Google celebrates Rukmini Arundale's birth anniversary

29 Feb 2016 | By Ramya

Google honored the prominent Bharatnatyam dancer, Rukmini Devi Arundale on her 112nd birth anniversary through a 'Google Doodle'.

The 'Google Doodle' portrays Rukmini Devi showing a Bharatnatyam dance 'mudra', in a traditional dance attire.

Rukmini Devi appears in India Today's list of '100 people who shaped India', published in 2000.

The founder of 'Kalakshetra' academy died on 24 February 1986.

In context: Rukmini Arundale, the legendary dancer

Introduction Who is Rukmini Arundale?

Rukmini Devi Arundale was born on 29 February 1904. She was a renowned dancer and choreographer of the classical Indian dance-form Bharatnatyam.

She was one of the pioneering dancers, who revived the Bharatnatyam form from its 'Sadhir' style, which was considered an unrefined act performed by the 'Devadasis-temple dancers'.

She was also a theosophist and a social-activist who worked for 'animal rights and welfare'.

1936 ‘Kalakshetra’-The sanctuary of arts

Rukmini Devi Arundale was the founder of 'Kalakshetra' - the cultural academy to preserve the traditions of Indian arts and especially the Bharatnatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music forms.

Founded in 1936, the academy rose to global heights for its unique style of teaching.

An Act of the Indian Parliament, recognized 'Kalakshetra' as an 'Institute of National Importance' in 1994.

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Noted alumni of the Kalakshetra academy

Radha Burnier, A Janardhanan, Sarada Hoffman, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Adyar K. Lakshman, Ambika Buch, Yamini Krishnamoorthy, Leela Samson, Kamala Rajgopal, Devoleena Bhattacharjee, G. S. Rajan and Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant are some of the well-renowned almuni of 'Kalakshetra'.

1936-86 Contribution to Bharatnatyam and Animal welfare

Despite strong opposition from the society, she chose to learn and present the Bharatnatyam dance form on the stage as she recognized the value of it.

As a Rajya Sabha member, she had pivoted the enactment of the 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act' and had later set-up the Animal Welfare Board of India.

From 1955-86, she was the Vice-President of International Vegetarian Union.

Awards Honored with numerous awards

In 1956, Rukmini Arundale was conferred with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.

For her contribution to Bharatnatyam, she was awarded: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-1957; Kalidas Samman-1984; Wayne State University Honorary Doctorate; Scrolls of Honor, by County and City of Los Angeles.

For her role in animal rights protection and welfare, she was awarded 'Prani Mitra-1968' and Queen Victoria Silver Medal.

Rukmini Arundale was almost the President once

Rukmini Devi Arundale had turned down an offer by Morarji Desai in 1977 to be nominated for the post of the ‘President of India’. She chose to work for her academy, Kalakshetra.
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29 Feb 2016Google celebrates Rukmini Arundale's birth anniversary