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Raibenshe (Bengal)

 

Among the various martial dances of Bengal the Raibenshe folk dances are remarkable for their expression of military energy and discipline and the atmosphere of martial excitement they create. The vigorous and manly movements of the body, together with the stirring notes of the drum, incite courage and daring. They afford a significant reminder that Bengalis, now believed to be a non-martial race, were once renowned for their military prowess. This dance was performed by a low-caste community of Bengal called Bagdis, who were professional guardsmen of the erstwhile feudal lords of Bengal, and were trained in the use of sticks, staves, daggers, short swords, This dance displayed the acrobatics of a quarterstaff master- (raibansh, a long wooden staff) made with bamboo.


 

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