Govt Official’s Mission to Rediscover the Forgotten Art of Bhand Pather in Kashmir
Seasoned artists say the art needs to be preserved to carry the legacy forward With a journey to preserve cultural roots and foster community spirit, a government official has embarked on a mission to breathe life into the forgotten folk tradition of Bhand Pather that has languished in obscurity for too long. Fayaz Ahmed Lone, a Tehsil Social Welfare Officer posted in Sopore, has taken it upon himself to revive this cultural gem.
Once the heartbeat of rural communities in the region, blending vibrant music, dance, and storytelling to narrate tales of local legends and historical events, Bhand Pather over time faced neglect, fading into the backdrop of modernity. Being a social welfare officer, Lone is making a remarkable impact by organizing tours across the valley and performances for senior citizens, aiming to provide them with moments of happiness and share their experiences in an old tradition form.
Traditional musicians, seasoned actors, and storytellers come together to pass on their knowledge to the younger generation, ensuring the continuity of this fading art form, of which a recent event was witnessed in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal, which attracted a huge audience especially school students who were on a picnic.
Speaking with the news agency Fayaz said that reviving Bhand Pather is not just about preserving the past but all about empowering our communities and fostering a sense of identity. “Bhand Pather is not merely an art form but a reservoir of our shared history and values,” he remarked. “I’m on it, to create a sense of community, deliver a message on various social issues happening in and around, which would create an impact and awareness among the masses through this traditional art form,” he added.
Through departmental schemes and funding, this initiative also serves as a reminder to value and care for our elders and to respect them for their wisdom and contributions to society, Lone said. Last year, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Dr Syed Sehrish Asghar during an event in Sopore said there is a need for the revival of this old traditional folk theatre and the administration will continue to focus on providing them a space, besides ordering their registration in G-portals so that other agencies will also call them.
Her statement came following a theatre play in a satirical style which highlighted the efforts of Nasha Mukht Bahrat Abhiyaan programme at the auditorium of degree college Sopore, which got applause from the audience. Abdul Ahad Bhat, a famous folk artist from the Bomai village of Sopore, lamented, “Changing times and evolving entertainment preferences have cast a shadow over Bhand Pather, once a vibrant and communal art form. It must be preserved.”
“We feel a responsibility to pass on our heritage to the coming generations. Band Pather is more than just a performance; it’s a living testimony to our shared history, our struggles, and our triumphs,” Bhat expressed. The echoes of Bhand Pather are gaining strength once again, thanks to the Baramulla administration and the dedication of a government official who believes that preserving cultural roots is key to a community’s resilience and identity, Ahad said—(KNO)