|Rukmini Devi Arundale Cultural India|
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|Rukmini Devi Arundale Rediff.com|
Born on 29 February 1904 in Madurai, Rukmani Devi's father was Neelakanta Sastri, an engineer with the Public Works Department and a scholar, and her mother Seshammal was a music lover. Her father took a liking for theosophy and was introduced to the Theosophical Society in 1901. Dr. Anne Besant gave him inspiration and upon retirement he chose his residence near the HQ of Theosophical society. Rukmani also took keen interest in theosophy and also in theater, art and culture. In this regard, her frequent meetings with the prominent British theosophist Dr George Arundale—a close associate of Annie Besant and later the principal of the Central Hindu College in Varanasi blossomed into love and their wedding in 1920 again created another storm among the people from the upper class. She was hardly 16 years of age and George Arundale was about 40 years old.
|Indian postal stamp Rukmani Devi. Kamat's Potpourri|
For certain technical reasons Kalashetra moved over to its own land in Thruvanmayur in the 1950s which Rukmani Devi and others bought in peace-meal. It is a residential institution with all facilities like auditorium for performances, administrative buildings, class rooms, etc.
Rukmani Devi was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967. When Indian dance forms were falling to disrepute and was facing the danger of becoming a forgotten art form, it was Rukmani Devi who breathed a new life into it and made the conservative communities understand the hidden beauty that is part of our culture. Across India and also abroad there are countless dance schools imparting Indian classical dances of various types. If the Indian dances are recognised world over and are enjoying freedom innovation and respect, it is because of Rukmani Devi who believes it is the dance of the Indian people and is no longer confined to one particular society. Its venue is not only temple but also public halls where