Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DANCE


performance of Kathakali in Kochi
Indian classical dance is performed in different styles. Its theory can be traced back to the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni (400 BC). Its various currents forms include Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Manipuri, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniaattam, Kathak and Sattriya.
Bharatanatyam is thought to have been created by Bharata Muni, a sage from Tamil Nadu, who wrote the Natya Shastra, the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance. It is also called the fifth Veda in reference to the foundation of Hindu religion and philosophy, from which sprang the related South Indian musical tradition of Carnatic music.


Bharatanatyam: classical Indian dance
Odissi is one of the oldest surviving forms of dance, with depictions of Odissi dancing dating back as far as the 1st century BC. Like other forms of Indian classical dance, the Odissi style traces its origins back to antiquity. Dancers are found depicted in bas-relief in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneswar) dating back to the 1st century BC. The Natya Shastra speaks of the dance from this region and refers to it as Odra-Magadhi.
Kathakali (katha for story, kali for performance or play) is a form of dance-drama. It originated in the South Indian state of Kerala over 500 years ago. It is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Kuchipudi is a classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh, a state of South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a small village in the Divi Taluq of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practising this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name. Mohiniaattam is a traditional dance from the South Indian state of Kerala. Mohini is an Apsaras in the Hindu mythology and aattam in Malayalam means dance. So Mohiniaattam essentially means "dance of the enchantress". The theme of Mohiniaattam is love and devotion to god. The costume worn by the dancers are typically white coloured kasavu saree with golden borders.
The Kathak dance form arose from the Vaishnava devotees dancing to the episodes from Krishna's life. Originally a Northern Indian temple dance, it was transformed to a court dance in the Mughal era. The new Muslim influence brought with it certain changes to the dance form: what had been a largely devotional practice now became more a courtly entertainment.
The Sattriya dance is believed to be a creation of the great Vaishnavite (bhakti) guru Srimanta Sankardeva considered the lead architect of Assamese literature and culture. He created this magnificent Sattriya dance to accompany the Ankiya Naat (a form of Assamese one-act play, another creation of Sankardeva) which was usually performed in Satras (Assamese monasteries). Since the dance developed and gr0ew within the Satras, it is named after these religious institutions.
Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are very focused on gestures, postures, and expressions. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions artists sing the main lyrics and are accompanied by instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels.

MUSIC

Major musical instruments of India
Indian music includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, and classical music. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of religious inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects. Alongside distinctly subcontinental forms there are major influences from Persian, Arab and British music. Indian genres like filmi and bhangra have become popular throughout the United Kingdom, South and East Asia, and around the world.
Indian pop stars now sell records in many countries, while world music fans listen to the roots music of India's diverse nations. American soul, rock and hip hop music have also made a large impact, primarily on Indian pop and filmi music. Other highly popular forms are ghazal, qawwali, thumri, dhrupad, dadra, bhajan, kirtan, shabad, and gurbani. Filmi music is often said to have begun in 1931, with the release of Ardeshir M. Irani's Alam Ara and its popular soundtrack. In the earliest years of the Indian cinema, filming was generally Indian (classical and folk) in inspiration, with some Western elements. Over the years, the Western elements have increased, but without completely destroying the Indian flavour. Most of the Indian movies are musicals and feature elaborate song and dance numbers. There is constant work for pop music composers — or music directors, to use the Indian term. Movie soundtracks are released as tapes and CDs, sometimes even before the move is released.

LITERATURE

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel prize for literature. It is the first Nobel prize won by Asia.

INDIAN LITERATURE is generally acknowledged, but not wholly established, as the oldest in the world. India has 22 officially recognized languages, and a huge variety of literature has been produced in these languages over the years. In Indian literature, oral and written forms are both important. Hindu literary traditions dominate a large part of Indian culture. Apart from the Vedas which are a sacred form of knowledge, there are other works such as the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, treatises such as Vaastu Shastra in architecture and town planning, and Arthashastra in political science. Devotional Hindu drama, poetry and songs span the subcontinent. Among the best known are the works of Kalidasa (writer of the famed Sanskrit play Shakuntala) and Tulsidas (who wrote an epic Hindi poem based on the Ramayana, called Raamcharitmaanas).





Tamil literature has been in existence for more than 2500 years. Tolkaappiyam has been credited as its oldest work, whereas the exact origins of Thirukkural is unknown. The golden age of Tamil literature was during the Sangam period, roughly 1800 years ago. The classic works of this period are Cilappatikaram, Manimekalai, and Sivakasinthamani. Tamil literature is known for its secular traditions, although its authors had strong religious beliefs. Thirukkural is considered to be the greatest of Tamil works. Kannada literature is probably the third oldest in Indian literature next to Sanskrit literature and Tamil literature. The earliest reported work in Kannada literature dates back to the fifth century. The first available literary in Kannada is Kavirajamarga, written in the eighth century by Amoghavarsha Nrpatunga. Hindi literature started as religious and philosophical poetry in medieval periods in dialects like Avadhi and Brij. The most famous figures from this period are Kabir and Tulsidas. In modern times, the Khadi dialect became more prominent and a variety of literature was produced in Sanskrit.


The most renowned Bengali writer is Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the last century, several Indian writers have distinguished themselves not only in traditional Indian languages but also in English. India's only native-born Nobel laureate in literature was the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, but VS Naipaul, a diaspora Indian novelist born in Trinidad, also won the Nobel in 2001. Other major writers who are either Indian or of Indian origin and derive much inspiration from Indian themes are R. K. Narayan, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Raja Rao, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Chandra, Mukul Kesavan, Shashi Tharoor, Nayantara Sehgal, Anita Desai, Ashok Banker, Shashi Deshpande, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Bharati Mukherjee.

Various examples of Indian architecture


  1. Bombay Stock Exchange
  2. The Massive Ellora and Buddhist temples
  3. Victoria Memorial
  4. The Great Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi
  5. Typical South Indian temple gopuram

With the introduction of Modern Architecture into India and later with Independence, the quest was more towards progress as a paradigm fuelled by Nehruvian visions. The planning of Chandigarh- a city most architects hate/love- by Le Corbusier was considered a step towards this. Later as modernism exhausted itself in the West and new directions were sought for, in India too there was a search for a more meaningful architecture rooted in the Indian context. This direction called Critical Regionalism is exemplified in the works of architects such as B. V. Doshi, Charles Correa, etc. Apart from this, the advent of globalisation and economic development since the 90s, has spawned an impressive collection of modern IT campuses and skyscrapers, and as economic reform accelerates, metropolitan areas are gaining futuristic skylines.

ARCHITECTURE

Indian architecture is that vast tapestry of production of the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time, transformed by the forces of history considered unique to the sub-continent, sometimes destroying, but most of the time absorbing. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history.
The earliest production in the Indus Valley Civilization was characterised by well planned cities and houses where religion did not seem to play an active role. The Buddhist period is primarily represented by three important building types- the Chaitya Hall (place of worship), the Vihara (monastery) and the Stupa (hemispherical mound for worship/ memory) - exemplified by the awesome caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the monumental Sanchi Stupa. The Jaina temples are characterised by a richness of detail that can be seen in the Dilwara Temples in Mt.Abu. Early beginnings of Hindu temple architecture have been traced to the remains at Aihole and Pattadakal in present day Karnataka, and have Vedic altars and late Vedic temples as described by Pāṇini as models. Later, as more differentiation took place, the Dravidian/ Southern style and or the Indo-Aryan/ Northern/ Nagara style of temple architecture emerged as dominant modes, epitomised in productions such as the magnificent Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur, and the Sun Temple, Konark.

With the advent of Islam, the arch and dome began to be used and the mosque or masjid too began to form part of the landscape, adding to a new experience in form and space. The most famous Islamic building type in India is the tomb or the mausoleum which evolved from the basic cube and hemisphere vocabulary of the early phase into a more elaborate form during the Mughal era where multiple chambers are present and tombs were set in a garden known as the char-bagh. Well known examples are the Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur and the Taj Mahal, Agra, the latter renowned for its beauty in white marble, its minarets and its setting. With colonisation, a new chapter began. Though the Dutch, Portuguese and the French made substantial forays, it was the English who had a lasting impact. The architecture of the colonial period varied from the beginning attempts at creating authority through classical prototypes to the later approach of producing a supposedly more responsive image through what is now termed Indo-Saracenic architecture- a mixture of Hindu, Islamic and Western elements.