|The earliest historical illustration of dancing Shiva in
accordance with Natya Sastra tradition is in the Chalukyan sanctuaries
of Badami and Aihole in Karnataka in mid 6th century AD. In cave 1 at
Badami, the 18 armed Shiva dancing on a lotus platform moves all his
hands at the right side held as specified in Bharata’s Natya Sastra,
such as kapitha, sukatunda, pataka, sandmsa, mushti, katakamukha and dolahasta. Another set of left hands hold the veena and other attributes as specified in Shaivagama. The sculptor appears to have been well versed in the Natya Sastra. He symbolically portrayed Shiva as the preceptor of natyagama dancing with joy on a lotus pedestal, a rudraveena in his hand indicating his excellence in music. The drummer or urdhvaka is thrilled in accompanying the cosmic dance and it appears Ganesha has also picked up the kapitha hasta and is enjoying the dance of Shiva.
(‘Classical dance heritage of Karnataka’ edited by Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal, chapter ‘Dance heritage of Karnataka,’ Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal, 2012)
|The dancing girl Muddupalani’s classic work Radhika Santwanam (Appeasing
Radha) consisting of five hundred and eighty four poems is a literary
masterpiece nonpareil that won her great fame and recognition in her own
time. Radhika Santwanam is replete with the Shringara rasa or erotic
pleasure, presents the story of Radha and Krishna in a new light.
Muddupalani highlights woman’s aggressive role in making love. It is
her sexual gratification that is the central theme of her erotic
masterpiece. She was easily the only Indian woman to have written so
boldly and candidly on a sensual theme. When this great literary work
came to the notice of western educated Indians and reformers, they
declared it obscene and the British Government, keen on protecting the
moral health of their subjects, banned it in 1911. It was only after
independence in 1947 that the ban was withdrawn.
(‘Famous dancing girls from the pages of Indian history’ by Pran Nevile, The Asian Age, July 25, 2018)