the conditions there. Are the villages installed with good electricity and water connections? The status of school and education. Does the village has a good road network? These are some small yet very big questions on which we study whenever visiting a village in Uttarakhand.
Interaction with locals-
We visit villages and never fail to interact with locals. We study and practice the rich village lifestyle with them. Help them in their daily work. We communicate with them in local dialects which is always helpful for us to learn. Collecting and listening folk tales and folk songs is always fun. Eating local food and prompting it through our social media handle is what we learn and showcase. We try to analyse local mountain people and understand them. Their sense of living, their working environment, their health, their responsibilities and alot more helps us to think and work for them.
Uttarakhand is blessed with rich cultural heritage, medicinal plants, amazing geography, interesting musical instruments, rich cultural heritage, bewitching tribes, mythological stories and many more. Our team is successful in making 3 research papers till now and is heading for more.
Every study or research has alot to do with collection of data hence travelling, personal interviews and observation method is used to suffice the purpose of collecting data. Data is usually collected on local survey basis. The respondents are asked about their lifestyle, background, history, agriculture and everything they can tell us about Uttarakhand. Hence this technique is helpful in determining the raw authenticity of the data collection.
Presenting our research, dance, songs, art, theatre etc to a wider audience with enough detail is how we portray ourselves. Every activity has got some rich background, history and literature, if one is able to present his/her activity with good details and background our presentation is successful.
For uplifting female education and spreading awareness on female infanticide through projects like “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” has been done by us. Through Documentary making and showing the reality to the society with a clear message is what we try. This helps not only in spreading awareness but also uplifting our motto of preservation of language and culture.
Non Government Projects-
Being active members in various cleaning drives. Collecting study material and directly providing it to the students in hills. Spreading awareness through our folk dances and songs to preserve Ganga Bhagirathi and our natural resources was our recent project in collaboration with Nagar Panchayat Swargashram, Joank, Pauri Garhwal.
What is better than knowing your Culture, regional ritual theatres when your land is enriched in the field. We looked into many of ritual theatres of Uttarakhand and showcased them over stage. The very famous theatre rituals of the mountain states, The DevBhoomi (God’s Land), Uttarakhand are Ramman, Jaagar, Pando Nritya, Hiljatra and many more.
Folk songs of Uttarakhand refers to the traditional and contemporary songs of Kumaon and Garhwal regions in the central Himalayas. These songs have their root in the lap of nature, mythology, agriculture and the hilly terrain of the region. We never fail to sing our folk songs and enjoy them in every moment. Folk songs have always helped us to understand the real essense of mountains and increase our vocabulary. We usually conduct small workshops for folk singing.