Bikrama Khakhlari, aged 48, hails from Amonigaon in the Karbi Anglong region of Nagaon district, Assam. Coming from the Bodo tribe of Assam, her story is sure to bring a smile to the face. She is a skilled professional Bodo singer and dancer and was honoured with the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar in 2012 by Sangeet Natak Akademy. Bikrama is a delightful individual who effortlessly puts others at ease with her playful wit and humour. She takes pride in showcasing her Bodo culture and folk form, both as an artist and a knowledge-sharer. From her humble beginnings as a Bodo folk dancer, Bikrama has blossomed into a talented Bodo folk singer and an inspiring teacher of singing and dancing in this very folk form. Through workshops and collaborations with institutions and organizations, she passionately shares the beauty of Bodo folk song and folk dance. Beyond her performances, Bikrama finds joy in songwriting, crafting original folk compositions that capture the essence of Bodo culture. When asked about her songwriting inspiration, Bikrama shared a fascinating anecdote. She revealed that on certain occasions, songs would manifest in her dreams, serving as a wellspring of creativity. The following day, she enthusiastically recites these dream-inspired compositions to either her son or her husband, seeking their valuable feedback. Bikrama’s passion for music began to take root during her childhood.
Her father, Khirod Khakhlari who himself was a Bodo dancer, served as her guru and introduced her to the world of Bodo folk dance. Even at a young age, she discovered joy in writing songs and poetry, which she would often contribute to regional magazines. Among the diverse styles of Bodo folk music, Bikrama holds a special affinity for the “Aaroj” songs. These melodies capture the devotional or bhakti music of the Bodo tribe. According to her, Bodo music encompasses the very essence of life, imbued with moral teachings, our connection with the divine, and celebrations that revolve around the seasons, mythology, and the tapestry of our everyday existence. Bikrama, a revered guru to her students, also plays a pivotal role as a mentor to her own son, who passionately pursues mastery of musical instruments. Together, they form a musical duo, nurturing a deep bond and ensuring the art form’s continuity for generations to come. Bikrama has found its place in the heart of folk music. Her devotion to the art form is evident, and it has become an essential part of her life. Through her talent and dedication, she continues to breathe life into the world of folk music, leaving an indelible mark on its legacy.