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Rukmini Devi Arundale was born on February 29 1904 in Madras Presidency, Tamil Nadu. She died on February 24, 1986. She is a follower of theosophy and brought about the Renaissance of the Bharatanatyam dance form. She is the founder of Kalakshetra foundation in Madras which aimed at popularizing Bharatanatyam and other traditions. Her father was Indian Sanskrit scholar and historian, Neelkanth Shastri and mother’s name was Seshammal. She belongs to an upper class Brahmin family. Her father was associated with theosophical society, a spiritual organisation whose headquarters was in Madras and was founded in New York city. Arundale was greatly influenced as a young woman not only by her father but also by Annie Besant. She married George Arundale in 1920. She travelled with her husband and Besant on various theosophical offical missions. During her travels, she got interested with classical dance. She was the first woman in Indian history to join the Rajya Sabha. The Devadasis was the establishment of traditional Indian arts and crafts. She worked on Bharatanatyam which was considered as a vulgar art. She removed the the inherent eroticism of Bharatnatyam to make it suitable for the Victorian British morality and Indian upper caste societies. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956 and the Sangeet Natak academi fellowship in 1967.

Padma Bhushan (1956)
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1957)
Desikothama (1972), Viswa Bharati University
1967 Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship
Prani Mitra (1968), Friend of All Animals, (Animal Welfare Board of India)
Queen Victoria Silver Medal, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, London
Kalidas Samman (1984), Govt of Madhya Pradesh
Addition to the roll of honour by The World Federation for the Protection of animals, The Hague
Honorary Doctorate, Wayne State University, United States
Scrolls of Honour, County and City of Los Angeles


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