PhD student (1st year)
saikia.baburam2 [ät] gmail.com
From the very early years of my life, aged 5, I was enrolled as a Vaishnava devotee in a socio-cultural and religious institute known as Sattra. Since then I have been living among the communities of Sattriya School in Majuli where we are trained to perform Sattriya dance (a classical dance form), practicing Vaishnava drama and vernacular music tradition, which has introduced me to the larger global scenarios with its various cultural variants.
My academic research encompasses various aspects of rituals and mythical stories, spirituality, custom, religious beliefs, and interconnection between oral and vernacular traditions of the Vaishnavite Drama. The intended title of my PhD is “Rituals and Texts of the Vaishnavite Dramatic Tradition of Assam: Their Social Function and Mythical Aspects’’. The Vaishnavite dramatic tradition is an age-old tradition which was introduced by great saint Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568) during the sixteenth century to Assam (India). This tradition is an integral part of the rituals of this particular Vaishnava faith which plays a vital role in Assamese society in maintaining socio-cultural integrity and overcoming the cultural barriers between different communities. There are variations in mythical texts which are as yet academically unexplored. My study aims to trace the relationship between vernacular/oral traditions, Sanskrit literature and Ankia nat at the time of Sankardeva and later. Are there any folk versions of these plots? Are there any connections with other epic, religious and ritual traditions, whether professional or folk/vernacular? Are there different versions of the drama? What is the scope of variation/creativity when it is performed for different audience in different settings?
I was engaged in an individual research project which was awarded to me on May 15th, 2014, by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, under the scheme “Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Tradition of India’’ and I completed the project by November 10th, 2015.
CV and publications at the Estonian Research Information System