Jyoti Prasad Agarwala
Born a century ago into an old and illustrious family that had migrated to Assam from Rajasthan, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was a multi-faceted genius in the truest and widest sense of the word. Living and working in Assam at a time of great social and political changes, his was a romantic vision imbued with a revolutionary fervour-a fervour that drew sustenance from his compassionate, humanist view of life. Through his songs, of which there are at least 350, his plays, his essays, indeed, the very melodies that he created for his songs, and also through the medium of cinema, he sought to convey his vision of an ideal world, where people would be free from all oppression, and would follow the path of Beauty or Culture, twin themes which Jyoti Prasad, like Keats, equated with Truch.
Unlike other Indian dance-forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odi8si or Kathak, there are not many ventures worth mentioning for new group choreographies in Mohini Attam. This has obviously affected both the national and international presentation of dance pieces set to the Mohini Attam style.
In this backdrop, the latest thematic group choreography of Pallavi Krishnan, under the grant-in-aid project of the Department of Culture, Government of India, Delhi, is of significance. The work titled Salabhanjika was premiered in Thrissur (Kerala) on the 7th February followed by another performance in Kochi on 9th February. Salabhanjika was hailed by the Kerala press and critics for its choreographic aesthetics and the philosophical approach to the story of Ahalya. Pallavi Krishnan led a group of seven other dancers, six of them her senior disciples and the seventh a guest artist, all Bengalis from Kolkata.
A Series For Youngsters
Stamp On Kabir
This is the first of the four commemorative stamps in the saints and poets series issued by the Department of Posts. It is also the first stamp on the theme of music and dance.
The stamp is in the denomination of 9p; of "bright emeral green" colour; watermark multi star. Perf. 14; and was issued on the 1st October 1952. It was printed in India Security Press Nasik. (More details in the next article).
India has produced a galaxy of saints, seers, mystics and thinkers from ancient times. While we have preserved their philosophy and thoughts more or less intact, we have shown total indifference to recording accurate information about their personal lives; with the result, we do not have authentic information on the year or place of their birth, or how long they lived, or when they died!