Mumbai, Attend A Multidisciplinary Event Celebrating Womanhood & The Divine Feminine

'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.
'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.NCPA

In a world where devotion meets spirituality, where justice and sustainability are sought, and where cultures intertwine, there exists a central figure who embodies it all. She is the mother and protector for the devotee, the guide to inner transformation for the spiritual seeker, and the inspiration for those striving for a more balanced and just world. This enigmatic being, known by countless names and forms, transcends time and speaks to various traditions, from yogic and tantric to devotional and global new-age. In the Indian subcontinent, she is both the creator and the creation, the manifest and the unmanifest. In an era where ecological consciousness is of paramount importance, the interpretation of Mother Earth as the Sacred Feminine has become increasingly important. Also, in contemporary feminist pedagogy, the divinity of womanhood has been well celebrated.

With all that in mind, let us explore a powerful multidisciplinary event called 'GODDESS', a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity. Presented by the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai and curated by Arundhathi Subramaniam, this two-day event is culturally and linguistically inclusive, bringing forth the diverse global invocations of the Sacred Feminine across different epochs. By paying homage to the Sacred Feminine, this festival aims to contribute to the global movement that seeks to reclaim a more inclusive legacy of culture and spirituality.

Curator of the event, Arundhathi Subramaniam
Curator of the event, Arundhathi SubramaniamNCPA
'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.
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The festival embraces poetry translated from various languages, including Sanskrit, Pali, Khasi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Tamil. It pays homage to multiple goddesses, from Shakti to Mei Hukum, Aphrodite to Astarte, Demeter to Diana, Abhirami to Ambika, and Kali to Saraswati. The musical styles showcased range from the rousing Karnataka tradition celebrating Yellamma, the goddess of transgenders, to the joyous Gujarati garba sung by women in honor of multiple goddesses. The event encompasses a diverse range of tones and emotions, from adoration and ecstasy to complaint and rage, as the Goddess is sometimes rebuked by her lovers in the unique literary genre of ninda-stuti. The festival brings together a multitude of practitioners and perspectives, including poets, translators, musicians, theatre actors, and scholars.

'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.
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Goddess is a unique and exuberant celebration of the Sacred Feminine. It brings to the audience various powerful narratives not only from Mesopotamia to Greece, but also from the eighth-century Sanskrit poem,' Saundarya Lahari', to the 18th-century Bengali poetry of Ramprasad Sen and 20th-century Tamil poems of Subramania Bharati. The event is dedicated to inspire thoughts and generate conversations around the celebration of womanhood.

Dr. Suvarnalata Rao, Head of Programming


Date: November 3

Venue: Godrej Dance Theatre

Session 1: 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm

Title: Goddess: A Metaphor Called Woman

Speaker: Devdutt Pattanaik

Distinguished mythologist, author, illustrator, and columnist, Devdutt Pattanaik, will delve into the use of male and female forms as tools to explain Vedic ideas and explore the non-gendered concepts embodied with gender.

Devdutt Pattanaik
Devdutt PattanaikNCPA

Session 2: 5:00 pm to 5:20 pm

Title: This World That Was Created By Opening Your Eyes

Speaker: Mani Rao

Dr. Mani Rao, a scholar, poet, and translator of the iconic eighth-century Sanskrit poem Saundarya Lahari, will introduce the audience to the magic and power of the adoration and reverence dedicated to Shakti, the consort of Shiva.

Dr. Mani Rao
Dr. Mani RaoNCPA

Session 3: 5:20 pm to 6:10 pm

Title: I'll Rub Kali On My Face: Translating the Goddess

Speakers: Sampurna Chattarji, K Srilata, Mani Rao

Noted poet-translators will discuss the rewards and challenges of translating acclaimed Goddess poems, including the works of Ramprasad Sen, Subramania Bharati, and the nuances of the Saundarya Lahari.

Sampurna Chattarji
Sampurna ChattarjiDirk Skiba
K Srilata
K SrilataNCPA

Session 4: 6:30 pm to 6:45 pm


Seasoned Kathak exponent and actor, Aditi Bhagwat, will set the stage with a powerful invocation, choreographed by acclaimed dancer Sanjukta Wagh.

Sanjukta Wagh
Sanjukta WaghNCPA

Session 5: 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm

Title: Yellamma and Other Stories: Wild Goddess of the Margins

Speakers: Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota & Adithya Kothakota

Filmmaker, theatre practitioner, and singer Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota, along with Adithya Kothakota, co-founder of the Urban Folk Project, will explore the myth of Yellamma, the deity of the devadasis and transgender disciples, through rousing folk music and thought-provoking discussions.

Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota
Shilpa Mudbi KothakotaNCPA

Day 2

Date: November 4

Venue: Godrej Dance Theatre

Session 1: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Title: Weaving and Being Woven: An Embodied Exploration

Workshop by Anitha Santhanam

Actor and dancer Anitha Santhanam will lead participants through a series of body-centered explorations rooted in the understanding of the body as a site of living wisdom, inspired by the Indian wisdom of Tantra.

Anitha Santhanam
Anitha SanthanamNCPA

Session 2: 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Title: Metre, Magic, Mother: An Introduction to Goddess Poetry Around the World

Speaker: Annie Finch

American poet and performer Annie Finch will take audiences on a whirlwind tour of goddess traditions worldwide, highlighting the interconnectedness of Metre, Magic, and Mother.

Annie Finch
Annie FinchVal Schaff

Session 3: 5:30 pm to 6:10 pm

Title: The Kingdom of Kali is Within Us Deep: The Goddess Unplugged

Speakers: Arundhathi Subramaniam, Shernaz Patel, Anahita Uberoi

Poet-curator Arundhathi Subramaniam will introduce audiences to a vibrant mosaic of goddess poems in translation from diverse parts of the Indian subcontinent while joined by theater actors Shernaz Patel and Anahita Uberoi.

Shernaz Patel
Shernaz PatelNCPA
Anahita Uberoi
Anahita UberoiNCPA

Tickets (for Session 2 & 3): Rs.200/-

'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.
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Session 4: 6:30 pm to 7:25 pm

Title: My Mother Awaits Me in the Charnel Ground: Shyama Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti

Speaker: Anol Chatterjee

Noted Hindustani vocalist Anol Chatterjee will share his passion for the Kali poems of great Bengali poets such as Ramprasad Sen, Kamalakanta Bhattacharya, and Kazi Nazrul Islam, among others, offering a dazzling weave of praise, longing, complaint, and mystic paradox.

Anol Chatterjee
Anol ChatterjeeNCPA

Session 5: 7.25 pm to 8.30 pm

Title: Garba: The Womb of the Goddess

The festival reaches its peak with the vibrant garba dance of Gujarat. Talented performers Manasi Parikh and Parthiv Gohil, along with their troupe, take the audience on an exhilarating journey through the rhythmic expressions of the Goddess. Following the performance, there will be a discussion with the musicians.

Manasi Parikh
Manasi ParikhNCPA
'GODDESS' is a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity.
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