The discussion of Bharatanatyam

The discussion of Bharatanatyam has been 150 years old: That there has been a discussion of Bharathamuni and Natyasastra for about 150 years proves that the modern scholars have been aware of the work and the originator of the work. Some of the old references are as follows (just for illustration):

R. Pischel, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1885, pp.763ff (as mentioned by Winterniz).Winterniz, Gesch. Der indischen Litt., Vol. III, p.8.P.

Renaud, Introduction to Grosset’s ed. of the Natya Sastra, 1897 (as mentioned by S. K. De).

A. Macdonell, Sanskrit Literature, p.434,

1900.Sylvian Levi, Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXXIII, p.163, 1904.

Harprasad Sastri, JASB, Vol.V (New Series), pp.351.ff., also Vol. VI, pp.307ff.

E. J. Rapson, Article on Drama, (Indian) in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. V, p.888, 1911.

P. R. Bhandarkar, Indian Antiquary, Vol. XLVI, pp.171 ff., 1917; also Introduction to the Sahityadarpan, pp.1923.

Hermann Jacobi, Introduction to Bhavissattakaha, p.84, 1918

Sten Konow, Das indische Drama, p.2, 1920.

S. K. De, Sanskrit Poetics, Vol. I, pp.23 ff, 1923.

P. D. Gune, Introduction to the Bhavisyattakaha, pp.48 ff. 1923.

A. B. Keith, Sanskrit Drama, pp. 291 ff, 1924.

S. C. Mukherjee, Introduction to the Rasadhyaya of the Natyasastra, 1926.

H. R. Divekar, Who First Introduced Natya on Earth?, ABORI, Vol.5, 1924, pp.69-71.

Manomohan Ghosh, Problems of the Natya Sastram IHQ, 1930, pp.72-75

.………………………, The Date of the Bharatha-Natyasastra, JDC-UC, Vol. XXV, 1934, pp.1-55.

N. A. Jairazbhoy, Bharata’s Concept of Sadharana, BSOAS, Vol. XXI, 1958, pp.54-60.

R. Sathyanarayana, Bharathanatya – A Critical Study, Sri Varalakshmi Acadamies of Fine Arts, Mysore, 1969.

G. H. Tarlekar has listed out 110 references of articles, papers etc., published in different research journals.

G. H. Tarlekar, Studies in the Natyasastra, Motilal, New Dlhi, 1999.

The westerners wanted to restrict before c.300 BCE: In general, the western interpretation of the text on dance and dramas had been biased as they did not want to place any Indian work before the Greeks. They invariably come to the word “Yavanika” and tried to interpret that Indian drama was derived from the Greeks. However, about Mudras, they could deal with translating such interpretation and so they tried to fix in the first centuries of CE. The mudras in dance deal with body language in perfect manner dealing with physiology and anatomy and thus implying the Indian knowledge in such subjects. The Greek had reportedly sculpture with perfect anatomy and physiology, but without any such standard work for their dance or drama. Above all, the nudity and pose a great problem with awkwardness. But, Indian works prescribe even dress for the performers. Thus, the Greek influence on Indian dance and drama is myth in spite of their forceful attempts made.

No racial, linguistic and casteist interpretation required: In fact, the dance has always been associated with drama, in other words the dance-drama has been a unique art-form of India. Definitely, there had been groups engaged in such performances. As they were meant for elite and common people, it is quite natural that it was prevalent in such applicable categories to satisfy the needs. That is why perhaps, such disciplined and liberalized art-forms were found to be prevalent side-by-side and as well as together depending upon the exigency. However, the theme and other factors had been the same throughout India. Here, the question is not the outdated misinterpretation of Aryan-Dravidian or narrow-minded linguistic interpretation of Sanskrit-Tamil divide. That such concepts were prevalent in the Silappathikaram proves that the Universal acceptance and adaptation of art-form. Therefore, the racist interpretation turned casteist elucidation need not mar the beautiful art-form. If Karunanidhi or Mayavathi wants to promote it, let them promote it without bringing any such marring and maiming factors. Like Jayalalitha, they can donate for such promotion.

Modern / current position of marketing Bharatanatyam: Now, for the elite and rich, Bharatnatyam has become a marketing commodity. The inculration groups infiltrate such ancient Indian institutions and try to erase the Indianness under the guise of de-Hinduization or Universalization. Using the fundamentals and even the standards, but replacing Nataraja with Jesus Christ or Allah or removing Ganesha amounts to selling imported goods in a repack. In India such repacking is not necessary, as Indians know what is presented to them. It is ironical that some try to claim that Bharatnatyam is just art-form and not religious etc. It s just like telling Islam is a religion, even without Allah and so on. Any way, one has to remember in such attempts that Nataraja with or without His counterpart can be depicted dancing according to Bharatnatya, but the copying or counterfeiting Christian groups cannot make Jehovah or Joseph to dance with Mary, Jesus Christ to dance with Mary Magdalene, Allah with His counter part (such thing cannot be thinkable) or Mohammed (PBCH) with his counterpart. Therefore, let them not meddle with Indian / Hindu systems. If they want they can enjoy and appreciate but not to appropriate under any pretext. When the Bangalore NCBLC placed Nataraja on the grills of the Church, the Judge in his judgement pronounced clearly, “ If you want honour the Hindu Gods, place them on the altar and not on the grills”. Perhaps, they now want to circumvent the Court judgement as usual. Therefore, they true to replace the Gods themselves, but they cannot steal Bharatanatyam from Hindus and sell the same back to them with their Gods!

VEDAPRAKASH

22-09-2007

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