TAMIL DANCE BEFORE BHARATHA NATYAM

Dr.Padma Subramaniam has been stressing that dance known as Bharatha Natyam had its inception in Kashmir and Bharathar, a saint is its founder. She had also successfully impressed upon the then Tamilnadu Chief Minister to allocate 5 acres of land to construct a temple for Bharathamunivar. This claim needs to be countered and some scholars have done it. Pulavar K.Subramanian, President of Bangalore Tamil Sangam wrote in a Tamil literary monthly Thelitamizh [18.10.2003] that in the Arangetru Kathai of Tamil epic Silapathigaram it is stated that Madhavi learnt “Naatiya Nannool”, which proves Tamils had their own original books on Dance.

Dr.R.Madhivanan raised a pertinent question in the literary monthly Thelitamizh in which he asked ” Who is the father of Dancing Art ? Bharathar ? or Avinayar ?. [15.3.2006] .According to  Madhivanan , Sivaperuman had performed the 108 thandavas of dancing art. As per the request of Brahma, Lord Siva taught dance to a Saint called “Thandu”. Thandu taught to Bharathamunivar, who in turn wrote “Natyasastra” in Sanskrit, says puranas. Madhivanan argues that if Thandu had taught dance to Bharathamunivar, temple should be constructed to Thandu and not Bharathar.

Tamilnadu then  Chief Minister J.J had admitted in the floor of Tamilnadu assembly that dancing art originated from Tamilnadu. But the Brahminical Chief Minister was not aware that there existed a Tamil book for dance which is known as Avinayam written by Avinayar. Koothar, viraliyar,kodiyar,vayiriyar,paanar were the group of  people who were practicing and propagating dance much before the Sangam age. The Natya sastra of Bharathamunivar is just the translation of the Natya nannoolmentioned by Ilangoadigal, author of Tamil epic Silapathigaram. Bharathar’s book is not original one. Though the Avinayam of Tholkappiyar’s days is not available today, during Sangam period Sathanar’sKoothanool , Arivanar’s Panjamarabu , Mathivanar’s Nadakatamizh were following the tradition of Avinayar’s Naatiya Nannool.

It is acknow ledged in literary sources that along with Tholkappiyar, Avinayar was also one among the 12 disciples of Agathiar. Bharathamunivar belongs to 4 th or 5 th century, the days of Pallava rule. Hence by time he lags behind Avinayar. Hence it will be appropriate to build temple only for Avinayar and not Bharathamunivar, Dr.R.Madhivanan wrote.

Dravida Peravai appeals to Tamil scholars particularly to Eelam Tamil women who are spreading the Tamil dance tradition across the continents to clearly correct the distortion in history and state that Tamil dance must be renamed as Avinayam, and Bharatha natyam originated from Kashmir is not the first to originate but a borrowed version of Tamil dance.

N.Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai

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