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Individual Issues

Guru Mayadhar Raut
Issue : 257
Published on : February, 2006

$.5.00

CONTENTS

3 Sruti Box

7 News & Notes

17 Heritage Landmarks In Music

23 Main Feature

32 Opinion Column

36 Gaffes Of The Season

38 SNA Awards 2004

46 An Interview With Chairman, SNA

48 Editor's Note

Front Cover: Mayadhar Raut
(Photo by Avinash Pasricha)

Main Feature
Guru Mayadhar Raut

Dame Luck has always been an unpredictable mistress, stalking and wooing some all the time, while visiting others in fits and starts or not at all. That for a prosperous career in the dance field one needs good fortune and the right breaks as much as prowess is an accepted fact.


While discussing the restructuring of Odissi in the early fifties, through what was known as the Jayantika effort, the names of Guru-s Pankaj Charan Das, Deba Prasad Das and Kelucharan Mohapatra are frequently taken by scholars and dance practitioners. Less often mentioned is the fourth dimension to this revivalist square, Guru Mayadhar Raut who, for years, has settled down in New Delhi to which place he shifted in the year 1967, at the behest of two young guru-s both of whom had their training under him, namely Harekrushna Behera and Surendranath Jena.


On July 20th 2005, a threeday Odissi event at the India International Centre (IIC) heralded Guru Mayadhar Raut's 75th birthday. Intrigued about one who is registered as having been born in the village of Kantapanhara near Banki in Orissa on 6th July 1933 celebrating seventy five years in 2005, I asked the Guru's daughter Madhumita Raut, now the custodian of the Guru's

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Heritage
The Senate House

The Senate House is today a shining example of what can be done by means of a heritage conscious society. The Madras University administration, led by a dynamic Vice Chancellor, Dr. S.P. Tyagarajan and a group of heritage lovers, led by S. Muthiah who has long been fighting for the building's restoration have wrought this miracle. Those who care (or dare) to pause in their driving along Kamaraj Salai fronting the Marina, will therefore be able to see plenty of action in and around the building today. Visitors who are curious can drive into the sprawling Madras University's Beach campus, park their vehicles and then saunter into the handsome building now being lovingly restored. Inside they will see workmen wearing helmets carrying out the renovation. Renovation here is no slap dash affair with here a lump of cement, there a coat of paint and further up a new tubelight—activities that sadly pass off for renovation in our city. Here, one can see workers referring to photographs, drawings and other documentation as they progress with the work. The roof has already been strengthened and the stained glass in the great hall has been cleaned. The arabesques on the walls are now being slowly restored to their old glory. A lot of work is still left. For instance, the problems associated with the four domes of the building are many. But work is going on nevertheless and underneath all that slow and painstaking renovation there is also a sense of urgency, for the building is to be made ready by 2007 when the University will complete 150 years.

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Interview
An Interview With Chairman, SNA

The central Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is the apex "national academy of music, dance and drama" in India. Its Chairman, Dr. Ram Niwas Mirdha, was on a visit to Chennai in December 2005, mainly to inaugurate the Kathak Festival organised by SNA and its constituent wing—the Kathak Kendra, in collaboration with the Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai. He addressed a press conference at the Press Information Bureau in Chennai on the 16th of December. Later he met separately, the Sruti team comprising MANNA SRINIVASAN (Roving Editor) and S. JANAKI (Deputy Editor), fayant Kastuar, Secretary SNA, was also present.


Dr. Ram Niwas Mirdha, Chairman SNA, spoke about the process of cultural renaissance that had been part of our country's Independence movement, and reiterated that art and culture had been a powerful unifying force in the past and would continue to be so in the future. Steps must be taken to make the younger generation aware of our arts and culture in the face of the "cultural invasion" which is an unavoidable feature of growing globalisation. As censorship is not the answer to counter this in democratic societies, the best way would be to inculcate an informed understanding of the arts in our children and youth. He spelt out a three-pronged strategy to develop and sustain an informed audience for art and culture.

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News & Notes

VISHNU DIGAMBAR JAYANTI IN NEW DELHI- S.K. SAXENA Two outstanding items press for immediate attention as I begin the present write-up on this year's Vishnu Digambar Jayanti held from 12-14 August at the Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi: * the level-headed quality of the opening announcement by Pramod Chandra, the capital's venerable compere; and * the sweet and opulent finale provided by the vocal recital of Ulhas Kashalkar, regarded by many as our leading classical vocalist today. To begin with, however, only the first of these may be dwelt upon at some length; for the other one has to be valued aesthetically, rather than from the viewpoint of its relevance to facts and happenings. Pramod Chandra began by referring to 1901 when the patron saint of Hindustani music, Vishnu Digambarji, established the very first Gandharva Mahavidyalaya at Lahore-- a landmark of far-reaching significance. He paid due verbal homage to two departed souls-- Gargi Gupta, a tireless worker in organising such functions and the tabla maestro Shafaat Ahmed Khan, who had been a regular participant in such jayanti-s for more than twenty years. Chandra thanked the participating artists and rasika-s very warmly; and finally, did not fail to say a good word about the organisers who just keep working self-effacingly to create the necessary conditions for this fascinating annual conference of musicians and their devotees. This does not, however, mean that the jayanti had nothing else to commend itself to the rasika-s. The very opening session presented a young vocalist, Kumar Mardur who was new to most of us, and who surely did not disappoint us. It was his maiden appearance in the capital, and (I am glad) it was quite well received.

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