Editors Note by Yamini Reddy

From the Hijab issue to the elections in UP, religion has become a tool for propaganda rather than a means to a spiritual journey. What does this mean for the arts which are so closely knitted to religion in India? And where do the arts stand in the middle of all of this? The terms ‘Art’, Culture’ and ‘Religion’ are often misunderstood and misused.
Even the government at a policy making level fails to make a clear distinction between the three terms. Government funds are shifted around to suit agenda, culture funds are diverted towards promotion of religious and political activities, arts often neglected in the promotion of culture activities.
As a modern Indian, where we often assert our cultural power, we need to understand its true essence. Only then will we be able to harness its true power not only for government planning but also for individual growth and artistic creativity.
But first we must decode the terms ‘Culture’, ‘Art’ and ‘religion’. Doing so will give clarity as to Who we are? Where we intend to head? and How we intend to do it?
By definition:
Culture – Denotes the customs, ideas, beliefs, etc. of a particular society, or country, etc.
Which includes everything from the way we greet a person to our belief in marriage and death.
Religion – The belief in a god or gods and the activities connected with this.
The way we pray, the gods we believe, the rituals we practice.
Art – Any activity or product done by people with a communicative or aesthetic purpose
Something that expresses an idea, an emotion or, more generally, a world view.
Clearly all three terms are distinct, yet there is an invisible thread of spirituality that runs through them all. To understand the terms in more depth, I spoke with celebrated Diplomat-author Shri Pavan K. Varma author of the “Great Indian Middle Class, ‘The Great Hindu Civilisation’, ‘Adi Shankaracharya – Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker ‘. His insightful interview answered many of questions and reservations about the relationship between the Arts and Religion.
We have on-board our team’s young writer Shreyaa Suresh who has delved deeper into spiritual connect between arts and religion by exploring the Bhakti movement in Indian dance. Renowned Kathak dancer Aditi Mangaldas who is known for unconventional works in Kathak has also shared with us about how she moves beyond religious iconisation in her dance choreography.
In our Unravelling Kuchipudi section, we bring to light how the Kuchipudi Bhagvatalu as early as 13th Century B.C. used the art form to bring social change by representing the atrocities endured by local society.
Hope you enjoy reading this issue. We would love to hear your thoughts about how you would like to explore this subject further. Write in at yaminireddyofficial@gmail.com.
Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram, @yamireddydance for regular updates.
-Yamini Reddy

– Yamini Reddy


I have created all worlds at my will without being urged by any higher Being, and dwell within them. I permeate the earth and heaven, and all created entities with my greatness and dwell in them as eternal and infinite consciousness.

— Devi Sukta, Rigveda

Sharing a few moments below from my recent production “Shivoham” along with my students at Dharmapuri Kshetram, Miyapur, Hyderabad.

It was an honor to be a part of the initiative, Women of Vision – 20 years of Transformational Excellence presented by FLO, Hyderbad, the women’s wing of FICCI on the occassion of Women’s Day. Below are a few moments from the same.

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Legendary Kuchipudi Dancing couple, Raja and Radha Reddy, is responsible for bringing Kuchipudi dance, the pride of Andhra Pradesh, onto the cultural map of the world.

Legendary Kuchipudi Dancing couple, Raja and Radha Reddy, is responsible for bringing Kuchipudi dance, the pride of Andhra Pradesh, onto the cultural map of the world.
For their contribution to the art form they have been decorated with many awards nationally and internationally. They have had the honor of performing for presidents and prime ministers of many countries such as President Ford, Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro etc. They have conducted charity shows for Red Cross Society, Blind Relief Association, and the home for the aged people in Bombay and CRY. They had the honor of being invited as the first Indian dancers to participate in the International Dance festival of Avignon in France and Salzburg in Austria.

The couple’s contribution to the festival of India in the USA and the UK was considered outstanding. They were the star attraction of the All Star Ballet Gala festival in Japan. The Reddys inaugurated the India Festival in Bangladesh. Raja and Radha Reddy have created history by becoming the first couple to receive Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan award individually and simultaneously for the same cause by the President of India, the Sangeet Natak Academy award, International Meridian award etc.