Beware of touts with tall claims
- Ratikant Mohapatra & Rahul Acharya, Bhubaneswar

March 20, 2010
The following is a letter to narthaki.com regarding the personal experience of two artistes.
This is the personal view and experience of the artistes, and in no way reflect those of this website and the editorial team.
If any artistes would like to add or contribute to this subject, please do so under your own name and not under aliases.
Thank you
The narthaki.com editorial team


In recent times, a very unsavoury trend has been noticed in the dance fraternity. A few people are claiming discipleship of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra when actually they have not even met the man. Apart from misrepresenting, these people also fabricate personal incidents and issues of people belonging to Kelucharan Gharana to lend credibility to their false claims.

A recent instance is of Abhijit Deb, a 25 year old from Kolkata, who has collected considerable amount of money from five innocent, aspiring Canadian dance students and hoodwinked them to train under him to learn the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra style of Odissi! These Canadian students had made enquiries about Srjan with the purpose of learning Odissi under the institution's Director, Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. Deb claimed that there were lot of problems in Srjan and since he himself was a direct disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, they were better off learning under him.

This mischief making would not have come to light, had it not been for an enquiry by Nandini Shyam. To quote her e-mail: A group of five students of mine from Canada had gone to Kolkata. They met a male dancer there named Abhijit Deb, who claimed to be a direct disciple of the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. He is presently studying at the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. This boy informed them that he was also a student of Srjan and he could teach them whatever they wanted to learn. He advised them not to go to Srjan as there were some problems going on in Srjan. He taught them one item 'Durga.' Apart from charging them Rs. 5000 each for the workshop, he also sold them his video which I had an opportunity to see. I am sorry to say he is a pathetic dancer and horrified that he claims to be a disciple of the great maestro who has trained amazing dancers like your good self. My students learnt a distorted version of the item - which I have seen so many times - and at the end of it all, they feel cheated.

Even more shocking are the salacious and obscene accusations made by this Abhijit Deb about the criminal ill-treatment by Guru Durga Charan Ranbir of his noted disciple Rahul Acharya. In an e-mail to acquaintance Shyamli Dasgupta, Abhijit has described events between Guru Durga Charan Ranbir and Rahul Acharya in language that is too vulgar to be reproduced here. Behaviour such as this on the part of Abhijit Deb and few others has gone beyond all tolerable limits.

We write this with the intent that-
a) Students wishing to learn Odissi dance from reputed institutions should not be misguided by liars and touts like Deb.
and
b) Unnecessarily maligning of people and institutions can bring no benefit, even temporary ones, because their foolhardy attempts get exposed soon - a blot in the landscape of Indian classical dance.

Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan, Bhubaneswar (srjan.bbsr@gmail.com)
Rahul Acharya, Odissi dancer, Bhubaneswar (rahul_acharya@rediffmail.com)

Copies of this letter have been forwarded to:
- Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre (where Abhijit Deb has been a student)
- The Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (where he presently studies)
- HOD, Dance, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (where he presently studies).
- Hon'ble Minister, Tourism & Culture, Orissa
- The Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Orissa
- The Director, Dept. of Culture, Orissa
- Dancing_odissi@yahoogroups.com