Sunday 3 September 2023

Laudable attempts at recapturing flavours of Vedic women and their wisdom - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Supported by the Ministry of Culture, as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, the Koochipoodi Dance Centre of Swapnasundari presented Brahmavadini-Vedic Women of Wisdom at the C.S.O.I auditorium, Delhi, in what must be regarded as one of the rarest of programs. Researched, visualized and directed by Swapnasundari, the performances over two successive evenings, brought glimpses of six Brahmavadinis of the Vedic period - Maitreyi, Ghosha, Romasha, Lopamudra, Apala and Gargi - by reputed dancers each representing a different tradition of dance, covering in the process six dance forms.

Suman Sanjay Agarwal, the compere, in her succinct introduction summed up the state of women in the Vedic era. Equal to the sons in every way, daughters too went through the coming of age upanayanam (thread ceremony), and had full authority for reading the Sastras and participating in Vedic rituals. Women were allowed to partake of soma rasa and considered Dharma Rakshaks along with men - to the extent of participating in battles as soldiers - thus sharing in every activity man was part of. If anything, woman's position in our society today would seem to suggest regression rather than progress.

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