This is a Performing Arts elective, which is also cross listed with the English department.
The purpose of the amorous poetry, namely the thumri, padam or ashtapadi, that remains central to Indian dance and music traditions, is not just to express the inner condition but more importantly, for that fleeting inner-condition to be recognized. And this requires the cultivation of an eye-for-nuance both in the performer as well as the reader/viewer or the rasika. Beginning with the Rasa theory as delineated by Bharata in the Natya Shastra, the readings will then revolve around the poetic discourse that emerged towards the end of the 1st millennium; particularly the Pratibjijna theory of “Recognition,” as well as the writings of Abhinavagupta, who quite literally radicalises Indian poetics by adding the ninth rasa, i.e. santa. Apart from looking at the linguistic debates regarding the purpose of poetry, i.e. whether it is for instruction, pleasure or composure, the course will mainly focus on the paradoxical constructs and ethos of sacred-erotic poetry.