Jatra and Tamasha are two important theatre arts of India. Consider the following statements with this reference:
1. While Jatra originated in Bengal as a result of the bhakti movement, Tamasha originated in Maharashtra for entertainment of the camping Mughal armies
2. While Jatra flourished in the court of Nawabs of Bengal, Tamasha flourished in the courts of Maratha rulers
Which among the above statements is / are correct?

Answer: [A] Only 1

The first statement is correct but second one is half correct.


The jatra, popular in Orissa and eastern Bihar, originated in Bengal in the 15th century as a result of the bhakti movement, in which devotees of Krishna went singing and dancing in processions and in their frenzied singing sometimes went into acting trances. This singing with dramatic elements gradually came to be known as jatra, which means “to go in a procession.” In the 19th century the  jatra became secularized when the repertoire swelled with love stories and social and political themes. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the dialogue was primarily sung. The length has been cut from all night to four hours. The jatra performance consists of action-packed dialogue with only about six songs. The singing chorus is represented by a single character, the vivek (“conscience”), who can appear at any moment in the play. He comments on the action, philosophizes, warns of impending dangers, and plays the double of everybody. Through his songs he externalizes the inner feelings of the characters and reveals the inner meaning of their outer actions.


The tamasha (a Persian word meaning “fun,” “play,” or “spectacle”) originated at the beginning of the 18th century in Maharashtra as an entertainment for the camping Mughal armies. This theatrical form was created by singing girls and dancers imported from North India and the local acrobats and tumblers of the lower-caste Dombari and Kolhati communities with their traditional manner of singing. It flourished in the courts of Maratha rulers of the 18th and 19th centuries and attained its artistic apogee during the reign of Baji Rao II (1796–1818). Its uninhibited lavani-style singing and powerful drumming and dancing give it an erotic flavor.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module