Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 15: Kathak Hands

OYLPA Day 15: Kathak Hands, originally uploaded by klodhie.
When I walk through the doors of my kathak dance class, I forget the troubles of the outside world. The smiling faces of my teacher (Smt. Prachi Dixit) and fellow classmates, who have become a second family, are always a joy to see. Wrapping the knitted golden bells around my ankles is almost therapeutic as each strand goes around and around. The music, oh, the music! Learning, concentrating, spinning, making mistakes and working to correct them, hitting the floor with my bare feet to the rhythm, 13, 14, 15, 16, DHA!

It's an ecstasy of so many senses, of pure tranquility. And in each and every movement I feel a connection to a greater Being or the universe - how blessed to be able to express joy, love, sorrow, anger, reverence, and all else through such a graceful and powerful dance as Kathak!

While the proponents of Kathak in India are well-respected as true masters of their art (ex. Pt. Birju Maharaj and Pt. Rajendra Gangani), it is my sincere wish that artists in Pakistan who have also attempted to maintain this beautiful art form as a part of their culture and heritage (ex. Maharaj Ghulam Husain Khan, who trained such artists as Fasih ur-Rehman and Nahid Siddiqui) will someday also receive equal attention, respect, and patronage. In order for this to happen, though, the connection of kathak with its negative portrayal in Bollywood movies and in the minds of many (both Pakistani and Indian), will have to be eradicated as backwards and unrelated to the true, stunningly graceful art form that is kathak.


  1. The sentiments you expressed so eloquently are shared by many. The stigma attached to dance, particularly Kathak, is only recent compared to the long history of this classical dance form. The dedication of the Kathak teachers and students alike and the support it still enjoys amongst thousands and perhaps millions will one day earn Kathak the prestige in the entire World it enjoys in South Asia.

    Thank you for bringing this subject up for public discussion. I hope, some day, I get to see Pakistani Kathak maestros perform in the US.

  2. Thanks! It's refreshing and heartening to hear that there are many others who feel the same way about Kathak. It would indeed be so wonderful to see Pakistani kathak performers here in the U.S., and I would even be happy just to hear that more Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans accept and appreciate the art and allow their children to learn it if they like without any stigma attached.