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The Story of Shiva

KALAKUNJ undertook the project ‘The Story of Shiva’ supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) UK in 2014-2015. The aim of the project was to contribute to the understanding of the heritage associated with the centuries’ old symbol of Nataraja, as used in Indian art and culture and to identify its relevance in people's daily lives, particularly those living in the UK. The Story of Shiva highlighted the importance and benefit about the promotion of values embodied in cultural heritage that we have inherited from the past. Many India-inspired UK dance and music events make reference to Shiva, yet the majority of those learning or watching Indian dance performances are unaware of its rich heritage.This project served to increase understanding of heritage by researching collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum, London, complemented by a variety of heritage learning activities for those learning Indian dance and music and yoga in Reading and surrounding areas, their families and the general public.

This project would not have been possible without the active participation and enthusiasm of the students and parent volunteers of KALAKUNJ who worked tirelessly to make the project successful. KALAKUNJ is grateful for the encouragement received from the then Honourable MP (Reading East) Rob Wilson and Mayor of Reading, Councillor Sarah Hacker.

The Story of Shiva became alive with the contribution of Aravindha Rajeev, Carnatic music practitioner; Manavata, a global voluntary, non-profitable organization working in the development sector by promoting ‘yoga’; and five celebrated artists Anusha Subramanyam (Bharatanatyam), Ashwini Kalsekar (Kathak), Arunima Kumar (Kuchipudi), Parvati Rajamani (Odissi), and Ranjitha Chowalloor (Mohiniattam).

The other significant contributors to the project are Elaine Bradshaw, Reading Library Services; Nick Barnard, Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum; Dr Apurba Chatterjee, Consultant Physician, Royal Berkshire Hospital; and above all, Neena Sohal, HLF Mentor and Grants Adviser without whose support this project would not have achieved completion. 

Last, but not the least, KALAKUNJ is grateful to the entire community of Reading and surrounding areas that supported the event wholeheartedly.

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