Principles of Jainism to be brought alive in Kathak recital

The principles of peace and salvation intrinsic to the religion of Jainism will be portrayed through the dance form of Kathak for the first time on Friday at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point.

Titled 'Jain Katha', the performance will be staged by Rina Mehta and Seema Mehta, the disciples of Kathak master Chitresh Das, and will be presented by the Chhandam Nritya Bharti foundation.

Through the classical dance form, the duo will perform renditions of Jain prayer songs, philosophies as well as a popular saga.

Rina will depict the story of Jain sadhvi Sati Chandanbala in a solo performance where she will portray 11 characters to show how the princess went on to become one of the leading Mahasatis of Jainism.

On the other hand, Seema will depict the principles of peace and salvation through the various forms of meditation as a part of her solo Kathak performance.

She will also perform a rendition of a Jain stavan (song based on poetry), called 'Mangal Mandir Kholo'.

The concept of integrating Jainism with Kathak came about when Rina, who heads the Chhandam School of Kathak in Los Angeles, was asked to put up a performance at a Jain Centre there in 2010.

"When my guruji (teacher) asked me to create an act based on Jainism, I started studying the religion, and the story of Sati Chandanbala touched me the most," said Rina.

"The theme of the entire show is to showcase the role of women, since we don't often hear about female figures in history or religion," she added. 

For Seema, the show is close to her heart as she is a Jain herself . "I have grown up learning shlokas and stavans from my mother, and ever since childhood, I was fascinated by the religion, though I endorsed only those philosophies that I believed in," she said.

The show will open with a recitation of a Jain mantra by a group of fifty children.

An entourage of musicians from the Chhandam academy in Kolkata will also perform live through the duration the show.

The performance will also contribute to a noble cause.

Half the proceeds from the show will be directed to Nanhi Kali, an organisation that works for the girl child.


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