The rhythm and music of Bharatanatyam reverberated at the UN headquarters as renowned Indian classical dancer Aishwaryaa R Dhanush performed here on the occasion of International Women’s Day, celebrating womanhood and underscoring the message of gender equality through her recital.
Aishwaryaa, who is a UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India, performed at the special Women’s Day event organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Wednesday evening.
The filmmaker-dancer enthralled the audience with her performance of the ‘Bho Sambho’, a vibrant opening sequence in honor of the Lord of the Dance ‘Nataraj’ or Lord Shiva. A beautiful rendition through Bharatanatyam of legendary Carnatic vocalist MS Subbulakshmi’s iconic song ‘Maithreem Bhajata’ brough the curtains down on the evening’s commemoration of the International Women’s Day.
The event was attended by top UN leaders and diplomats, including UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said.
Addressing the audience, India’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said the event aims to “showcase how modernity and tradition can work hand in hand to celebrate the contribution of women to our society.”
Aishwaryaa said it is an “extreme honour” for her to perform at the UN and celebrate womanhood on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
“Women should be fearless. Things are progressing, they are slow but steady and by 2030 we would have a planet 50-50.
It is a very collective effort and each and every person has to start thinking that it is they who will make the change,” she told PTI in her message on the occasion.
Akbaruddin said the event is to applaud achievements of women and recognize the change they have brought in society in making the world a better place with their actions.
He, however, noted that despite the progress in improving the situation of women, challenges of globalization, digital innovation, structural barriers continue to impede efforts towards bridging the gender gap. Noting that Indian diplomat Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was among the only three women since 1955 to be elected President of the General Assembly, he said there is still some way to go to ensure more women assume such leadership roles.
He pointed out that as a country with 500 million women, India faces challenges and still has a long way to go in the sphere of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Aishwaryaa was accompanied by her guru Indian classical dancer Meenakshi Chitharanjan, who explained the story behind the Bharatanatyam dances performed by her.
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(With inputs from PTI)