People evacuate along with their belongings using a boat in the flood hit Gazole, in Malda district of West Bengal on Aug 19, 2017.. Image Source: IANS

Kolkata, Aug 25 : A clutch of Gambhira folk performers in flood-ravaged Malda district of West Bengal are chipping in to gather funds for flood relief through their art form, officials said on Friday.

According to Malda district officials, Gambhira dancers as well as various NGOs are doing their bit towards flood relief.

The theatre-like folk form takes roots from the eponymous popular annual festival of Malda district comprising songs and dances closely related to agriculture and mythology.

Depending on the theme, dancers perform solo, duets or in groups, stepping in tune with the beat of dhaks. These choreographies are distinguished by performers donning colourful masks representing gods and goddesses such as Kalika, Chamunda, Rama, Hanuman, Shiva and animals.

In Malda town, Gambhira dancers are collecting funds for relief and generating awareness about various diseases through renditions of the 'pala', the song and performance of the folk form as also the vibrant masked dance.

According to Malda District Magistrate Kaushik Bhattacharya, the situation is "still grave" in the district.

"It is improving slowly. Now the river waters are going down and we are able to reach more people with relief," Bhattacharya said.

West Bengal floods have claimed 152 lives and caused losses to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore in 11 districts of the state.

Around 45 lakh people have been affected in the three north Bengal districts -- Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur.

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