The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya tribute to dance pioneer

Chennai, June 30: Bharat, the author of Natya Shastra, which is said to have led to the evolution of Bharatnatyam, will soon have a temple in Tamil Nadu dedicated to him and the dance form he bequeathed to the world, said chief minister Jayalalithaa at a function on Saturday to inaugurate the Nritya Navaratri Mahotsavam.

The function was part of celebrations to mark over 60 years of the dance foundation, Nrithyodaya, and felicitate Padma Subrahmanyam on the golden jubilee of her dancing career. Classical dancer Padma, a Padma Bhushan recipient, is a long-time friend of the chief minister.

Referring to Padma’s long-held desire of building a temple in Bharat’s honour, Jayalalithaa said such a shrine would probably be the first of its kind. “As one who shares with Padma a love for this divine art form, I have no hesitation in offering my full support to her dream project,” she added.

The chief minister urged the dancer to look at a suitable site for the shrine, adding: “It will be the duty of my government to make the site available and help you in every possible way to erect and construct this temple. I assure you I will see that this project is completed within a very short span of time,” she said.

Jayalalithaa added: “I have no doubt the perfectionist that she (Padma) is, this temple will come up very soon and become the most sacred shrine for all exponents of Bharatnatyam or Bharata Nrityam (pure dance) as Padma chooses to call it.”

The chief minister praised Padma’s father, the late K. Subrahmanyam, a pioneer in film-making and a nationalist, who set up the Nrithyodaya foundation in 1942. She said Subrahmanyam used to teach students music and dance for free.

In this way, Nrithyodaya became the preferred destination for young dancers from all over India.

Jayalalithaa released a book by Padma, Karnas — Common Dance Codes of India and Indonesia — on the occasion. The government assisted Padma in her research with a Rs 7 lakh funding. The book throws light on the age-old links between India and Indonesia forged by Natya Shastra.

The chief minister said the book would serve as a basic text for Bharatnatyam and revive the marga code as found in the Shastra.

Jayalalithaa recalled that Padma and her father had attended “my own Arangetram (dance debut)”, held when the chief minister was 12.

“While I moved on from classical dancing to films and politics…. I have watched on in admiration and wonderment through half-a-century as Padma has carried her commitment to Bharatnatyam to the pinnacle of achievement,” the chief minister said.

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