Our Research Centre: Based on the Ganga Jamuni Culture

We plan a state of the art research centre that will stand for the ultimate confluence of the Ganga Jamuni culture. It will have a unique business model where Indian government agencies and foreign research agencies interested in inter-cultural communication will join hands to make it a thriving hub for performing arts. This idea is based on the premise that Lucknow is known for refining the art of kathak and for making it a cultural metaphor for harmony and secularism. Needless to say the Nawabs of Awadh have been forerunners of this culture. Research tells us that Lucknow’s Awadhi culture is mix of ganga jamuni tehzeeb, which brought together the best of the Persian, and Mughal cultures of Islam and the Banarsi Raas rang. Khayal, thumri, Ghazal and Kathak flourished in Lucknow.

The Lucknow Gharana

The researchers at our gurukul will work on the basis that Kathak stands out as being the most graceful dance form. Rooting its origin from the Bhakti movement in the 16th century, it is one of the important north Indian dance form. The name Kathak has been derived from Sanskrit word 'katha' meaning story. The emergence of Raslila in the 15th century was a major turning point for the origin of kathak. Lucknow is one of the main gharana for Kathak, others being Varanasi, Jaipur and Raigarh. In Lucknow, Kathak developed mainly in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. It was in this period that Lucknow gained maturity and perfection. The Lucknow style of Kathak dance is characterised by graceful movements, elegance, precision and delicacy. Dance type in Lucknow is artistically combines with classical music like thumri, dadra and horis. Presently, Pandit Birju Maharaj, son of Pandit Achchan Maharaj is considered the pioneer for the Lucknow gharana. The gharana has not only limited itself in influencing residents of India but also abroad.

Indo-Islamic heritage

And in order to fuse the cultural influences that determine what Kathak is today, we will work on how it is recognized by fine dramatization of poetry in Urdu and Khari boli or Braj-bhasha. Kathak has evolved as an ensemble of Indo-Islamic music and dance. This repertoire is the most beautiful showpiece of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb.

Kathak's International Manifestations

At the in-house cultural communication centre, our in-house international fellow will explore Kathak, as one of the leading classical dance styles in India. Moreover, it is increasingly transcending international borders. Very few people realize that Kathak is evolving with every generation. It takes the best from the past and reinvents for the ever-changing present. It makes us question who we are, why are we dancing, and how we can tell our stories.

For instance, our sponsored fellows will work on kathak yoga as a technique for emotional therapy. We will try and understand where the body rhythms on the beats of taal using steps of kathak. Similarly, the Spanish flamenco dance form is greatly inspired by Kathak. It is also believed that Kathak gives expression to words. Many Sufi followers find Kathak the most suitable form of dance for Sufi songs or sayings.