Thursday 9 March 2023

Warrior Queens: Ranis of Dance! - Dance Matters: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

Indian history provides enough fodder for thought and interpretation through art. In dance, there have been several themes explored in the last century. In the 1930s, there was Uday Shankar's Labour and Machinery on the theme of colonial industrial exploitation. In the 1950s, Nehru's Discovery of India was made into a fantastic production by Shanti and Gul Bardhan. In the 1970s, there was Darkness at Noon by Yog Sunder. Then there were countless poets like Subramania Bharati, Tagore, Rizvi whose works were made into dance productions.

In the clime of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav today, quite a few senior dancers have presented their patriotic flavoured works with the ball set in motion last year in April, by Delhi-based veteran Sonal Mansingh, the ruling party's nominated MP to the Upper House. Her works on women leaders before connected to Buddha or recently on the queens of Kashmir and mythological characters before - like Draupadi - have always made her someone who has taken up women's issues and causes. In that, she is a pioneer of Indian dance in this segment.

Senior dancer Prathibha Prahlad has come up with a wholesome production where patriotism meets pride and art meets warrior queens. This production is a good introduction to the canvas of history of a few chosen women warriors of India in last 200 years.

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  1. Nice review Ashish, as always. An interesting theme. It was good to know about the lesser known warrior queens.

  2. As we know, all these characters died young. I really wonder how it would have looked when senior citizens performed these roles while dancing.