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IISc Pravega 2014 the saga unfolds

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IISc Pravega 2014

Pravega, the first-ever undergraduate Science, Technical and Cultural Fest of IISc, officially spread its wings today, with its inauguration ceremony at the J. N. Tata Auditorium. The opening ceremony, complemented with the Odissi Performance by Nrityagram, left the audience rapt and spellbound. The ceremony commenced with Pravega being pronounced open by the Director of IISc, Padma Bhushan, Professor P. Balaram. He remarked on the positive changes, which can be perceived in the atmosphere of the Institute since the inception of the undergraduate programme.

The Associate Director, Professor N. Balakrishnan, presented a scintillating talk on security and social media. He expounded on the fact that the wars of the future will not be contested between nations, but against social groups and the nation or amongst the groups themselves. His lecture was followed by the keynote address by Dr. Jens Cattarius, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development, India, showcasing the future of the automobile industry and the pioneering role of Mercedes-Benz therein.

Thereafter, Dr. Sebastian Wiesner, the head of the Microscopy Division of Zeiss, emphasised the impediments to imaging technology today and Zeiss's progress towards the resolution of these problems. Pranav Mundada, the Chief Coordinator of Pravega, expressed his gratitude towards all the sponsors and various members among the faculty, whose help has been invaluable for the organisation of Pravega.The artistes from Nrityagram, contributing towards the cultural segment of the evening, enthralled the audience, with spontaneous applause dotting the performances.

Pravega has been the collective fixation of all the three hundred and twelve Undergraduate students of the Indian Institute of Science. "After Pravega", "Because of Pravega", "In Pravega", "Uff Pravega!", "Ah Pravega!" had entered their lexicon; surely even without their knowing. Finally the labour of their love Pravega, opened on 31st January, 2014. And how!

This three-day long Science, Tech and Cultural fest had a befitting opening ceremony, accentuated by the surreal Odissi dance performance by Bijayini Satpathy and Pavithra Reddy from Nrityagram. Nrityagram sustains the traditional Indian system of learning of classical dances the Gurukul tradition and has created a thriving community in the form of a dance village. This school of thought and practice was set up by Odissi dancer Protima Gauri in 1990. Odissi is one of the eight classical dance forms of India recognised by the Sangeet Natak Academi.

Its origin is believed to be two thousand years old in eastern India and embedded in various ancient fertility cults tied to ritualistic Hindu temple worship by women dancers known as mahari. The dance was also performed by young male dancers known as gotipua, who performed outside the temple. Like many indigenous dance forms, it used to be simply called nacha before its revival in the 1950s by dance scholars. Thus, the present dance form of Odissi is a product of national and regional revivalism.

The rendition of the evening that comprised of an enchanting blend of music, dance and light elated us, the audience, to the mesmerising world of aesthetic gratification. The performers bequeathed us with all the rasas that Natyashastra entails. While the first composition Arpanam instilled awe by paying obeisance to Mother Parvati, the second composition Srimati aroused smgara with its celebration
of feminine grace. The third was a composition on Kabi Surdas's bhajan where the playful Krishna charms his doting mother Yashoda and the fretful milkmaid with his innocent banter. The fourth and last piece enthralled the capacity crowd to such an extent that it received a standing ovation with prolonged, robust applauses. It was the poignant depiction of Sitaharan from Ramcharitmanas.
I, for one, had tears in my eyes and goose bumps on my hands watching the soulful performance. Be it the mischievous gait of the deer, the magnificent representation of Garuda or the discreet illustration of the ten-headed Ravana, Nrityagram in the true sense treasures and proliferates the rich Indian heritage.

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