Symbolism an important aspect of Indian culture: Dr Sonal Mansingh

Member of Rajya Sabha and recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, dance exponent Dr Sonal Mansingh said every citizen should learn Indian dance forms, whether classical or folk, as these are traditions that need to connect generations through time

Symbolism an important aspect of Indian culture: Dr Sonal Mansingh

Dr Sonal Mansingh

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 16

Sharing how she performed inside a hanger while fighter planes were jetting off in Kargil in 1999, Dr Sonal Mansingh, the dance exponent, was at her candid best as she interacted with a houseful of audience at Phulkari-Women of Amritsar’s exclusive session.

She shared how her troupe has arranged for a special performance for soldiers on the frontline. “I believe that Indian soldiers and classical dancers can withstand the same level of pain and strength,” she said. Dr Sonal Mansingh’s session was mostly centered around culture and its interpretations. She said with dance, she also learnt the intrinsic values of Indian culture.

“The most simple and important aspects of our culture is namaste or namaskar. The gesture of folding your hands out of respect and greet someone also holds deeper meaning. When we fold our hands and bow our heads in namaste, we create a beautiful hast mudra, let go of our arrogance by bending our head and offer respect with grace. We also offer the energy of the left half or feminine half and right half or masculine half together and press the fingertips that represent the five elements to create a full energy circle,” she explained.

She also explained the meaning of Bharat through concepts of dance. “Bharat cannot be understood in English as language are the repository of cultural traditions and values. If you breakdown Bharat, Bha-means Bhaav (expression, sentiments), Ra-means raaga (symbolising love and harmony) and Ta-means Taal (rhythm). We need to understand these minute but significant details of our culture and practice these to ensure their continuity,” she said. She said this symbolism was an integral part of our culture.

Dr Mansingh, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha and recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, said every citizen should learn Indian dance forms, whether classical or folk. “They are the traditions that need to connect generations through time. There are numerous gestures and mudras that we learn that hold spiritual as well as physical symbolism. Dance also helps in raising awareness in individual, just like practising yoga or meditation.”

Dr Sonal Mansingh now mostly engages herself as an art educator, cultural activist. Deepa Swani, president, Phulkari, said: “Dr Sonal Mansingh is a legendary personality who has contributed greatly to Indian art and culture. Having her share her knowledge with the citizens of our city provided great opportunity to learn from her and enjoy a stimulating evening.”

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