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Women dance to the fore with Fugdi

Women around Goa are practising their Fugdi as they will be dancing this traditional folk dance for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Café speaks to women about their experience of continuing with this traditional dance

Come Ganesh Charturthi and every Hindu household

in the state will be a hub of activity. While the men are responsible for the decorations and the recitation of prayers and bhajans, the women handle the preparation of the delicious meals. But in the evenings, when the women are free, the environment in the ancestral homes changes.

Women, dressed in their nauvari sarees, start singing melodious songs accompanied by claps. The beauty of the folk art form of Fugdi, is that even without any accompanying music, it can be thoroughly enjoyed. The women first form a group and then pair up to perform Fugdi as a source of entertainment in the house.

Ruchita Shetye of Tivim shares the joy of dancing with her aunts, sisters-in-law and cousins at their ancestral house. “We made it a point to get everyone to participate in Fugdi on the fifth day of Ganesh Charturthi. We would even pull our brothers to join in as they knew the song and steps for the dance. It is more fun when there are more people involved in the celebration. We enjoy learning how to sing and dance from our elders and it is a form of enjoyment that takes up at least 1-2 hours,” says Ruchita.

The formation of self help groups in the villages has done wonders for women’s self confidence and unites them through various activities. Ashwariya Pednekar from Pirna is part of the 12-member Deeplaxmi Self Help group and they have been participating in various All Goa Fugdi Competitions in different parts of Goa. “It is not about winning prizes or certificates; we enjoy the feeling of dancing together and the importance we receive at these functions. As women, we hardly get a chance to perform and Fugdi and Dhalo is our time to shine. Our group consists of only married women and these are songs that are learnt from the elders in the family. To get better with our dancing, we also invite teachers to train us,” says Ashwariya, as she explains the various forms of Fugdi. On the fifth day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the entire ward comes together to take the Ganesh idols to one temple and the full group of women dance Fugdi as praise to Lord Ganesha.

Anita Ajit Kundikar of Kundaim heads the Kundaim based Navdurga Kaladarshan that performs folk dances in Goa as well across the country. She has been teaching folk dances like Fugdi and Dhalo since 1983, when she first registered the group. Anita has also been conducting folk dance workshops in different parts of India. Along with the women from Kundaim, she has participated in different cultural programme organised by the West Zone Cultural Centre, East Zone Cultural Centre, Directorate of Art and Culture – Goa Government, Kala Academy Goa and Nehru Yuva Kendras Goa. She is an awardee of the Nehru Yuva Kendra’s Goa Youth Award (1996).

“Earlier, we used to participate in a lot of competitions and now we are invited for programs to different villages of Goa. We also receive many invitations to teach the youngsters about Fugdi. I have trained young girls who have now formed their own groups in their respective villages and are performing at state level competitions. There are many women who are enthusiastic about Fugdi and according to the number of participants, we have to make groups to take part in competitions. There is great interest among the younger generation to learn these folk arts and it shows in the rising number of classes we are organising,” concludes Anita. (H)

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