Friday, 4 December 2020

Yog Sunder: the dancer extraordinary - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Yog Sunder, a dance phenomenon of this land, is no more, leaving behind an incredibly rich outcrop of dance events. He passed away just a few months short of 100 years of age. This critic came to know him intimately over the last 50 years, even persuaded to be a (quite passive) Vice President for his 'India Revival Group' (IRG) for a while. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth in a royal family of Gujarat, he was exposed early in life to the Spartan Gandhian principles - including participation in the Banar Sena (Monkey Brigade) during the Bardouli movement-and he followed these tenets throughout his own life.

The consequence was that he maintained a frugal life-style all along and, in fact, never had a permanent address for his brainchild IRG founded in 1948 -- and gloriously active ever since -- barring a modest flat at Delhi's Vasant Kunj bought in his sunset years. When, after the Asiad Games in 1982, sumptuous twin cottages (with garden space) in the posh Asiad Village were offered to eminent artists (and art-related persons) at hugely concessional terms, he laughed away gentle persuasions from many well-wishers, including this critic, to utilise his considerable political clout and obtain one of them. Similarly, he declined to make discrete efforts to secure allotment of land at the trans-Yamuna Artists' Colony, or elsewhere, to build for IRG "a local habitation and a name", -- preferring to retain his self-effacing manner of living all along.

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