The History of Odissi dance over the last sixty years is the story of the life and work of Guru Mayadhar Raut Known as one of the four pillars of odissi, his style of Odissi (Mayadhar Raut Paddhati) is Bhava pradhan
The Book captures the dynamic years of the 30s, 40sto the 70s in the world of Odissi. It describes, in detail, the struggle and the hardships undergone in redefining and codifying Odissi as one of the prominent classical dance forms of India. It elaborates the initial years of all the gurus and Scholars together at Jayantika and the making of Kala vikas Kendra. Illustrated with rare photographs, it also gives a detailed and delightful glimpse into the world of Kalashetra.
This is a story that had to be told.
Madhumita Raut is the inheritor and proponent of her illustrious father Guru Mayadhar Raut’s dance legacy. Dancer, choreographer, teacher and author, madhumita has showcased odissi in more than 29 countries. Her book, Odissi, what, why & how, has been highly appreciated for its in depth research.
Aadya Kaktikar, an accomplished Odissi dancer, has been trained in the Guru shishya Parampara Tradition under Guru Mayadhar Raut & Madhumita Raut. Empowered with two decades of Odissi Sadhana (Practice), aadya is carrying forward the legacy of Mayadhar Raut Paddhati ( Gharana of Style ) of Odissi dance.
It is my proud privilege and honour to write this short foreword to this book on Naatyaachaarya Mayadhar Raut. Indeed a living legend in the Odissi Naatya tradition whose immeasurable contribution in resurrecting the style is recognized by all. We have the direct and close association with him since the Kalakshetra days. We were in the same class with Kathakali Asaan Chandu Panikkar and Bharatnatyam class with N.S. Jayalakshmi and Sarada Hoffman. We participated in the Naatya productions of Smt. Rukminidevi. We fondly call him Mayadhar 'Anna' and when we talk about Mayadhar Anna, we equally reminiscent yet another person Shri.Shankar Hombal who does his share of contribution to the performing arts in Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, very quietly.
When Mayadhar Anna joined Kalakshetra he was already a fine Dancer, Pakhawaj player and scholar in his own right. There were very interesting sessions between Guru Kelucharanji who regarded Mayadharji as close contemporary and Sanjukta Panigrahi as a student of both, gave us beautiful demonstrations on several occasions in Kalakshetra, Adyar. Their coming together at Kalakshetra gave us the students, wonderful opportunities to understand Odissi Naatya in close quarters.
This book talks about Mayadhar Anna's journey into Odissi Naatya ..... how he came to his mentor in Odissi dance, Kalicharan Patnaik, when he was barely 7 or 8.The book also states how he joined the Kala Vikas Kendra as its first Odissi Guru in 1952 and how late Biju Patnaik encouraged him to go and study outside Orissa. It also talks elaborately of his studies at the famous Kalakshetra and his fond memories of his Gurus and friends like us. Kalakshetra was a turning point in his life as it gave him the knowledge with which he could redefine Odissi Naatya. In late 60s he shifted to Delhi and has been instrumental in establishing Odissi there. The book has been written by Aadya Kaktikar and edited by his daughter Madhumita Raut who has imbibed the father's legacy.
Mayadhar Anna turns 80 in July 2010, and this book release is a befitting tribute to this simple, humble soul who leads a pious life dedicated to his Art alone. Both Shanta and myself seek his blessing on the occasion of his 80th birthday and hope and pray a delve into this Book on his arduous journey into the Odissi Naatya will be an inspiring one to the present and future generations of performing artistes.
Spirituality is one word that could be used to describe the people, art, architecture and history of Orissa. The definitive feature of Orissa is its numerous temples, big and small, some famous and others anonymous, dotting the cities and the countyside. Whenever I have visited the state on trips with my Guru, the feeling that pervades everywhere is that of peace and contentment. There is no other state in India, where religion and spirituality play such an integral part in people's lives.
"The history of Orissa is remarkable for its political greatness, economic prosperity, religious movements, social upliftments, architectural and artistic merits through all the ages." (The History of Orissa, Vol I by Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab) In the words of Madhumita Raut, - "When we visit Orissa, we discover a glorious cultural tradition. It is owing to the fact that Orissa witnessed, through the ages, rise and fall of several ruling dynasties which contributed in the evolution of the history and culture of Orissa. Different rulers brought in their respective religious influences; thereby influencing the temple traditions since they were the main patrons in constructing temples .The life of people circled around the culture the temples vibrated with. Apart from Jainism and Buddhism, Orissa enjoyed the practices of Shaivism and Shaktism tremendously before it got enveloped by Vaishnavism. The reflection of Vaishnavism or the Jagannath culture is still very evident in every aspect of Orissan culture -dance, music, handicrafts, painting and other art forms.The great Jagannath Mandir in Puri became the guiding light in every Oriya's life. When Odissi dance was being revived under Jayantika Association, my father, Mayadhar Raut along with D.N. Patnaik and a chitrakaar(painting artist) spent days at the Jagannath Mandir, sketching the dance poses present in the innumerable sculptures there; camera was not allowed into the temple. These poses were later incorporated in Odissi dance.
" The name Orissa is derived from Sanskrit word "Odra Vishaya" or "Odra Desa". The ancient province of "Odra desa" or "Or-desa" was limited to the valley of the Mahanadi and to the lower course of the Subarnarekha River. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapore. It was bounded on the West by Gondwana, on the North by the wild hill states of Jashpur and Singhbhum, on the East by the sea and on the South by Ganjam. The original inhabitants of Orissa were the native tribal groups, namely, the Buiyas and Gonds. The origin and history of the state can be traced back to the ancient times, when it was known by different names like Kalinga, Utkal and Odra. During those times, thel territory of Orissa was far beyond than what it is today. During the era of the Mahabharata, Kalinga, Odra and Utkal emerged as dominant kingdoms.
In the ancient days, Orissa was a famous centre for Jainism and Buddhism. "Orissa was a a centre of Jainism in the pre-Mauryan period.lt acquired greater politico- religious importance under Ashoka soon after the Kalinga war in 261 B.C. when it became a famous centre of Buddhism ... After the Kalinga War Ashoka annexed Kalinga to the the Mauryan empire as a province." (Studies on Some Aspects of the History and Culture of Orissa, written by Ashok Kumar Rath).
The battle of Kalinga had far reaching consequences. It brought about a revolution- ary change in the personality of Emperor Asoka, who got completely influenced by the prevailing Buddhism religion in Orissa; which in turn changed the very course of Bhuddhism in India.
The second century B.C. witnessed the strong rule of Kharavela, the greatest of all monarchs who ruled over Orissa. He delineated his various achievements in the wonderous caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri. The earliest historical evidence of dance in Orissa also dates back to the Rani Gumpha in Udaygiri caves of 2nd century B.C. After Kharavela many different rulers like Bhomakaras, Kesaris ruled over Orissa. In the 4th century A.D., the Gupta Empire took over the state.
"Till the beginning of of the 12th century AD. different parts of modern Orissa were ruled by various ruling clans known as Chedis, Sailodbhavas, Bhoumakaras, Nandas, Tungas, Bhanjas, Somas or Kesaris etc. Then the imperial Ganga came to power, who unified the whole of Orissa. Chodagangadeva was the strongest and the most powerful king of his age in south-east India, who ruled over a vast kingdom stretching from the river Godavari to the bank of Hoogly. He was not only a great conqueror and an able administrator; he was also a great patron of religion, religious institutions, art, architecture and literature. He ruled from 1078 to 1147 AD. and built the famous temple of Jagannath at Puri. ... The imperial Ganga rule from 1078 AD. brought a dynamic change in the political, social and cultural life of the people.They built beautiful temples, patronised art, literature and religion. Narasingha I of this dynasty built the grandest temple of Konark in the 13th century AD."( Odissi Dance, written by D.N.Patnaik). Konark speaks of the highest pitch Orissa had reached in the 13th century A.D. in the sphere of art.The rich temple sculptures, here, preserve the detailed dance poses of Odissi.
The thirteenth and fourteenth century was the period of Muslims Sultanate, which continued till the year 1568. Thereafter, Orissa witnessed the rule of the Mughals.
It came to an end with the death of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. The throne was then taken over by the Nawab of Bengal, who was compelled to surrender Orissa to the Marathas. The rule of Marathas continued till the British conquered the state in 1803. Later in the year 1949, Orissa got an independent status as a state of free India.
"After the attainment of independence there was a great cultural renaissance in the country which resulted in the revival and re-establishment of many ancient forms of Indian art. The present form of Odissi is the product of this renaissance. Till the late fifties Odissi in its degenerated form was confined with the Maharis (Devadasis-temple-dancers) and the Gotipua dancers (boy- dancers). It was then called Mahari Nacha (Manari's dance) and Gotipua Nacha (Gotipua Nacha). Reoriented when it emerged on the concert stage with dancers from respected families, there was a search for a new name....... Late Kalicharan Patnaik,the noted poet, playwright and musicologist of Orissa named it Odissi." (Odissi Dance,written by D.N. Patnaik).
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