Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why don’t literature students read any real literature before college?

There was an article with the title above, published some time ago.

It provoked the following:

My first Lecturer in English at university was someone who had just returned to India after completing his studies at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar - Dr Brijraj Singh.

As a result of the first tutorial essay that a fellow-student and I turned in (tutorials in those days had two students to one teacher), he discovered that neither my colleague nor I knew anything about the foundations of English Literature, which are the Bible and the Greek Classics.

So guess our first reading assignments, which we had to complete in a week each.

Dr Singh went on to become also a Fulbright Scholar.

A great man and an inspiring teacher, without whose instruction I would still be much more of an ignoramus than I am.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The history of Indian dance, Nartanam magazine, and the doyen of Indian dance critics

The doyen of Indian dance critics, Reginald Massey FRSA, is (among others) in a photograph from 1954 which graces the cover of the current issue of NARTANAM, India's premier dance publication.

In the Mughal rose garden, Reginald Massey sits cross-legged on the lawn, looking at the President.

Then an undergrad, he was invited to the Festival which was held when Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the Education Minister.

The President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, a Sanskrit and Persian scholar, invited the participants to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace high on Raisina Hill.

Reginald writes:

"It was at this Festival that Odissi classical dance was discovered when a student (Priyambada Mohanty from Orissa) danced in Delhi for the very first time.

"Later, celebrated dancers such as the beautiful Indrani Rehman made Odissi famous.

The National Resource Centre of Dance, which has my dance archives, might be interested in this piece of history."

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