Sunday February 17, 2019

Kathak: Indo-Pak’s cultural bonhomie

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By Radhikka Vashisht

Founder of culture anthropology E.B. Tylor defined culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Dancers hold India and Pakistan national flags before the start of play in the ICC World Twenty20 cricket final match in Johannesburg

…and not just that. Culture bridges boundaries, ends silences and attempts socio-political rapport. So does Kathak really play peacemaker?

India and Pakistan parted in 1947. The partition led to fractures like separate homes, states, educational institutions, and all other sorts of civil amenities such as hospitals, courts, and law enforcement agency.

However, culture is the only thing which survived as the common strain between the twain. It still brings the people of two countries together, ethically and emotionally. The language, art and culture, which we inherited from our ancestors, have a renewed spark between both the countries.

Despite the social taboo by the Pakistani religious and political fundamentalist on dance performances, the Kathak dance form is still revered by Pakistani people deeply.

Kathak’, the word is derived from Katha, which means a story. It is a dance form which revolves around a theme where the person uses mime and gestures to narrate a tale. The core characteristic of this dance form is that the performing artist role plays and imitates the story with the help of dance movements, expression and gestures.

Throughout the year, Pakistani classical dancers have been contributing to keep this vibrant dance form alive in Pakistan’s society. Despite unfavourable conditions that have emerged due to foreign and political policies of past rulers in Pakistan, dedicated dancers like Maharaj Ghulam Hussain Kathak, Nahid Siddiqui, Sadia Khan and Sheema Kirmani have kept this traditional dance form in Pakistan’s culture alive.

In Pakistan, Kathak dance is based on stories and folklores excavated from Urdu literature; whereas in India, this form of dance is based on mythological stories of India. Kathak dance form is the binding thread among the civilians of Pakistan and India.

Though political differences tend to disparage the bonhomie borne by both the nations, individuals belonging to each of these countries still share a common chord; a chord that brings together their penchant for Kathak.

Next Story

India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)