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IGNCA regularly invites scholars from different disciplines to give lectures on the topics of their choice. Here is a thematic account of some of the lectures organized in the Centre.

Textual Tradition of Dance and Music

An interesting lecture on The Contribution of Matanga’s Treatise Brhaddesi in Ancient Indian Musical Thought on music was given by Dr. Premlata Sharma, the noted musicologist and academic. The lecture brought out the special features of the text which ushered in new trends of technique and thought in music. A critical edition and translation of the text by Dr. Sharma is being brought out by IGNCA.

Dr. R. Satyanarayana, the Mysore-based academic and scholar spoke on Textual Tradition of Indian Dance. He highlighted the integral vision that illuminates the arts, corroborated by tradition and augmented with literary, sculptural and epigraphical sources. The speech threw light on the different texts and studies on dancing and their varied treatment of the subject.

Continuing the discussion on dance, Dr. Mandakranta Bose, the U.S. based researcher on Indian dance examined the historical process of the evolution of dancing in India as found in the Sanskrit texts. Her lecture on The Idea of Dance in the Sanskrit Tradition traced the development of Indian dance. In India dance tradition permitted the assimilation of new forms and techniques and consequently the redefinition of its purpose and scope. A lot of discussion and debate ensued from the audience, which made it a lively forum of exchange.

Folk and Indigenous Tradition

Complementing the textual tradition, some of the lectures offered insights into the rich heritage of the indigenous people in India.

An interesting account of folk legends woven into embroidery work which reflect in the variegated regional expressions in India. The speaker was Dr. Charu S. Gupta, Research Officer, Regional Design and Technical Development Centre who spoke on Narration in Folk-Embroidery: A Case Study where she dwelt on the Kani, amlikar, shikar and choga styles of Kashmiri embroidery.

An interesting, anecdotal account of how modern scientific tools of research and indigenous methods arrive at the same conclusions on man and nature was given by Dr. Jyotindra Jain, Director, Crafts Museum, New Delhi. The lecture titled The Implicit and the Manifest in Indian Art and Culture connected several stray observations and accounts given by representatives of the folk and tribal communities of India, from which a significant world-view emerges.

The lecture Culture and Development among the Dongria Kodhs of Niamgiri Hills, Orissa by Dr. Upali Aparajita discussed the ethnography and development of Dongria Kodhs of Orissa.

Area Highlights

The IGNCA interacts with scholars devoted to the study of different aspects of culture from all parts of the world.

A lively presentation with an exhibition of vivid colour slides and a first person account of the experiences in the Third China Art Festival, 1992, was given by Smt. Komala Varadan, the noted dancer. The Festival, as it appeared from the presentation, gave the glimpse into the cultural variety found in the region.

Mr. Jagdish R. Hiremath, the retired diplomat, who visited many of the front line states in South Africa to coordinate NAM’s assistance to them, shared his findings and observations at the Centre. In the lecture titled The Present status and the future Prospects of Indians in South Africa he concentrated on the experiences and problems of the large number of Indians settled in South Africa. Though subjected to the same kind of apartheid racism as the other non-white groups, Pretoria has singled them out for relatively preferential treatment in the last thirty years. In the context of the forthcoming non-racial, multi-party elections next year, both the whites and the blacks are trying to win the support of the Indians in South Africa. The lecture thus offered a panoramic survey of the present status and future prospects of these ‘Overseas Indians’.

Dr. Edi Sedyawati, Director General of Education and Culture, Govt. of Indonesia, Jakarta, in her address Indian Influence in Indonesian Culture observed that Hinduism and Buddhism, the two great religions originating in India, have had a penetrating influence on Indonesia’s cultural life. New ideas in all vistas of life developed in Indonesia, and the Indian element was completely indigenised, with the result that a totally different style of art emerged there. The speaker dealt with these observations in relation to specific disciplines – visual art, theatrical art and literature.

What happens to an art form (in this case, music) when the government takes over its sponsorship and makes it a handmaiden to serve narrow political interests? This issue was seen in relation to the fate of the black people of South Africa in the 1960’s, when the government tried to curb original forms of music and replace them with neo-traditional styles. The speaker was Prof. Denis-Constant Martin, Director, National Foundation for Political Sciences (Paris).

Prof. Ranjit Roy Choudhary, Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, in an illustrative talk In and Around the Great Pagodas of Burma attempted to capture some of the splendours of Pagan, Pagu and the great Shwedagon Pagodas at Rangoon.


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