Of all the mythic Hindu pantheon none is more enigmatic and evocative than Radha. Appearing for the first time in Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, where she is the ultimate beloved, she traverses political dynasties, royal ateliers and social barriers to emerge as a consort of Krishna. Brought alive by poets, developing a colourful presence in the hands of painters, dancing through prosceniums and acquiring a lyrical life through songs, both classical and popular, Radha is present in homes and havelis, celebrated by the samajika and the rasika, has a presence in temples and roadside shrines as symbol of pure and eternal love. And yet there are so many questions about her life; poets differ in their portrayals of her, historians argue, dancers claim her through their interpretations and for the common person she is now a shringara rasa nayika and now a goddess. But Radha stands steadfastly alone refusing to be bound down by poets or potters, dancers or singers. Harsha V. Dehejia weaves an enchanting story of Radha with a multicoloured thread, here myth blends into history and fiction challenges reality and Radha emerges in all her poetic glory in this spellbinding story.
Vijay Sharma and his team of artists bring Radha colourfully alive with miniature paintings, for it is there titer than sculpture that Radha resides. She is essentially kavyamaya, her origins are in the minds of poets, it is there that she grows, dallies and evolves. And while her voice is heard in songs and her footsteps resonate with dancers, it is in miniature paintings, through line and colour, that Radha comes alive as a multidimensional, many- nuanced paragon of love.
Harsha v. Dehejia has a double doctorate, one in medicine and other in ancient Indian culture, both from Mumbai University. He is also a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Glasgow and Canada all by examination. He is a practicing Physician and Professor of Indian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His main interest is in Indian aesthetics.
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