november 2009 programmes


monday 2nd november
12 – 3 pm
“Food Meditation 2: relishing the ultimate in food & revitalizing your being”  

tuesday 10th november
India International Centre Annexe Lecture Room
6.30 pm “Food as a Metaphor for Cultural Hierarchies” – a talk by Dr Gopal Guru


Dastkar Nature Bazaar at IGNCA 

A series of 4 performances at the amphitheatre at 6.30 pm 

sunday 8th  november            ‘Dastangoi from the Tilism-e Hoshruba and                                                       elsewhere’ by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain                 

monday 9th november          ‘Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti’ Hindustani semi-                                                   classical music by Ruchira Kale

wednesday 11th november   ‘OM TARA’ – a contemporary dance composition

thursday 12th november       'WAZD: in Trance' kathak recital by Namrata Pamani                      

 friday 20th november
6.30 pm ‘Yet Another Dawn’ a contemporary dance solo by Nikolina Nikoleski

wednesday 25th november
6.30 pm “Homage to Odissi and Tara, the mother Goddess” a dance recital by Madina Andassova

saturday 28th november
6.30 pm ‘The Metaphor of the Garment’: songs of the divine from Bhakti poetry by Rekha Surya




november 2009 programmes


monday 2nd november
12 – 3 pm
“Food Meditation 2: relishing the ultimate in food & revitalizing your being  

The 1st Food meditation session was extremely rewarding and informative. All the participants ate silently and exchanged ideas on food at the end of the session. The 2nd session will be similar to the first. The eating of food meditatively will again involve

Setting the area, Preparing & cooking , Serving & eating, Cleaning the dishes, Setting the area as it was. We mention again an extract from Thich Nhat Hanh’s   ‘Mindful Eating’ about eating a carrot And when you chew, chew only the carrot, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of carrot. This is a miracle. 

Today a very rare black rice from Manipur will be cooked. Called Chak-hao-Amubi, it is used there as delicacy in local feast and festivities. Known all over South East Asia for its attractive colour, glutinous texture and flavour it is high in nutritional value and rich in iron.

There will be no verbal exchange during meditation and cell phones will need to be switched off. Questions and discussion after the meal on rice, grains and breads.

Participation is by registration only. Telephone The Attic 23746050. or email . Charges Students Rs 25. Others Rs 100.

Only 15 participants. Registration closes on 30th October. No walk-ins please.


Dastkar Nature Bazaar Events at IGNCA amphitheatre (see box below) 

sunday 8th             ‘Dastangoi’  by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain                             

monday 9th             ‘Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti’ by Ruchira Kale

wednesday 11th      ‘OM TARA’ – a contemporary dance composition

thursday 12th          ‘WAZD: in Trance’  kathak by Namrata Pamnani                                           


                                            Along the Spice Routes of the World

Indian 'chicken tikka masala is now the national dish of Great Britain and any day now Mcdonalds in the US will be launching their newest culinary invention 'McAloo Tikki Burger'. Almost everyday there is a new book on Indian cooking and this series will celebrate the vast diversity that is Indian Cuisine and its international influences. We will explore history with 'Cooking of the Maharajas', geography with 'Cooking under the Raj', literature with 'Mistress of Spices', travel with the cooking along the Grand Trunk Road, globalization with 'Bound Together' and medicine with Ayurvedic cooking.

This series of 12 lectures is brought to you by The India International Centre and The Attic. Some lectures will be followed by a dinner relevant to the subject.


tuesday 10th november
India International Centre Annexe Lecture Room
6.30 pm “Food as a Metaphor for Cultural Hierarchies” – a talk by Dr Gopal Guru

                                             Food is not only what one eats, it has a complex cultural setting in which what is eaten, how and at what times of the day, where and with whom define, not only a persons culinary habits but as Pierre Bourdieu says is, “the basis of the social relationship between different groups and social classes.”

It is important first to differentiate between cooked and uncooked food or ‘kaccha’ and ‘pakka’ food. This suggests the distinction of inequality emerging from deprivation, humiliation and human rights within the cultural hierarchies of the subcontinent. In this sense it is cooked food that provides the defining space for example of the term ‘taste’.

The practice of cooking itself produces different kinds of distinctions, horizontal and vertical within the context of the changing food practices of different caste groups. What are the conditions that sustain these hierarchies? This lecture discusses the relationship between music and food eating rituals on the one hand and the politics of food culture that exist across different social situations. From the point of view of cultural hierarchies it is necessary to explore “the meaning of differences… by looking at their contexts, social and cultural” which leads us to a discussion about the politics of resistance as vitalized through different notions of the recipe.

Finally, we must ask an important moral question, why is it that certain sections of our people who can afford cooked food are unable to enjoy it?

Dr. Gopal Guru is a Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His research and teaching interests are Cultural Politics, issues of Social Justice, self-respect and dignity. His publications cover dalit and feminist questions, social and political thought in modern India and moral and social theory. He has been a visiting fellow at Calcutta and Mysore Universities, Sanso PO University Paris, IDS Sussex, UK and Pennsylvania University, USA. His recent Publication is, Humiliation: Claims and Context (ed) OUP, 2009.


Forthcoming Lectures 2009 - 2010 






       Title of Talk


5 Dec

Sally Holkar

Co-Author Cooking of the Maharajas

Cooking of the Maharajas


2 Jan

Nayan Chanda

Director of Publications, Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization

Spicing Up The European Imagination: The Impact of Indo-Arab Trade on the European Kitchen



Prof. Zilkia Janer

Associate Professor of Global Studies at Hofstra University in New York

Indian Cusine and the geopolitics of Culinary Knowledge


8 Feb

Dr Vinod Verma

Director, The New Way Health Organization .NOW . Author Ayurvedic Food Culture and Recipies

Healing Foods: the Ayurvedic Tradition



David Housego

Journalist and Chairman Shades of India

Raj Cooking and the spread of Indian cuisine in Britain



Salma Husain

Persian scholar and food connoisseur

Turkish, Persian & Afghan cooking and

its influence on Mughal Cuisine

Consultants to the series Pushpesh Pant, Jasleen Dhamija, Prabeen Grewal.
                 Cooking Utensils Exhibition IIC Annexe 26 April to 2 May 2010


friday 20th november
6.30 pm ‘Yet Another Dawn’ a contemporary dance solo by Nikolina Nikoleski



"And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music"...



In the interdisciplinary art of contemporary dance, exploring creativity and physicality, the visual and the unseen, the spirit within and the reaching out, the essence of this choreography lies in the sharing with the audience.

In the awareness of the inner world and all the very complex human emotions, Nikolina sets out on her own journey using the contemporary technics of Pina Bausch's Tanztheater enriched with the nuances of Bharatanatyam.

Motion/emotion and Pina's philosophy "I'm interested in what moves people and not how they move" is similar to the yearning of the Nayika in  Bharatanatyam. It is that invisible, yet the only real spring of all that makes us do, perform, experience, share...

"Yet another dawn" is a quest, a final destination, it is a moment of stillness in a constant human interaction

Nikolina, born in Croatia of Macedonian origin, trained in rhythmic gymnastics,  classical ballet and folk dance. She graduated from Laban's High School for Dance and Rhythm in Zagreb, Croatia. She continued contemporary dance at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Austria  and got two scholarships, at the world famous Dance Academy of  Pina Bausch and at The Folkwang Hochschule Essen in Germany.

She has worked with many famous choreographers: Juan Kruz Esnaola de Silva (DV8, Sasha Waltz Company),Frey Faust, Mia Lawrence, Ben Riepe, Susan Quinn (Merce Cunningham Co.), Rick Merill (Jose Limon Co.),Bernard Baumgarten (S.O.A.P. Frankfurt), Kuo Chu-Wu and many others.

She was awarded an ICCR scholarship for Bharatanatyam study under the guidance of Padmashree Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan. She has performed widely at prestigious classical dance festivals in Avignon ,Paris, Casablanca, Vienna and in Khajuraho, Mahabalipuram, Kurukshetra, Chennai and Delhi.


wednesday 25th november
6.30 pm “Homage to Odissi and Tara, the mother Goddess” a dance recital by Madina Andassova

                                  Madina is the senior most Kazakh student of the Odissi Akademi in Delhi and the first disciple of Smt Kavita Dwivedi its founder. She has been studying Odissi for 3 years as part of the ICCR Scholarship Exchange Scheme. Blessed with natural grace and fluidity she will perform her programme in 2 parts today. First the classical Odissi repertoire with the invocatory Mangalacharan, a Pallavi, pure dance piece and conclude with ‘Om Sarvam’, verses from the Gayatri Mantra, Mundaka Upanishad and Sankaracharyas. 

The second part of her performance will be a dedication to the Buddhist deity Tara. Tara is the best known Bodhisattva –goddess embodying compassion and love. She is depicted as young, beautiful and is seen as guarding against the 8 great terrors of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, robbers, imprisonment, shipwreck and man eating demons. In each case these terrors are symbolic of spiritual dangers. This evenings dance is a supplication to Tara, ‘the liberator’. The movement language is taken from Odissi and Kathak along with Madina’s unique knowledge of Kazakh folklore. A creative use of mantras and compositions are sung by a Tibetan singer. Concept by Chokyi Palmo 

Along with her Guru Madina has performed at the National Youth Festival at Hyderabad, Dandi March celebration , Vadodra, Jaipur Virasat Festival, Orissa day Celebrations at Delhi  and at many international conferences as well as a solo artiste during the Swami Haridas Sammelan at Vrindavan.. She is a graduate in Psychology from Kazakh University and an accomplished folk dancer. 


saturday 28th november
6.30 pm ‘The Metaphor of the Garment’: songs of the divine from Bhakti poetry by Rekha Surya

Hindustani light classical music bridges the gap between pure classical and mainstream music, appealing to both the connoisseur and the layperson.

To musically elaborate a word or phrase is the idiom that defines Hindustani light classical music. Weaving variations of a word or phrase displays the singer's range of imagination and distinguishes this genre.

This style of singing is associated with Benares and Lucknow, and from Lucknow is Begum Akhtar's youngest disciple, Rekha Surya, who has also trained under Girija Devi. She has, however, taken a different turn by mainly singing mystical poetry in the romantic style of Thumri, Dadra and Ghazal. Like two sides of a coin, most mystical poetry is both sensual and spiritual.

This evening she will sing the poetry of Amir Khusro, Mirabai and mainly Kabir. The metaphor of the garment is used in both Bhakti and Sufi poetry and during this concert she will present 3 such songs. She begins with a Nirgun Dadra. 

Rekha Surya  trained under Begum Akhtar and Girija Devi.  She is from Lucknow and now lives in New Delhi. She recorded for the Archives of Sangeet Natak Academi in 1994. She has performed all over India as well as in many cities in the US, Canada and Europe. She has performed at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Cornell University, MIT, Yale and the World Music Institute New York


Dastkar Nature Bazaar at IGNCA 

A series of 4 performances at the amphitheatre at 6.30 pm 

sunday 8th  november            ‘Dastangoi from the Tilism-e Hoshruba and elsewhere' by      
                                                    Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain.

 monday 9th november          ‘Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti’ Hindustani semi- classical music                                                     by Ruchira Kale

wednesday 11th november   ‘OM TARA’ – a contemporary dance composition

thursday 12th november        WAZD: in Trance” a kathak recital by Namrata Pamnani


 sunday 8th november
6.30 pm ‘Dastangoi from the Tilism-e Hoshruba and elsewhere’

Directed by Mahmood Farooqui
Performers--Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain
Sets and Costumes by-Anusha Rizvi

                                                      Dastangoi is a lost art of storytelling in Urdu. At its peak it regaled listeners at palaces, cafes, street corners and public arena with tales of war, magic, trickery and adventure that could last weeks, months and sometimes years. Dastangos were mimics, narrators, actors and ventriloquists but were also often the creator of their stories, weaving episodes extemporaneously. Tilism, magically enchanted realms, and Aiyyari, professional tricksters, were the peculiar preserve of Indian and Urdu Dastangos and they so expatiated on this in the oral realm that it became the longest fictional narrative ever produced in India. When finally put to print at the end of the nineteenth century the Dastan-e Amir Hamza ran into 46 mammoth volumes of over a thousand pages each, generated entirely by oral storytelling over generations.

The present revival of Dastangoi was put into effect by Mahmood Farooqui under the guidance of the leading scholar of the Dastanic tradition, S. R. Faruqi. Over the last five years he and his team which has also included the actor Naseeruddin Shah, have given over hundred performances in most major cities of India and abroad. These have included tours to Pakistan and to the United States. The performances have been enthusiastically received almost everywhere since, in spite of the high Urdu medium, the Dastans still seem capable of entertaining the elite and the commoners alike.

Performance Episodes

The tale of Azlam Jadu--The dragon army of Azlam, immune to all attacks and spells, is despatched by Afrasiab to fight Amir Hamza and his chief trickster Amar. Afrasiab is the Emperor of the Tilism-e
Hoshruba, the enchantment that steals the senses away. He has captured Amir Hamza's son thus starting a perennial war against him. Amar and his tricksters disguise themselves, often as women, and using poetry, guile and seduction keep paring away at Afrasiab's kingdom and the sixty thousand monarchs who are his vassals.

Partition Dastans- Using the form of Dastangoi Mahmood and his team have also started building an archive of contemporary stories. Created on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of partition, this
presentation is a bitter sweet look at a traumatic event in India's history.

Performer and Director:
Mahmood Farooqui is a Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Delhi, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He also contributes regular opinion pieces and feature articles to the leading newspapers. His book on the uprising of 1857 in Delhi is due out from Penguin in May 2010. He is currently translating the theatre legend Habib Tanvir's memoirs into English.

Danish Husain is one of the leading theatre actors in the country who has worked with several luminaries of the Indian stage including Barry John and Habib Tanvir. He is a published poet and has just finished acting in two feature films in Bombay.

Executive Producer-
Anusha Rizvi, the costumes and set designer is an independent filmmaker and has just finished her first feature as writer-director under the banner of Aamir Khan Productions, Bombay.

monday 9th november
6.30 pm ‘Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti’ Hindustani semi-classical music by Ruchira Kale

Thumri is a genre of semi-classical Hindustani music that revolves around a girl's love for her beloved. This style is characterized by its sensuality and flexibility with the raga.
Dadra is a light classical vocal form mostly performed in Agra and in Bundelkhand region, originally accompanied by dadra tala.
The Kajri form describes both a sense of longing for the lover and the black monsoon clouds hanging in the summer skies denoting the start of the monsoon. This and the chaiti form is most popular in the villages of  Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Ruchira sings this evening a selection from these forms as well as a couple of folk tunes with Jaishankar Mishra on tabla and  Parimita Chatterjee on harmonium.

Ruchira Kale initially trained under her father Dilip Kale and later Smt.Alka Deo Marulkar, renowned vocalist of the Jaipur gharana. She continued her training under the guidance of Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar at ITC Sangeet Research Academy and also with Smt Girija Devi, doyen of the Banaras gharana. She has also completed her Masters degree in English Literature. She has performed in India and abroad and has received awards as ”young achiever” and “woman achiever”. Recently Ruchira’s music was chosen by “Invisible Girl Records”, UK as part of a world music compilation project – “a Place in Space”


wednesday 11th november
6.30 pm “OM TARA” – a contemporary dance composition by a group of Indian & International dancers.

Concept by Chokyi Palmo.

Tara is the best known Bodhisattva –goddess embodying compassion and love. She is depicted as young, beautiful and is seen as guarding against the 8 great terrors which are symbolic of spiritual dangers.  

This evenings dance performance is a supplication to the Green Tara, uniting diverse spiritual paths in an art form designed to use the power of the Mother Goddess and pray for her help.   

The first part of the composition, “Warriors of Samsara” highlights the delusion of the cycle of life, suffering and death. This is followed by  “Actualizing the true path….” which points out through the dance choreography how the Tara can help prevent hindrances and generate quickly the steps to the path of enlightenment.  

The second part of the composition is an Invocation to Tara ”The Liberator” through the recitation of her mantra “ OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA”  

“Om" is the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha
"Tare" is Dharma, the one liberates beings from sufferings
"Tuttare" is the one that liberates beings from danger
"Ture" is the one that release beings from sickness
"Soha" is laying the foundation


 thursday 12th  november
6.30 pm “ WAZD: in Trance” a kathak recital by Namrata Pamnani

Trance is an altered state of consciousness or a state of mind or a state of being brought about by prayer, meditation and other techniques.  

In this evenings performance the dancer evokes the feeling and aura through the sound (swara) , the movement and the rhythm where the dance remains and the dancer disappears  It is the mystical experience of the dancer, the space and the connectivity she seeks with the audience.

The repertoire of Kathak flows, initiating from the very first note ‘SA’ the mighty “Shadaj’ into the ocean of ‘OM’ the state of eternity. Trance is developed through the intricacies of rhythm for which Kathak is particularly suited. The traditional Hindustani classical music is spiced up with Tibetan Bowl, Rainstick and Afghani Rabab creating an ethereal journey from Om to Allah.  

Namrata is an exponent of Kathak, an artist with a unique expression, articulated movements, intricate abhinaya and a spellbinding command over rhythm. She trained for 15 years at the National Institute of Kathak in New Delhi with Smt Bharati Gupta and Pandit Jaikrishan Maharaj. She has also worked with Kumudini Lakhia, Geetanjali Lal, Prerana Shrimali, Rajendra Gangani, Malti Shyam and Rani Khanan. She has experience of all the 3 Kathak gharanas Lucknow, Jaipur and Banaras.  

She has performed at the Lincoln Center at New York, ICCR Sri Lanka, the Festival of Dance at Estonia and many of the major cities in India. She has also conducted workshops at the National School of Ballet in Korea, the University of Ethnomusicology in Geneva and Steiner schools in Finland. She is an empanelled artist at ICCR, Doordarshan and Sangeet Natak Akademi. She is currently working with the Repertory Company of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.