Thursday, October 28, 2010
Guru Shishya parampara is the ancient Indian system of mentor/teacher and disciple/student lineage in India. It is based on the unwavering faith in the teacher and determination on the behalf of the disciple to make the mentor’s path his own. This relationship is life long and deep. In the field of Indian classical dance and music this relationship is formalized with a ceremony called the “Gandabandhan’. With this ceremony the Guru /teacher formally accepts the student in the lineage of the gharana the guru comes from. In Urdu the student is also called Shagird. Here the ‘Sha’ stands for the teacher and ‘Gird’ means around. Thus the word Shagird litlerary means one who makes the teacher the center of his or her world. It is a very sensitive and strong bond. We see examples of such strong student teacher relationship in Greek philosophy between Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The relationship between Shri Krishna and Arjun in Bhagvat Gita is fine example of what a Guru-Shishya bond is in Indian philosophy. In the Chritian philosophy we see this fine bond between the Christ and his apostles. In Buddhism this mentor disciple relationship forms one of the pillars of the philosophy example; mentor disciple relationship between Shakyamuni Buddha and Shariputra. In Sufism too, the seeker begins his search by finding a teacher, as the connection to the teacher is considered necessary for the pupil’s growth. Thus we see that though the term “Guru-Shishya”is considered Indian, it does have strong roots all the cultures and philosophies around the world. The bond between the mentor and his disciple is universal. Even in today fast paced modern world we see this bond going strong not only in the field of dance and music but even in sports, science and academics. Everyone has some mentor in their life; it can be a parent, friend, a favorite teacher or coach, spouse or even some stranger who teaches you some valuable lesson in life. But for everyone irrespective to gender class and race our biggest teacher is our life itself.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Today I finally got down to reading what is know as Bible of Indian Classical Dance, Music and Drama - The Natya Shastra. This two volume encyclopedia written by Sage Bharat (Bharat Muni) is made of couplets in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. Over the years this book had found many translators who made it easy for readers like me to study this book. However i would suggest a little study of the Sanskrit before one ventures into reading Natya Shastra as each translator may have had their own interpretation of certain phrases or couplets. Here is what i took away with me from the first few chapters from the Natya Shastra.
Scope and importance of Natyashastra
v Main topics of discussion in Natya Shastra are:
1. Origin of mythical theater
2. Construction of stage, auditorium and ceremonies attached to their construction
3. Choreographic element
4. Costume and make-up
5. Classification and analysis of plays.
6. Poetic aspects of plays and meters and figure of speech used in them.
7. Theory of music and Talas.
8. Classification and description of the characters in a play.
9. Criticism of the plays
v Natya Shastra is considered as encyclopedia because:
1. It provided the play writer with the structural designs of various types of play and its elaborations
2. It helped the play writers to get acquainted with the rules of production to make the drama as a spectacle
3. Many literary dramas are not taken for performance as they are not suitable to be staged, Bharat Muni was aware of this and gave importance to both the literary and technical aspect of theater.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Master of all the aspects of Kathak which are Gayan (singing), Vadan (percusiion) and Nartan (dance), Late Pt Durgalalji was a complete artist. Born in the year 1948 in Rajasthan Pt Durgalalji started is training in Kathak under the watchful eye of his guru and elder brother Pt Devilalji. Later on both brothers received scholarship to study Kathak at Bharatiya Kala Kendra under Pt Sunderlalji. Pt.Durgalalji was trained in Hindustani vocal by his father Pt.Omkarlalji and Pakhawaj by Pt.Purshottam of Nathdwara. Stardom may have opened for him a whole new world of ostentation, but Pt. Durgalalji simplicity remained untouched. He was a great guru, a disciplinarian and a hard worker. The aesthetics of the physical and artistic dimensions of Durgalalji was matched by the man´s unblemished character. He was a recipient of honor from various public and private bodies, both at home as well as abroad. At age of 36 in 1984, he received the highest honor in the field of performing Arts –"The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award". In the year 1990 Pt. Durgalalji, at the peak of his career at the age of forty-two, succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest. It occurred shortly after a marathon performance in Lucknow for the UP Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Kathak Mahotsav.