Buddha Chingtham’s Mythical Surrender

Performance Review

Review by

Prateek, Ramjas College, New Delhi, India &Krispa Ningombam, Independent theatre critic

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For many Indians, the achievement of independence on 15 August 1947 marks the end of a long struggle, the moment when, in Jawaharlal Nehru’s words, ‘the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance’ (Brecher 355-6). People looked forward with hope to the creation of a new political order, one in which the problems associated with the British Raj would disappear. Mythical Surrender is an attempt to destroy these sanguine narratives of the people by challenging the imperial metropolitan discourse of the centre, which is at the heart of these narratives.

“Acrobating between Tradition and Modern”: The Roots Movement and Theatre’s Negotiation with Modernity in India

Anuparna Mukherjee, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

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When playwrights like Girish Karnad joined the stage after the nation’s independence in 1947, the Indian theatre was suffering from acute identity crises being torn between its ancient cultural past and its more recent colonial legacy, which gave birth to hybrid dramatic forms. Several theatre personalities at that time articulated the aspirations of a newly independent nation through their attempts to decolonize the aesthetics of modern Indian theatre by retracing its roots in the repository of India’s classical and folk traditions.  In the light of these developments my paper aims to look at some of the diverse indigenous forms that had been deployed with much success in plays like Karnad’s Hayavadana or Tanvir’s Charandas Chor, thereby significantly contributing to the larger project of decolonization after independence. At the same time the paper also wishes to interrogate whether this ambivalent process of Indianization, sometimes loosely brought under the umbrella of ‘Roots Movement’, is quintessentially ‘anti-modern’, or whether it is actually an attempt to evolve a discourse of an ‘alternate modernity’ by subverting some of the paradigms of its European counterpart which are actually a by-product of both capitalism and imperialism in the West.

Ritualistic World of Tuluva: a study of Tu?uva Women and the Siri Possession Cult

Yogitha Shetty,University of Hyderabad

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The paper could roughly be divided into two sections: first provides a brief outline of Bh?t?r?dhane or the ritual-performance traditions of the Tulu-speaking region in the coastal region of Karnataka. Second offers an insight into the mass possession cult of Siri, which like the other rituals of Bh?t?r?dhane derive their referential script from the oral tradition of the land. Connected intricately with the Siri epic or p??dana, Siri rituals are performed annually in many places of the coastal region of Karnataka. During these rituals thousands of ‘afflicted’ women gather and get ‘possessed’ by the pantheon of Siri spirits. This paper is an attempt to delve into the emancipatory potential that this platform could offer women who participate every year, first as novices and then as adepts.

The Therapeutic Value of Indian Classical, Folk and Innovative Dance Forms

Arpita Chatterjee, Barasat College, West Bengal State University, India

Dance provides an active, non-competitive form of exercise that has potential positive effects for physical health as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. Dance therapy is based on the idea that body and mind are co-relational. The therapeutic approaches with various forms of Indian dances are a new entrant to dance literature. Ayurveda held dance as a power of healing (therapy) and inner awareness (psychology). Indian philosophy also supports the facts of Sangeet (song, dance and music) for benefit of human health physically as well as mentally. The powerful dance form of Bhangra (Punjab), Karagam (Tamilnadu), Chou, Rayabese, Dhali (West Bengal) gives good health and strength. The fast footwork of Kathak dance helps to release anger and tension. Manipuri dancers make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. It gives them undulating and soft appearance, proper body control and peace of mind. All these body movements, body balancing, expression, muscle movement, muscle constriction and relaxation have a strong effect on therapeutic movements. In India today the dance therapists are conscious about this matter and in therapeutic sessions they actually improvise different dance movements according to the need.