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AVADHANA THE UNIQUE ART OF INDIA

 

Avadhana is a unique classical Indian art of spontaneous creation.  It is a feat of the mind.  Avadhana literally means concentration.  Its origin is said to date back to 1st B.C. The oldest available details of Astavadhana are recorded in Kannada language, dating back to 1200 A.D. Though we have the tradition of Sahityavadhana in Prakrit, Tamil, Gujarathi, Hindi and other languages, it is in Telugu and Kannada languages that we see this heritage maintained.

 

In Telugu this art has taken titanic dimensions.  There are several forms of Avadhana like SahityavadhanaSangitavadhana, Nrtyavadhana, Chitravadhana etc.  However more entertaining and popular form of Avadhana is mainly seen in the Sahityavadhana.

 

The person who performs this hard feat is called an Avadhani while the persons who pose questions pertaining to the respective arts (literature, mythology, music, dance, painting, poetry, Sastric discussions, etc.) are called as Prchchakas.  The Avadhani in four rounds answers the questions in the respective topic without prior preparation, writing material and time to think leisurely.  No help from books and consultations can be sought.  Thus the whole show is an oral outpour of spontaneous creation.

IGNCA Southern Regional Centre organized a seminar on the Art of Avadhana on March 2 and 3. Prof. P.V. Krishna Bhat, Hony. Coordinator, IGNCA SRC welcomed the gathering and introduced the dignitaries.  Shatavadhani  Dr. R. Ganesh gave a brief introduction and the seminar its objectives.  The National Seminar was inaugurated by the renowned Sashasravadhani Dr. Garikipati Narasimha Rao of Kakinada.

Expressing concern over the decline of the Art of Avadhana, he highlighted its significance, greatness and grandeur.  He said this seminar is so unique and so important because this is the first of its kind and has not seen a parallel anywhere even in Andhra Pradesh, which is supposed to be the cherished empire of Avadhana in general, and of Sahityavadhana in particular.  He urged the participants to make united efforts to help the art flourish.  Shri Yogendraji pleaded for the empowerment of traditional Indian arts in general and Avadhana in particular.

The programme was compeered by Astavadhani Dr. Vasanth Bharadwaj.  There were five sessions in the seminar.  The themes of the sessions were: Origin and Crystallization of the Art of Avadhana; Development of Avadhana in different languages; Divverent kinds of Avadhana and their Development; Qualitative Analysis of the Art of Avadhana; and Future and propagation of Avadhana.  There were also two sessions of demonstration of Avadhana interspersed with the theoretical sessions.

The first session traced the origin of the Art of Avadhana.  Scholars said its form was mentioned in the Vedic recital and also Kamasutra dated (1st Century C.E.). The participants in the session were: Dr. T.V. Venkatachala Sastry, Dr. R. Satyanarayana, Dr. D. Mahadeva Mani, vid. A. Srirama Sharma and Dr. Ganesh.  The second session saw discussion on the development of Avadhana in different languages, Scholas Vid. Umakanth Bhat, Astavadhani Dr. K. Satyanarayana, Astavadhani Umesh Gautam and Astavadhani Dr. Vasanth Bharadwaj discussed Telugu, Tulu and Kannada in this context.

In a session chaired by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. R. Satyanarayana, Vid. Nandakumar, Vidushi Padmini Rao, Vid. S. Jaganatha and Shri Rajeevalochanam presented various Avadhanas.  Among them were Sangithavadhana, Vedavadhana and Nrtyavadhana.  The other sessions were on Qualitative Analysis of the Art of Avadhana and Future And Propagation of Avadhana.

At the valedictory function, Shri Ananthkumar, Union Minister for Urban Development was present. The participants passed resolutions recommending the establishment of an Indian Guild of Avadhanis, setting up of a Central Institute of Avadhana for teaching, research and development and requesting IGNCA to introduce the art of Avadhana in oth classical and folk arts which are on its agenda.

 

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