Dateline Srinagar: Shri Data Ram Purohit prominent educationist, folk artist from Uttarakhand will be receiving the coveted Golden Achiever Award, in Jaipur on the 17th of September this year.
Synonymous with Garhwali folklore and tradition, Dr. Purohit is a humble, hard-working and focused person known to me as Dr. Dataram Purohit. Born on 8th August 1953, in the quaint hill village of Queeli in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Purohit sir, as I fondly call him, has come a long way since.
A Ph.D. in Medieval English Drama and Folk Theatre of Garhwal, Purohit sir became an Assistant Professor of English in HNB Garhwal University. Soon after be took charge of cultural programmes of the University and stood so until 1992. He formed and directed a folk orchestra “Himalayi Taal Vaadya vrind” in 1986-87 and conducted concerts.
Along with his teaching assignments, he conducted research and documentation on the folk forms of Uttarakhand. Most prominent of his documentations include a thousand page folk Mahabharata of Kedarnath valley, two hundred page – Bagdwali, rhythmic patterns of regional dhol drumming, Chaiti, Pandwani, Nain , Mahabharat and Ramayan Theatre, Mask theatre, Theatre of the bards and variants of Nanda Devi lore.
Instrumental in founding Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture in HNB Garhwal University in the year 2006. He headed the same for three years. Under his academic leadership courses like M.A. Theatre, six diplomas in Folk music, and thirteen diplomas in Folk dance and songs were introduced with a view to promoting the culture and arts of the Uttarakhand mountains.
He became a visiting DAAD Professor of Performing Arts in Ruprecht Karl University, Heidelberg, Germany in 2009 and taught courses in Folk Performing Arts of Uttarakhand. He was nominated as Baden Wurttemberg Fellow in Heidelberg University in 2018-19 and translated Garhwali Mahabharata into English in collaboration with Prof. William S. Sax and Prof. Friederick Smith.
In order to propagate the aesthetics and cultural values of folk performances and culture of Uttarakhand, he directed and staged “Nanda Devi Raj Jaat” in Heidelberg University. Penned close to three dozen Garhwali, Hindi and English scripts and produced plays. He was instrumental, as a cultural coordinator, in production of Goran Paskal-je-vic’s feature film “Land of Gods” (Devbhumi), a film based on the social theme and landscape of Garhwal Himalaya.
At present, he is working as an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture of H.N.B. Garhwal University. With 16 awards and honours to his credit and over sixty published papers in renowned journals, magazines and books, besides three audio albums and documentaries, this award adds another feather to his cap.