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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 07.08.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee delivered the First Rukmini Devi Memorial Lecture at Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai today (August 7, 2013).

Speaking on the occasion, the President described Smt. Rukmini Devi as a great personality of India who like Mahatma Gandhi embodied the spirit of renunciation. If she had accepted the offer of becoming of President of India in 1977, she would have been elected unanimously. Her refusal of this offer not only reflects her character and sagacity but also how she was. A wonderful example of values India has cherished for centuries.

The President said what Kalakshetra is to Chennai, Santiniketan is to Kolkata. They are havens of peace; temples of the arts; and beacons for humanity. They were not set up to sequester, but to protect the arts and to provide a nourishing womb for their development. The protection meant providing a moment of pause from the loud cycles of life. Creativity requires both silence and the opportunity to connect with the wellspring of nature’s bubbling creative potential. And these twin attributes are at the heart of both Santiniketan and Kalakshetra. The performing arts cannot remain impervious to the decay of nature’s resources worldwide and to the degeneration of the seasons.

The President said Smt. Rukmini Devi was sensitive enough to perceive the steps that she herself, and others of her generation, had to take to revive our classical culture and to make them living traditions in our country. Today, the task before us is to preserve them and aid their continued flourishing in the best possible manner, with institutions like Kalakshetra providing the bedrock of support in this crucial societal responsibility.

On the occasion, the President also witnessed the Dance Drama Sita Svayamvaram by Kalakshetra Foundation.

This release issued at 1750 hrs