Saturday 27 November 2021

Cultural (il)literacy - Dance Matters: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

It is amazing how literate our people are about Indian culture. Or illiterate. Appalling actually. A quiz master of a popular TV show - an ageing film icon no less - didn't seem to know what Bhavai was when a participant from Gujarat spoke about it. It is folk theatre. Very popular like Nautanki of Uttar Pradesh or Therukoothu of Tamilnadu or Yakshagana of Karnataka. Unless he was joking or acting. At another forum, a babu asked, "Can you play Carnatic sarod?" Eeks! Third gem reserved for end of this opening, was the best: "When was Ali added to Kathak to make it Kathakali?" It's not just in arts; even normally 95% population knows zilch about Indian culture. Basic things. I roam all over India like a yogi or migrant person, I see it firsthand. Still, ALL south Indians are Madrasi and for them ALL north Indians are Punjabis. All Eastern folks are Bengali and West means abroad! Few know the seven sisters of North East. Their map, capitals or cuisine. Madhya land, forget it, one big blob. Even in cultural institutions they don't know Baroda had Maratha rulers who also ruled Tanjore in Tamilnadu. They don't know Kashmir except for in films. Rajasthan means camels. Epic means a TV channel.

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  1. A superbly written article that takes our consciousness to a higher level - thanks for that Mr Khokar!

  2. Well written about Sonal ji ,a great artist , always a pleasure to watch Ramayana created time & again by great people on stage ,hoping to see the show sometime .
    Ofcourse looking forward to your writeups Ashish ji ,neatly conveyed views about artist & performance .Thanks

  3. Hey,your writings are very simple to read .I enjoy reading every bit of it ... Very lucid too...Thanks for sharing

  4. As always Sir's column injects us with renewed energy to do more, read more, know more..Thank you very much Sir for your guidance

  5. Beautifully written.... As I happened (really do??!!) to be a witness to the moments you mentioned here of neemarana, I can see visuals in your lines!well captured... As far as neemarana,the less said, the better...the creator and the creation, both deserve high accolades.... Thanks for sharing this article

  6. Prof Khokar
    I read almost all your articles. Have no words to describe the seva you do to Kala.
    You are so direct and true .... may be difficult for some to be able to digest the facts you put forward. I wish they reach the right ears and impacts where it should.
    Thanks for making us travel along with you through your articles and discover marvelous works of Arts and architecture. I must say, you describe/design these works so beautifully in words that one reads it with immense pleasure.
    Looking forward for your next article.
    Vandana from Mauritius

  7. I am Shibangi Mohapatra, senior deciple of Guru Smt Meera Das,Gunjan Dance Academy at Cuttack Odisha.
    As an artist and a performer we learner seek criticism for improvement and most of the times we have been deprived of it in the local sphere. It's very important for performers to seek unbiased suggestions and opinions for there work to improve there work and I have very intricately felt the guidance in your words Aka.
    Your observations and thoughts about art,artistes and performance has been extremely helpful and enriching. I look forward to more learning from you in the future. My regards and best wishes always.Pranaam.