THE OLD TRADITION OF THE KATHAK GURUS
Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwa Vidyalaya in Khairagarh, M.P., the only university in India solely devoted to classical music and dance studies—and the arts of painting and sculpture—recently organized a seminar on the Old Tradition of Kathak Gurus. The seminar brought into sharp focus the possibility—or rather the probability—that the country will be immensely poorer after the great gurus of the
old tradition participating in it pass on from the scene. They are all, alas, in their seventies already. But the seminar also gave rise to the hope that the country might yet throw up dancers and gurus who, imbibing the best from the old tradition, would be able to preserve and pass on the best of the heritage.
Dr. P.D. Ashirwadam, the Dean and Head of the Dance Department at the university who is known for his outstanding work on the tradition of Raigarh Durbar, succeeded in getting together eight old gurus on one platform for three days. They were : Pandit Gaurishankar (Jaipur), Pandit Chaube Maharaj (Sitara Devi's brother),
Rama Devi (widow of Guru Lachhu Maharaj of the Lucknow gharana), Pandit Kartikram,
Kalyan Mahant, Firtudas Vaishnav, Barmanlal (Raighar Durbar), Guru Ramakrishna Shukla (disciple of Shambhu Maharaj and uncle of Birju Maharaj) and Krishna Maharaj (disciple of Shambhu Maharaj). It was indeed a rare sight to see them demonstrate their art with great
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