Anoop Lather (अनूप लाठर ) has been nominated as 'ANOOTHA NAYAK' amongst top 20 personalities of India by the most prestigious and reliable weekly 'INDIA TODAY' dated 29th November 2006 for promoting the culture of Haryana. Mr. Lather also acted in many Haryanvi films like CHANDRAWAL and LADO BASANTI.
He is head of youth and cultural programmes department in Kurukshetra university in Haryana. He has done wonderful work for the development of Haryanvi folk song and Haryanvi pop music & Gazal. He was instrument in introducing girls in orchestra. He is also hero of two Haryanvi films. He is also the founder of HARYANVI ORCHESTRA item for the compositions on the stage of educational institutes.
Anoop Lather - Culture has never survived on the basis of “causes” it is the attempts that keep it alive. This man was born in a village to culture loving parents who inculcated in him the seed of devotion for the Culture of his Land. Anoop got educated from Kunjpura Sainik School,did his masters in ancient Indian history , completed LLB and then went ahead to accomplish his ambition. He is gold medalist from Indian theatre department, Punjab university, Chandigarh. He even acted in Punjabi plays and received wide appreciation. There were enough opportunities for him to go higher in the field. He joined Haryanvi Films, played effective and impressive roles in the blockbuster movie Chandraval and Laado Basanti. Then came the moment for which every theatre student dreams, the interview letter from National School of Drama. But this man had something different in his mind; he denied and dropped all notions of running to Bollywood or even Hollywood or any lime-light, where he would have got much success.
Anoop decided to bring back the colours to the Fountain of Folk Culture. He took the flag of Haryana’s Culture in his hands and went ahead on the thorny path. He left all comforts and went to the villages in search of the roots of culture that can be brought to life again. It has been his mission since then to have the documentation, preservation and enrichment of Haryanvi Culture.
First challenge was to rebuild the confidence of the hopeless artists that they should trust and believe in their culture about the future and then reunite them in workshops and training sessions. He fetched the dust covered pebbles and placed them after polishing enough by his faith, he placed them at their deserved positions and then brought the fountain of Cultural Revival…the dust is gone now and each pebble is shining with the water droplets shinning and spreading all over , spreading its light all around.
“If you want to have something from heart, the whole universe conspires to give you that thing.”
Cultural performances have never been projected as entertaining items. They have been designated as the Representation of Haryana’s Cultural Heritage. The Haryana day Festival has no dull stone in the proud basket. At present it has all forms of art i.e. Music, Dance, Theatre, Fine Arts and Literary events spending over 23 events in both male and female categories. Haryanvi Folk Orchestra, Saang : The folk Theatre, Haryanvi Pop Song, Haryanvi Gazal are the jewels in the graceful basket of the festival besides Group Song, Haryanvi Group Dance, Solo Dance, Haryanvi Bhajan, Tit-Bits, Skit, One-Act-Play, Mono-acting, Painting, Folk Costume etc. All these events receive packed participation of young students from all Districts/ parts of Haryana. These events are organized at six different Venues i.e. The Shreemad Bhagwad Gita Sadan (Main Auditorium), Senate Hall, Radha Krishan Sadan, Open-Are-Theater, Crush Hall, Khula Manch for Saang. These Venues have in total a capacity for sitting of about 5000 people at one time. According to an analysis 10,000-12,000 people from all over the state come to attend the appreciate this four days Cultural Mahayajna: along with students artists, professional artists also entertain people with Competition Raagni, Saang and Mobile Folk Orchestra.
The task that this man took in hand along with joining the Kurukshetra University was the aim of reviving the Folk Instruments and bringing them on the forefront. He went village to village and assured the hopeless artists of their responsibility. He organized workshops for the folk artists.
The different Folk Instruments i.e; Sarrangi, Been, Nagara, Tasha, Haryanvi Tumba, Gharva, Deru, Bainjo, Clarnet, Chimta, Bansali, Algoja, etc. were united into a whole. It was February 28, 1985, the day when Haryanvi Orchestra went on stage and the Tagore Theatre Hall, Chandigarh, witnessed ecstasy of this newly enliven form of music. He has been working to keep the torch alive and being a sincere cultural activist. As this path has… not been an easy one for him, he faced many hurdles.
Mr. Sheokesh Mishra (India Today, March 27,2006) wrote about Anoop Lather’s role in the revival of Folk Orchestra, under the Headline – “Tunes Lost and Found- A Former Haryanvi Movie Star Rescues Historical Musical Instruments from the Edge of Oblivion ” He said: “…thanks to Anoop Lather’s relentless drive to save Haryana’s Traditional Musical Instruments from oblivion.” He mentioned the protest Anoop had to face when he brought girls into Haryanvi Folk Orchestra.
Feeling the sense of belonging to his land, Anoop Lather joined the department of Youth and Cultural Affairs ,Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra in 1984.Since then he has been working on this post with the same commitment for the cultural inheritance Anoop still considers himself a cultural activist-cum-catalyst. He is regarded without any single question, the exponent of Haryana’s Folk Culture. The performance at Chandigarh was the realization of his dream. Haryanvi orchestra, after 1985 was added to the list of competitions in the youth festivals of Kurukshetra University. Further Anoop’ s attempts got more acceptance as all universities of Haryana also added Orchestra as a event in their youth festivals .the next milestone was to pursue the neighboring state universities successfully to explore and present their folk orchestra .also, Punjabi University, Patiala staged their folk instruments as an motivated effect of Anoop Lather.
As the saying is “Why just touch the sky when you can rule it”. Being a member of the Cultural Board of the Association of Indian universities, Anoop Lather took the initiative and put the proposal of introducing Folk Orchestra as a competitive event in the national youth festival organized by AIU. Anoop Lather had done all homework for his proposal in the form of the wide acclaim for the event beforehand. The AIU accepted the proposal and the milestone was to unveiled in the very ‘Karamkshetra’ of a of Anoop lather. National Youth Fest -2006 held from 15 January 2006 at under at KUK got the first ever presentation of the event Folk orchestra and it was indeed a moment of pride and satisfaction for the young hearted Lather as thousands of people witnessed the ecstatic launch of Indian Folk Orchestra. Another achievement that is worth mentioning is the presentation of ‘Fusion’ directed by Anoop Lather.
After bringing the folk instruments to life he has continuously worked for their refinement and advancement. His directed work “Fusion” that was presented in the National Youth Festival “Ratnawali”-2006. This musical composition has Haryanvi Folk Musical Instruments integrated with Indian classical and western musical instruments which actually give birth to a new phenomenon.
Anoop has never worked with a single motive; he has a comprehensive vision that stands for the enrichment of every facet. Along with the orchestra, this post graduate in ancient Indian history –arts and culture took hold of the shivering hand of Haryana’s folk theatre –Saang. Other states have their respective folk theatre as Uttar Pradesh has ‘Nautanki’ and Maharashtra has ‘Tamasha.’ In the same way Haryana’s Saang has its origin in the 13th century .This age old traditional theatre form has all established components of a theoretical event. Anoop Lather took the task in his hands and revived this form. Saang got staged in the very campus of Kurukshetra University in its original form with all its identical features. In 1992, Saang was added to the list of competitions in the Haryana Day State Level Festival, organized by the Department of Youth and Cultural Affairs, KUK. The most significant fact of this event is that now Saang is presented by the Young Students. The conservative past practice in Saang was that there was No Entry for Females, not only as performers but even as audience. Anoop reversed this trend and now Haryana Day Ratnawali Festival has Saang as the most respected event where Women receive a warm welcome in the audience and of course on stage as well. Among the participant teams, Girls’ teams present their Saang with grace. Anoop Lather had to face severe criticism for making Saang as a Liberal Art that welcome both Male and Female artists. It was not breaking a trend; rather it has been the ritual of setting a trend for the coming generations. Now the duration of performance has been increased from ..Minutes to hours and there are more teams to perform. Saang has got recognition now and Haryana Govt. has also appreciated this attempt by deciding to honour the winning teams of Saang Competition in Haryana Day Ratnawali at Chandigarh in the Yuva Saang Mahotsav-2008.
Anoop Lather, who has to its credit Haryanvi Orchestra and Saang has not bound himself in the restricted tradition. He knows that to have Cultural Revival, there should be an open lane leading to the world. He adopted Pop Song in Haryanvi and gave it a look that has a strong Resistance Power against all negative possibilities of getting corrupted. As per the Fontana Dictionary of Thought- “Pop is an industrialized version of Folk.” Anoop has shaped Pop Song Haryanvi on this notion. He has theorized Haryanvi Pop Song through its Folk Music, Costumes, and the pure essence of Haryanvi Culture. His initiative of Haryanvi Pop Song was termed as the destruction of Culture. Editorials were written against him and posters were pasted against him in his home city Karnal blaming him as destructor. But he was determined to accomplish his dream and he has accomplished that with grace. Today Haryanvi Pop Song has a special place among the most popular forms of entertainment.
In 2007, Haryanvi Gazal was added to the list of jewels and its First presentation received wide appreciation. This event was also included in the Youth Festivals of the University. This time in the Haryana Day Ratnawali Fest2008 Haryanvi Gazal is again one of the most awaited events.
In addition to all these achievements, Anoop Lather’s Trend Setting Works include the Haryanvi One Act Play that is an event in the Haryana Day Fest. One Act Play in Haryanvi has its whole credit of presentation to Anoop, as no other organization or university has the courage to stage this even. But Anoop is still adding grandeur to this. The Literary Events have a unique status. Haryanvi has documented events i.e. Haryanvi Poetry Haryanvi Declamation Contest and Haryanvi Tit-Bits that prove Lather’s claim of the productivity of Haryanvi.
His future commitments are to organize The National Folk Theatre Festival in February at Kurukshetra University. He is as usual ready to host this Mega Event. Anoop is looking forward to organize Folk Dance Workshop to train the young artists.
Changing the Outlook and Approach of people is what validate your motive; however Anoop Lather has not fought madly for this change. He has worked on a well thought plan for the last 22 years. Anoop came in front at a time when the newly born state had gone in a condition somewhat like ‘coma’ and it desperately needed beats and breaths. No doubt, Haryana did the best for Green Revolution, White Revolution, Industrial Revolution, but we had not been able to remove the mark of being a state known only for agriculture. “As a servient economy has a servient culture, a dominant economy has a dominant culture,” says Anoop Lather. He envisions that India to be a Cultural Power along with its becoming an Economic Power in 2020 or 2050. For him, a new Cultural Revival of India is the Dream now. And he is determined for and assured of its accomplishment.
He has manipulated the worst conditions in favour of the mission in hand. Now, the young generation shares this mission with Anoop Lather, and this is what he terms the best reward for his working. Though, he has not been a receiver of any state award or any other medal of recognition on behalf of the governments, he feels proud of having the young brigade of Haryana with him and he has always been instrumental in designing the future course of culture in Haryana.Its not praise for this man, or calling him the owner of the revived culture. But, he deserves to be called a son, who has brought life to his dying mother by holding her hand and saying “Don’t worry, I am here, I’ll stay, I’ll bring you to life again.”You can see for yourself that the land that was known for agriculture is now the generator of the new Indian Cultural Renaissance. Friends of Anoop say, “We knew that whatever he has been doing with commitment will be appreciated one day and that’s what the present is.”
- Lathar - For the clan history
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