Assam: Disabled 'Bhaona' artist, deprived of Govt scheme benefits, cries out for help

Assam: Disabled 'Bhaona' artist, deprived of Govt scheme benefits, cries out for help

bhaona bhaona

Dibrugarh: Although there are many artists in Assam, most of them do not get financial support from the Government. Benimadhav Bora, an artist who makes masks for the traditional Assamese 'bhaona' from Gogamukh in Dibrugarh is no exception.

Bora, who crafts masks for traditional Assamese "bhaona", has been connected to the mask-making craft since 1990. Remarkably, he has been crafting masks for the traditional Assamese plays for close to 30 years! What makes Bora's career as an indigenous craftsman even more impressive is that Bora cannot use his legs owing to his disability.

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This mask-artist from the Upper Assam town says that he is yet to receive any benefits announced by the Government, and thus, is being compelled to live in comparative poverty. Although several promises have been made by the Government to improve the condition of disabled persons in poll-bound Assam, renowned craftsman Bora is yet to receive any benefits, he says. Now, he has taken up off jobs -- such as repairing cycles and making bamboo crafts to make ends meet.

"For my living, I repair cycles and also make bamboo crafts. Especially I make all the accessories needed for 'bhaona'. Sometimes I go through economic problems and have not received any help from Govt. So I want to request the Govt. to provide me monthly pension or so," he says.

"Bhaona" culture of Assam, which is inspired by the teachings of the saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva, is an age-old tradition of Assam.

Naturally, bhaona has its own sub-culture and a large number of indigenous artists express themselves through this very impressive art form.

The masks made by artists like Bora are used by the actors on the stage to depict characters such as Ram, Ravana, etc. Although his is widely respected in the circuit, financial troubles have caused immense grief to this talented man, who is now looking at the Government to help him rise out of this condition.

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