Tribune press service
Amritsar, December 16
Sharing how she performed inside a hangar as fighter jets took off in Kargil in 1999, dance exponent Dr Sonal Mansingh was at her best as she interacted with a large audience during the exclusive session of Phulkari-Women of Amritsar.
She shared how her troupe put on a special performance for soldiers on the front line. “I believe Indian soldiers and ballet dancers can withstand the same level of pain and strength,” she said. Dr. Sonal Mansingh’s session was mainly centered on culture and its interpretations. She said that with dancing she also learned the intrinsic values of Indian culture.
“The simplest and most important aspect of our culture is namaste or namaskar. The gesture of crossing hands out of respect and greeting someone also has a 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 bowing our heads, and offer respect with grace. We also offer the energy of the left half or female half and the right half or male half together and press the fingertips that represent the five elements to create a full circle of energy,” a- she explained.
She also explained the meaning of Bharat through dance concepts. “Bharat cannot be understood in English because the language is the repository of traditions and cultural values. If you break down Bharat, Bha-means Bhaav (expression, feelings), Ra-means raaga (symbolizing love and harmony) and Ta-means Taal (rhythm). We need to understand these small but significant details of our culture and put them into practice to ensure their continuity,” she said. She said that this symbolism is an integral part of our culture.
Dr Mansingh, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, said every citizen should learn Indian dance forms, whether classical or folk. “Traditions should link generations through time. There are many gestures and mudras that we learn that contain both spiritual and physical symbolism. Dancing also helps to raise awareness, as does the practice of yoga or meditation.
Dr. Sonal Mansingh now engages primarily as an art educator and cultural activist. Deepa Swani, President of 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 was a great opportunity to learn from her and enjoy a stimulating evening.