The Ivory Throne can also be imagined as a palace in Travancore with its many chapters as many gateways of the palace from where caressing breezes and strong winds went out and, in the palace bringing with it many a tales of origin, exaggerated orders, larger than life anecdotes, thrilling mysteries and many a truths.
MS Subbulakshmi was introduced to the world as a perfect image of Tamil Brahmin housewife, shedding her Devadasi past. The hunger to control could have even made them change the colour of the people – the only thing they could not. They even controlled the rhythm of bodies as I read- “Rukmini Devi Arundale stripped the Bharatnatyam dance drama, once performed in the temple mandapams, of its eroticism and adapted it to the Western style stage, giving it “respectability” even while wrenching it from its ancient custodians, the Devadasis.” It beguiles me to no end how the Indian eye saw beauty in eroticism and its detailing as we can see in Khajuraho with unabashed appreciation. The roving British eye which hailed the Queen, saw “overt” sexual tenor in Kerala’s Mohiniattam.
We either have the stupefying ancient caves and temples in the subconscious world of our minds or the British architecture immediately around us and the Mughals made sure we inherited their forts,fortresses, Urdu and cuisine. Perhaps, we are still learning about history – excavating, archiving and somewhat beginning to understand it.