Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Guru Kittappa Pillai teaches a Bharathanatyam adavu korvai in the frontal position. Sishya Harikrishnan decides to turn it sideways and back. Wow! material for a future researcher of Bharathanatyam to look for a conspiracy theory. Doing away with Kittappa Pillai's dance?
Harikrishnan's decision to change the direction of the adavu has come from the changed ambience for his dance.You would not believe Srividya Natarajan, Harikrishnan and Narthaki Nataraj were the disciples of the same Guru. Srividya bounces with joy in her dance, stretching her fingers out into the beyond, Harikrishnan dances with his tummy forward, making every movement of his in the face, aggressive stress on a point of view. As aggressive as his oratory. Does this not disprove the theory that every Devadasi danced the same?

Conspiracy theories abound in the Bharathanatyam academia these days. The Tanjore quartet conspired to do away with Devadasi dance by creating the Margam, Rukmini Devi of course the ultimate villain who conspired to take away conjugal bliss from the dance, Ananda Coomaraswamy who took away the different forms of Siva by focusing on Nararaja. etc etc etc etc...... Why cont the academia also look at the original conspiracy theory where the upper caste men conspired to have their cake and eat it too in getting the temple to accept the Devadasi system? They could have a family approved family and also have a learned woman they could enjoy the company of, give her children but have no responsibility whatsoever! it is this that Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy wanted to change. It is made out that it was the influence of orientalists and Brahmins that made Reddy work on this. But EVR Periyar supported her completely. The dravidian movement was with her. How come no one has studied this?

There is a romantic notion that the Devadasi was powerful and she was given lands etc but the upper caste men knew better. They made the God co owner of everything the Dasi owned that meant she could never sell anything. She just could live there with her many children and their children etc Always at the mercy of the temple trustees and priests.

Balasaraswathi was never a devadasi. her great grand mother had made the wise decision to move to Madras and so her family was not serving in any temple when Bala was born. So why is the North American academia so obsessed with proving Rukmini Devi the villain?

Change is the only constant thing but Wesleyan university's Ethnic musicology department still carries on with one point of view. That of just one family of dancers who were bitter that others were learning the dance they so guarded as their own. (It is the NRI mindset. Every Brahmin you meet in the US laments the reservation system and that non Brahmins are everywhere in India) Every family thinks they are the greatest. Sure they were great but their foreign trip and presentations outside the chamber concert of Veena Dhanammal was surely the result of the "revival" that was happening.

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