Through the creation of Jogmaya Trust, our aim is to catalyze the process of sustainable rural and holistic community development based on the akhra (agora) model inspired by the great baul guru, Haripada Goswami. In his spirit, we would like to continue the oral traditions of story telling and performance techniques, art, culture and holistic way of life in the monasteries of the baul singers in Bengal.
The akhra is much akin to modern day group discussion techniques where the team discusses, argues, improvises texts, brainstorms and together decides on the implementation of a contemplated plan of action. Team management is the crux of tangible output that is sustainable. There is perhaps no alternative to cooperation and collaboration. We would like such connects to occur more frequently in its capacity utilization from the very inception of our project. This is the mind-set JOGMAYA Trust needs from its researchers, partners and collaborators for conceptualizing, preparing and rolling out the road map for our project with a bang.
The epicenter of the JOGMAYA initiative will be a series of baul mahotsava designed to create and sustain the synergy between diverse populations created by the philosophy of the bauls. These will take place on two sites, in Boral, now part of greater Kolkata and in Lohagore Village in Birbhum.
Tentative dates of our first introductory baul mahotsav will be the on the 16th, 17th and 18th February 2018 in Boral.
During this first baul fakir mahotsav in Boral, we propose to develop over the next three years an open-air year long workshop based school for local community in Boral and and ashram institute in Lohagore Village to teach baul songs, music, dance, theatre , cuisine, natural medicine, and body techniques.
Parallely, and In addition to taking our baul mahotsav in Boral with its accompanying music and theatre festival towards an international arena, we think that our objectives can also be reasonably achieved through the creation, in Lohagore Village in Birbhum district, and in Boral in South Kolkata, of the following spaces:
1 – A baul sewa ghar with it’s kitchen, herbal therapy and yoga centre.
2 – organic farming and a nursery for roses and medicinal plants.
3 – a folk music instruments workshop in which master artisans will hold workshops with the local craftsmen.
4 – a kantha and leather goods workshop and school for adult ‘dropout” women with its canteen, kindergarten school and crèche and a showoom
5 –a few small shelters in clay and thatch to house our visitors, professional actors, teachers and technicians
6 – a polyvalent hallroom for conferences/ workshops/ documentary film festivals and library of baul archives
7 – low cost multi-media recording studio and offices
8 – a cantine
This year, it looks like we will be able to sustain our initiative.
- members of a Baul Vaishnav Ashram in Nadia district have committed themselves to return to Lohagore to labour and to create a baul sewa ghar. Since they are also involved in the business of selling handmade cotton saris ( tater shari) they will sell their products at our next festival and contribute a part of their revenues to the sustain our festival>
- Bhogoban Das, Monindra Goswami and Khirod, Hari Goshain’s farmer disciples from Mana by the Damodar river, will help us develop organic farming and flower gardens.
- local farmers and friends who already practise bio-farming have committed themselves to helping us improve the quality of the soil by dumping clay and organic waste.
- Members of the artists community in Shantiniketan, Kolkata and abroad have expressed interest in taking our performing arts school forwards.
- Boral festival 2018 will hopefully be attended by internationa musicians who have been collaborating with Paban Das Baul and Mimlu Sen over the past ten years, from Great Britain and France, from Africa and from Latin America.
- -prominent film-makers and actors have taken an interest in the idea of a cinema hut and the idea of projecting ethnographical films at our site in Boral and those who are available, such as Ranjan Palit and Ruchir Joshi, will present their films