Dakshina Dvaraka. What An Evening!

“Information isn’t what’s scarce; it’s the willingness to do something with it.”
~ Tyler Cowen

It was a heady mixture of culture, history, music, dance, sculpture, religion, and mythology. It was a presentation that was originally scheduled to last two hours and fifteen minutes but because of audience pressure got extended to three hours but still left the audience wanting more.

My friends Geeta and Koushik are deeply involved in matters cultural in Pune with a particular orientation towards Tamil Nadu. They are part of a new initiative called Dakshina Dvaraka meaning Doorway To The South, and had invited me to a programme yesterday. Despite receiving this electronic flier I was not quite sure how the evening will turn out to be but since I trust Geeta’s and Koushik’s judgement in these matters, decided to go. You can click on the image to get a larger image.
dakshina dvaraka

Manjiree and Ranjan too got intrigued enough to offer to accompany me and the three of us had a most interesting and enlightening evening out. Dr. Chithra Madhavan‘s presentation with the help of photographs on six of Tamil Nadu’s many famous temples, the myths attached to them and the history behind them was fascinating to say the least.

Sushruti Santhanam’s explanations about the songs that she sang with reference to the composer/poet/saints behind them was also fascinating and the surprise Bharat Natyam by Dr. Anjali Raju was icing on the cake. Sushruti’s comments about the Maratha influence on Carnatic music zapped audience, sitting as we all were in the heartland of the old Maratha empire.

We left the auditorium with amazement that there was so much that we need to learn about our own culture. Manjiree and Ranjan have decided to go on an extensive motorcycle trip to Tamil Nadu at the earliest and I envy them.

Thank you Geeta and Koushik for having given us this opportunity to learn invaluable things about our heritage. Vignesh, it is a pity that you missed it!

15 thoughts on “Dakshina Dvaraka. What An Evening!”

  1. It was a mesmerising evening…the music was so elevating and the talks were so enlightening! The “wow” factor just pervaded the atmosphere! It was amazing to know how the design of Indian temples, music and dance was so scientific in the different dimensions of life that they touched, and how they interwove themselves into the daily lives of people! We felt that a whole day spent either on one temple or one composer also was not enough!

  2. Yes Ramana Athan – and i think about the event all day. Inshallah, next time.
    The influence and benovalence of Marata kings have a huge role to play in the lives of our great composers – The trinity of Tyagayya, Dikshitar and Shayama Shastri – , on the Thanjavur area itself which by some cosmic synchronicity is the karma bhoomi of all three composers, born within 100 km / 100 years of each other, on great theorists like Venkatamakhi who first formulated the structure of the music that we use even today – and consequently, on the evolution of Carnatic music itself as it is today. I go as far as saying, but for the patronage and creative freedom offered by the Maratha kings, our music would have been much diminished. Notably, unlike most conquering kings, they did not impose their arts, language or traditions on the Tamil populace. But Maratha influences are evident, especially in Dikshitar’s works. Imagine a hot bed of creativity in 4 languages – Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Marathi!!
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qmrioebZJo
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDZ4CMOvwuk

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