What had started as a homage to the Gurus U.S. Krishna Rao and U.K. Chandrabhaga Devi, through rituals and prayers at the Montreal Dhurkai Temple on Jean Talon St. for Guru Purnima, on 22nd July this year, has been unfolding as a fitting tribute to their contribution to Kala Bharati, marking the centennial birth anniversary celebrations of Guru U.S. Krishna Rao.
In 1980, when Gurus U.S.Krishna Rao and U.K Chandrabhaga Devi first visited Montreal, it was the India Canada Association of Montreal (ICAM) that organised a Lecture Demonstration by them on Bharata Natya, which was attended by over 500 Montrealers listening to them with rapt attention. Thus were sown the seeds of Bharata Natya training in Montreal. It was a happy coincidence that on 24th August, this year( 2013), Kala Bharati had a very opportune moment to remember Guru ji fondly, when Arnab of Darpani, Kolkata, performed the Ganesha and Shiva Stuthi as the invocatory item to launch ICAM’s celebrations of Indian Independence Day with dignitaries and politicians from Canada, Quebec and Montreal as well as the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Nirmal Kumar Verma, in attendance.
The performance of Arnab of three Krishna items on the 28th of August at ISKCON Montreal as part of Janmashtami Celebrations, marked yet another milestone of continuing the Kala Bharati tradition of presenting Classical Indian dance, as offerings during the festival to mark the birth of Krishna.
Since its inception in 1981, Kala Bharati has propagated Indian heritage and culture in Montreal through Classical Arts, Dance and music in particular. In recognition of their contribution to dance, ICAM presented a plaque jointly to Drs Harbans and Mamata Nakra. Coming as it does this year in which Kala Bharati is celebrating the birth centennial anniversary of Guru U.S.Krishna Rao, the award by ICAM holds special significance.
Arnab’s performances have reinforced the fact that Kala Bharati’s imprint has reached the country of origin. Arnab is a well established Classical Dancer based in Kolkata with his institution Darpani which has over three hundred students and a performance wing. He first came into contact with mamata niyogi nakra, our Founder President, in 2007 when he attended a month long Bharata Natya workshop on Pandanallur tradition as practised at Kala Bharati, given by her at Surotirtha studios in Kolkata, at the request of some of the city’s young dance teachers. Subsequently in 2009, Arnab came to Canada on a performance tour. When his tour was over Arnab contacted mamata and expressed an interest in acquiring the Pandanallur tradition as practised at Kala Bharati, with a request that he visit Montreal so he could train and study the art of Bharata Natya with her as bequeathed by her Gurus. Since then he has come to Montreal every year in the Fall to pursue the legacy of Kala Bharati. Apart from learning to perform and teaching some items from the Kala Bharati repertoire, Arnab has implemented many of the facets of the Kala Bharati methodology and training in his teaching of Bharata Natya at his own institution, Darpani .
Kala Bharati is particularly happy that the Kala Bharati service to the art of Bharata Natya, which is firmly rooted in Montreal, has sprouted shoots beyond this alien soil and has reached home soil where the legacy of the Rao couple is being continued.