Can we separate Hindu Religion and Bharathanatyam?

published on June 23, 2007



Ananda Vikatan

Tamil Weekly Magazine

20.December 2006 Published from Chennai.

Translated by B.Subramanian



“Can we separate Hindu religion & Bharathanaatyam” – when Sri Sri Ravishankar asked this question in a melodious sad voice we could feel how much his mind is wounded by the episode.


For the ‘Health and Bliss’ religious course conducted by him in Chennai at Anna University Ground from 5th to 8th December 2006, the response was beyond compare.


We met Sri Sri Ravishankar at AV.M.Kumaran’s house and discussed with him the said subject. ‘In the inaugural function 500 Bharathanaatyam dancers were to dance in group and it included 40 students of Kalakshethraa. Even though all the students were present for the rehearsal, the students were not allowed to participate in the function by its Director’, said Ravishankar. 


The reason given for the non-participation of the students for the said function was very disturbing. “This function is concerned with Hindu religion. So Kalakshetraa students need not participate in it”, said the present Christian Director Leela Samson who took over charge of the famous foundation of Bharathanaatyam and Classical music at Chennai, which has been in service for last 50 years.


“The lady right from the day of taking over as Director of this foundation has been spreading anti- Hindu views among the students. We should really appreciate the lady for her narrow mentality. Just as Christmas Carol songs and Pope can not be separated, Hindu religion and Bharathanatyam can not be separated. When this great art of Bharathanaatyam was aired in Samskar Channel for the world to view its greatness, non-participation of Kalakshtha students as per the orders of the christian lady is only a loss to the foundation and not to the art” said Sri Sri Ravishankar.


“Hindu religion is a very peaceful and calm religion and unlike western religions were crusade and jihad were prevalent for several thousand years, there was no war or battle in India based on religion. Though our 85% of our population are Hindus, nowhere in world we can see such minority status given to our religion”.


” Similarly the religions conversions are rampant in India. Those who are interested the upliftment of the country will never accept the religious conversions. There are only 3 causes for the conversions :

  1. Financial strength – Those who do not have financial strength are converted by offering hefty sum or offering jobs in Christian institutions.
  2. “By explaining greatness of Christianity, people are brainwashed and made to convert to Christianity. This is mainly because most Hindus do not know the greatness of Hinduism”.
  3. “Those who are physically bad condition are converted by brainwashing that they can be cured by converting to Christianity, and free medical treatment is given by Christian health institutions. Hinduism is the doyen of health practices like Yoga, Pranayamam and Meditation. This is not fully known to majority of Hindus. It is the duty of media and religious institutions to educate the people of these great arts available in Hinduism”.

The magazines and television channels should educate the people about the disadvantages of religious conversions. When such mass conversions took place in Nagaland from Hinduism to Christianity, no action was taken by Hindus. Now Nagaland is asking for separate independent nation status at the UNO. They argue that Christians are minority in India and cannot live peacefully in India. Only Christians in southern states viz. Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka should make the World body that such is not case anywhere in India. By allowing Nagaland to exist an independent nation will be headache for the government of India, since other states with majority of Christians may follow suit. 



2) Letter to Editor of Chennai Chronicle



 This is with reference to the report “Kalakshetra director unfazed by Hindutva hate campaign” in Chennai Chronicle.  While the allegations on Leela Samson have been on air for quite some time, neither she nor her supporters have given a convincing reply for those allegations. What they have done so far is that, they have given some vague statements whenever press persons approached them. Even the media houses, which reported the issue, have not made a complete investigation on it and come out with the truth.

 With regards to the views of her supporters, as reported in your column, the Malaysian Ramli Ibrahim is not known much in our country and Danseuse / Actor Anita Ratnam had the credit of running a column “Ask Anitha” till recently in the ‘Sunday Magazine’ section of an English Daily, in which she used to answer filthy & third rate questions on Sex & Erotic, Writer C.S.Lakshmi’s views are naïve & unconvincing and the confused Film Maker Sharada Ramanathan must tell us the difference between Hinduism & Hindutva; The great artist Sudarani Ragupathy has commented only about Smt. Rukmini Arundale – the whole world knows her greatness – but has not said anything about Leela. One wonders, why you have not contacted many other Barathanatyam experts, who have been closely attached with Kalakshetra on this issue! Also your report doesn’t have the opinions of the students of Kalakshetra!


“Art of Living” Guru Shri. Shri. Ravishankar had said in an interview to a Tamil Weekly recently that, Leela had refused to send her team of artists on the grand finale of his function at Anna University, Chennai, under the guise that the function was of Hindu colour. So far she had not replied to that allegation. Also, during the visit of the then Pope John Paul, who openly ordered his Churches & Missionaries to make a rich “Harvest of Souls” in India as part of his Evangelization of Asia program, she performed a ballet with her team to honour him.


We are at a time when foreign countries claim & patent  ‘Basmati’ and ‘Neam’. We are at a time when ‘Yoga’ and ‘Ayurveda’ are being de-Hinduised. So, we cannot allow ‘Barathanatyam” also to be de-Hinduised. Barathanatyam is certainly a Hindu art form and Leela Samson heads an institution, which was founded exclusively for imparting the greatness, cultural & traditional values and the Aesthetic Sense of this art form to the students from all over the world. So, Leela Samson has the responsibility to upkeep the Hindu tradition of the great Hindu Institute.


She may be right in telling, “art is a form of self expression and each one has their own way of doing it”, but it doesn’t mean that she can change the basic concepts & values of the institute as per her whims & fancy. It is also true that Bharathanatyam is a Hindu art form and that she is heading a Hindu Institution and hence she must not do anything to de-Hinduise this great art in the name of creativity, innovation and secularism.


Allegations have come out in the open and they should not be brushed aside or simply denied as moral policing. She must come out clean and prove that the allegations are wrong not only for her benefits, but also for the benefits of the Institute and the students.   

Thanks & Regards,




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