Steps in Time
The story of Indian classical dance comes alive in an ongoing exhibition titled, ‘A Century of Indian Dance’
When Ashish Khokar, son of the late dance scholar, critic and historian Mohan Khokar, was growing up in New Rajendra Nagar, their small two bedroom house in West Delhi was always bursting with archival material.
The fridge was stashed with film rolls, and the beds and tables with stacks of photographs, posters and press clippings; brochures hung from fans, the kitchen was full of knick-knacks — and all the memorabilia represented dance. Together, Mohan’s collection offers a glimpse into the history of the performing arts in India, its struggles and triumphs.
“There was a time when we slept in a sitting position because there was no place at home,” says Ashish, who estimates that his father, a very private person, had taken 2.5 lakh photographs and documented press clippings about dance from every newspaper and magazine that he could. Now, Ashish, in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, is displaying his father’s collection in an exhibition titled, ‘A Century of Indian Dance: 1901-2000’ at India Habitat Centre.