Launda Naach: as crazy as it sounds!
Before you cringe and express your feelings of discomfort on how men can dress as women and even more they dance in front of another man. You need to know about this crazy Indian culture in Bihar. The twisted part is that they don’t dance, but one can see them actually dancing in front of men with sexual desires.
“Launda Naach” is a type of folk dance performed in the states of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is just like any other unbelievable culture, which you can say bizarre or unpredictable. The roots go back to the centuries where women were not allowed to perform the dance in public, therefore men have to take up the roles. One tale also suggests that the dance form took place as a synonym for ‘Mujra’ which was performed by women to entertain high-class men. Thus the lower class was not allowed to see the dance form, and that’s where this “Launda Naach” took birth. Men of the middle-class society participated and performed to entertain the locals. Interestingly, they were paid for the same. The men usually dress up like women, do their makeup, wear women’s attires, and move their bodies just like any other woman or in many cases, better than women.
They usually perform in front of huge gatherings, marriages, or any special occasions. It‘s a remarkable art form that portrays the beauty of Indian culture is an incredibly different style. The culture comprises of songs, dance, comedy, and theatre, where people gather around to see the talent and enjoy their time together. Little formal literature exists about Naach that goes back hundreds of years ago and continues to thrive in eastern India, beginning around the Chhath Puja. Each performance is different but similar as they all reflect different castes and religions. To perform in the ‘Naach,’ it is required that the boy should be smart, must look like women, and also can move his body as smoothly as women. The required age is from 12 to 25. At first, dancers use to find an audience to earn, but now the audience sees them performing. But such is a tragic irony that this time they play not for mere entertainment but get subjected to assault, inhuman insults, risqué jokes, and unsophisticated language.
Gradually with time, the culture is also fading away, and now very few dancers can be witnessed. Mostly poor people take up the culture as they get paid for it, and that’s how they support their family needs. The past of the Launda Nach is full of agony, privations, and humiliations as people often mistakenly take them as Transgender. Even today, they are not cherished; however, the community has gained a kind of relationship with the folk form. They are just normal men dressed up as women. In many places, the dancers are even harassed, violated, and are privately raped sometimes. Therefore it is becoming tough to carry on the tradition. As the community is facing growing negligence, many dancers are shifting to another profession to meet their daily needs, and that’s how Launda Naach is fading away from our country.
We need to understand that there are bizarre things in India, they might not be typical and may sound crazy to some- but that’s what makes India –INDIA. We hope that this different but unique tradition stays in the bid with the Indian culture for a long time and must cherish the dance form with all respect and honor.