Classical moves lend a voice to the unheard

Spiritually yours

Stepping every bit into the minds of two spiritual poetesses from the medieval period, noted Bharatanatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan brought alive their mysticism on stage.

Presenting ‘Mad and Divine’, based on the work of 13th century Marathi poet Janabai’s Abhangs  and 14th century Kashmiri poet Lalleshwari’s Vakhs, for the first time in the City, the danseuse struck perfect synchronisation between abhinaya and adavus (dance movements) with able support from her accompanists. 

Draped in a simple cotton saree and dancing on Janabai’s Utto Panduranga, she appeared to be the saint poet herself who wakes up the Lord softly, even as she mirrors the scenes of early morning – where birds chirrup, temple bells jingle and women go about their daily chores. 

In the second half, Rama appeared on stage in a dull, white ensemble to perform on the works of Lalleshwari, bringing alive the 14th century poetess’ s rendition of Parama Shivo Tantra. Lalleshwari had shed shame, desire and renou­nced the world in the pursuit of liberation. 

Rama’s narration and interpretation of the poetical works were utterly convincing as she ably used her voice and expre­s­­sions together, to mesmerise the audience.  

Though from different backgrounds, both female mystic poets, Janabai and Lal Ded aka Lalleshwari went through tremendous hardships. They were castigated by society, before they were recognised for their inspiring thoughts, as their writing kindled spiritual awa­kenings. 

The event was also a recognition to woman power as both poets in their journeys as savants, crossed barriers of social no­rms to fearlessly express their love for the Supreme Being. They were called ‘mad’ and ‘divine’. The recital organised by Kri Foundation aimed at capturing the feminine voice in spiritual poetry, at the same time paying a tribute to strong women. 

The event, therefore, began with a pictorial tribute to late freedom fighter and a singer Captain Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal who passed away recently. With flautist G Raghuraman’s soulful tune in the backgr­o­u­nd, the audience was treated to some rare photographs of the freedom fighter who stayed a good samaritan till the last. 

Speaking on the occasion, Kri’s Arshiya Sethi said, “Mad and Divine was first presented in Chennai as part of a festival. Since then, it has grown and been presented in many cities, including Srinagar. It is being staged in Delhi for the first time.” The event was the first in the series of ‘Dasham Dakshinam’, celebrating 10 years of the foundation. “The two poets belonged to different backgrounds, but had to go through the same struggle to fight against the regressive customs of society. They spoke of equality, love and peace. We still hear these word when we talk about women. It implies that their work is still relevant,” she adds. 

The event was attended by many eminent personalities such as ICCR Director General Suresh K Goel, Rama Vaidyanathan’s mother-in-law and renowned dancer Saroja Vaidyanathan among others. 

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