Oral traditions

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Deepti Priya Mehrotra
Until the 1930s, nautanki had no women actors; men took on all female roles. Once women joined, however, they quickly achieved popularity and stature as star attractions, often overshadowing the men. The rise of heroines in nautanki paralleled the rise of heroines in Bollywood: leading ladies were…
in Article
Deepti Priya Mehrotra
She worked with several companies during the 1960s and started her own group, the Krishna Kala Kendra, in the early 1970s. The group performed thousands of shows across North India, especially helping raise funds for schools, colleges and other public institutions. Krishna Kumari Mathur received…
in Interview
Deepti Priya Mehrotra
Nautanki is an operatic theatre form combining music, dance, story, dialogue, humour, pathos, melodrama and wit in a magical whole. Nautanki, earlier known as svang, originated in the late nineteenth century in Uttar Pradesh (then United Provinces of Agra and Oudh) and steadily gained popularity.…
in Overview
Deepti Priya Mehrotra
Nautanki is a popular performance genre combining story, music, dance and dialogue. It started as an all-male form of musical entertainment in Hathras during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but the theatrical dimensions of nautanki developed in the Kanpur region, from the early…
in Module
Garima Raghuvanshy
This article is based on conversations with Dinesh Yadav, a theatre director and artist who has been working with and on Pandun ka kada (Pandava’s couplets) since 1997, and Gafruddin Mewati Jogi, a senior artist and performer of Pandun ka kada.  For centuries, Mahabharata has allowed for…
in Article
Garima Raghuvanshy
A mammoth narrative, Mahabharata is roughly 10 times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, and about four times the length of Ramayana. It is also, however, much more than a purely textual tradition. Heard and told for centuries, it is intricately woven into the cultural fabric of India…
in Overview
Garima Raghuvanshy
Mahabharata is one of the two best-known epics of the Indian subcontinent. Spread over multiple generations and territories, telling of the churning of the sea, of the genealogies of several warriors, devas and asuras, of numerous encounters between devas, rakshasas and humans, and of an epic war…
in Module
Chandrica Barua
Tai is a large ethnic group consisting of various subgroups currently scattered mainly across parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia (especially, Northeast India) having followed different patterns of migration from their original homeland, believed to be in Yunnan, China. The meaning of the word ‘…
in Overview
Chandrica Barua
Having left their ancient homeland in Yunnan in present-day southwest China in the thirteenth century, and wandering until they reached Assam in the nineteenth century, the Tai Khamyangs’ inherited history correlates to the stability of a past affiliation and of current belonging to a community—…
in Article
Chandrica Barua
A resident of Na Shyam Gaon in Jorhat district of Assam, he traces his lineage to Pangyuk, one of the nine original Khamyang leaders who came to present-day Assam. Dr Shyam has worked extensively to conserve indigenous Tai Khamyang knowledge and promote studies related to the Tai people and…
in Interview