Reviving a dying language

Lost Traditions

Bangalore recently witnessed Samskrutham, a three-day dance festival to celebrate Sanskrit, where classical dancers paid rich tributes to the language at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Sanskrit has always been the core of Indian culture and knowledge and has played a major role in our value system. But in the recent past, it has lost its place to modern generations considerably. Despite that, its inseparable relationship with Indian classical dances persists, and that is exactly what the festival tried to highlight.

The festival was the brainchild of Usha R K, a cultural activist. “Sanskrit, as a language, may have lost prominence in modern times, but continues to inspire and enrich our classical dances even today. Many of the compositions by literary greats like Adi Shankaracharya, Vallabhacharya and Jayadeva are immortalised in our classical dances,” she says, adding, “Samskrutham is a humble endeavour to carry forward the tradition and to celebrate the beauty and musicality of Sanskrit language.”

Showcasing six dancing duos performing to Sanskrit compositions, the festival was a big success with lovers of the fading language.

 “I attended all three days of it and was pleasantly surprised by the response, especially by the youngsters present. Each of the dances was performed with great passion. There is a need to have many more festivals to revive dying traditions of our rich cultural heritage,” says Amitabh N, an audience member.  The performances began with a traditional invocatory dance item on a Sanskrit prayer, followed by dance pieces on timeless poetic compositions of different Sanskrit writers.

The first two days concentrated mainly on bharatanatyam duets — Rajendra Srinivasan and Anju Nair, Sathyanarayana Raju and Shama Krishna and Anil Iyer and Medha Dixit — each of which was varied in terms of composition, levels of energy and grace.

However, the last day of the festival saw odissi and kathak performances. Forceful movements with perfect coordination and beautiful artistry were seen in the odissi duo of Madhulita Mohapatra and Bishwabhushan Mohapatra, while an equally talented kathak performance by duo Tushar Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt was an apt finish to the festival.

 “It was a lovely experience. I felt humbled and blessed to be a part of the festival, performing before many senior gurus, dancers, scholars and connoisseurs at an event dedicated to Sanskrit language,” shares Madhulita.

During the three days, flautist H S Venugopal, mridangam player G Gurumurthy and vocalist D S Srivatsa were duly honoured for their commendable artistry and notable contributions.

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