Photographer's Note

Another freeze from the Odissi performance. Take a look at my previous post

I have cropped the top in a workshop. I think it does look better in this case.

Almost always, dance performances in India tell a story from mythological stories. Here, the Goddess Durga (the group of leaning dancers) has defeated the demon Mahishasura (the dancer lying down). The three fingers pointing at the demon are intended to resemble a "trishul" or, a trident (this weapon appears everywhere, from the Greek god Poseidon to the National Flag of Barbados).

Durga is also known as Mahishasura Mardini, or the slayer of the Mahisha demon. The name "Durga" is often translated as "beyond reach" - it's probably related to the word durg or fort. Interestingly, the root Mard (in mardini) signifying death, is cognate with the Latin mors; English words such as mortify and mortuary are related to the Sanskrit. Also, the suffix -asura (indicating demonic nature) is related to the Iranian (or rather Avestan) -ahura, with a more positive connotation. Strangely, the use of Deva/Asura (god/demon) is flipped in Zarathustra's writings - ahuras are preferred over daevas! And there are some who even link Asuras to Assyrians!

Even such a small phrase shows the link between individual Indo-European cultures. Despite how radically different they may be now (Europe, Iran, India), we share undeniable common roots.

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Additional Photos by Biswaroop Mukherjee (bmukherjee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 218 W: 72 N: 211] (1516)
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