(Last Updated on : 03/02/2011)
Bhagat is colloquially derived from bhakta. Bhakta is someone who feels bhakti. Bhakta is originally anyone in north India who acted episodes from Krishna's life, but now applied to their performances. It is related to the more popular Raslila and Nautanki or Swang. In earlier times, Bhagats used to enact various characters as a devotional counterpart to the lighter tradition of Bhand entertainers. They developed their own distinctive features, such as a serious approach, limited jokes, and stronger singing and dancing. Bhagat's present phase started in the nineteenth century, and was centred in Agra, Vrindavan, and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. In these places the troupes or schools i.e. akhadas formed that did not restrict themselves to religious themes. Dance and music became very important, the use of various and constantly changing metres making the performance lively. Often Bhagat is staged on a high, long platform in the marketplace, with the audience sitting on two sides.
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