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Yog Sunder Desai (1921-2020)
- Ashish Mohan Khokar

November 29, 2020

Delhi: He got up on 27th November morning, asked for juice, sipped it quietly and was gone. What a way to go! For a man almost a century, who saw India from times of pre revival to calling his group Indian Revival Group; meeting pioneers who came to India from abroad like Ted Shawn or Ragini Devi, to learning from a pioneer like Uday Shankar and Kelu Nair; from seeing his royal family in Gujarat surrender all land and titles to cause of India's independence to seeing India get independence in 1947 - he saw all and created dance drama productions based on many such themes.

A dancer of what was called Indian Ballet, inspired by west no doubt, but adapted to Indian realities, Yog Sunder was a genial man, who never ran after awards and titles and lived a life of a fakir. His soul was pious, no ill-will towards anyone and no back biting. He was deep and sorted and helped many who came his way. Such a long journey, but he covered smilingly.

He entertained defense services by performing often for soldiers on the borders. He brought A.J.Jaspal to Delhi from Simla and got him established. Yog Sunder fed many poor, deserving, homeless dancers even if he had no house of his own and lived in rented flats or loaned ones by MPs and others; even from PM Morarji Desai who knew him well, he never asked for govt. accommodation or Padma award. So different from lightweights of today, who clamour for more and are still not satisfied.

Yog Sunder's work is continued by his eldest offspring, Papiha Desai, more responsible than ten sons. His students are a legion, spread all over the globe. Many careers were made in films and theatre thanks to his timely and unflinching support. No wonder his good karmas earned him a happy ending. He will be missed forever.

Yog Sunder: A true Prince of Dance

Ashish Mohan Khokar brings history of dance alive, backed with facts and anecdotes. He has written 45 books, besides many articles as a critic of note. He is now helping the IGNCA DELHI set up India's first dance archives and museum based on donation of the famed family holding, the Mohan Khokar Dance Collection. Detailed bio on

Dada was truly a blessed soul. He was blessed with deep rooted art and a heart always wishing good for anyone who got in touch with him. I remember my father doing all efforts to get all Gujarati residents in Delhi to understand true Gujarati garba and Raas, also involving him to judge the cultural festival and garba competitions in Delhi. We are very fortunate to have known him and Papiha.... His journey of life has many stories to tell... May almighty bless his soul with peace.
- Kalpesh Talia (Dec 8, 2020)

Haath jod kar Saadar Pranaam. You are blessed, dear Papiha.
- Tejinder Kaur Grover (Dec 2, 2020)

As a dancer I am very lucky to see the productions of pioneers like Yog Sunder ji, Narendra Sharma ji and others. I salute this great soul. I also appreciate Papiha for continuing her father's dreams. God bless them all.
- Prabir Datta, Kuchipudi dancer (Dec 2, 2020)

I bow my head to such a great soul who has been dedicatedly spending his life for the cause of Nation and Culture. Shat shat Naman.
(Nov 30, 2020)

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