Tabiyat Live Events

A series of Live Events were curated and organised by Rashmi Dhanwani and her team as part of Tabiyat's public programming initiative. Events reflected the diversity not only of India's health practices but also its rich variety of cultural forms. Artistes included dancers, musicians, comedians, tea connoisseurs, history enthusiasts and an incredible troupe performing Mallakhamb, Maharashtra's particular form of athletic and martial yoga. 

Singing and indian Medicine: An illustrative performance on vocal care practices in Indian art music

Neela Bhagwat and Amarendra Dhaneshwar are well-known classical Indian singers. Both vocalists have varied, intensive vocal care regimes that help them maintain their singing voice. Neela and Amarendra demonstrated the demands that are placed on the voice in Hindustani classical music and shared some of the home remedies they use to nurture and maintain their voices. A panel of Ayurveda
and Unani doctors joined in the discussion and gave the singers and audience several insights into the best ways to care for the voice
and throat. 


draupadi kuruvanchi: a kattaikuttu performance from tamil nadu

Against the backdrop of the magnificent Victorian architecture of the Prince of Wales Museum, four Kattaikuttu performers take their place on stage. The elaborate two hour long make-up ritual has its impact as the audience soaks in every dramatic detail. The actors and musicians tell the story of Draupadi disguised as a medicine woman/gypsy lady who goes undercover to stop two feuding families from eliminating each other. She travels across Hastinapura dispensing her herbal medicine to people in need, a series of animated events follow until she comes across the king’s palace where she meets the king and queen. The adventure is filled with song, dance, drama and, of course, comedy! The story is told through Kattaikuttu, a theatre of the rural people of northern Tamil Nadu, India. The group are Kattaikuttu Sangam, a performing arts organisation that ensures sustainable careers for its performers.


mallakhamb performance

Audiences at the museum were treated to Mallakhambh, a rarely seen martial art tradition of Maharashtra where gymnasts perform feats around a rope or a vertical wooden pole. Uday Deshpande, a renowned Mallkhamb practitioner and trainer, and director of Shree Samantha Vyayam Mandir, directed the awe-inspiring performance which featured Aditi Deshpande, a national champion on rope Mallakhamb. Aditi was joined by 30 Mallakhamb performers, both young and old, who were between the ages of 6 and 80 years. The performance was followed by a discussion on the martial art’s health benefits. 



Classical kathak dancer Debosmita Roy Chowdhury took the stage, performing at Cross Maidan during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Choreographed by Debashree Bhattacharya, the kathak performance included Vandana, an invocation to Agni; Dhamar, (a pure dance presentation in a 14-beat time cycle) and Tarana, a dance composition. Debosmita’s dance performance was preceded by a spoken word performance by poet Preeti Vangani. Debosmita grew up with a birth complication in her foot. She underwent various medical procedures to help her walk—and dance. Overcoming adversity, she completed 14 years of Kathak training. The prosthetics she uses includes the Jaipur Foot, which she modifies constantly to suit the complicated and vigorous movements of Indian classical dance. Debosmita’s commitment and passion showed on stage as she left the audience spellbound after a dynamic performance.


making kohl

Kohl, also known as surma or kajal, has been used since antiquity as an eye cosmetic and is used on an everyday basis by men and women alike in India. There are different, often opposing ideas about its health benefits. Our kohl-making demonstration offered people a chance to see how this extensively used product can be made.


In collaboration with the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, a royally entertained audience enjoyed an evening of comedy organized with the very talented Patchworks Ensemble. The trio wove together local histories, personal stories and of course, humour, as they diagnosed India’s healthcare problems. Anuvab Pal, Puja Sarup and Sheena Khalid performed to a packed hall. At the end of the evening everyone agreed that laughter is indeed the best medicine!


bandra and the bombay plague of 1896

Historian Shriti Tyagi led a group of incurably curious people through Bandra (a Mumbai suburb) visiting sites related to the outbreak of the Bombay Plague of 1896. Shriti revealed the many secrets of the neighbourhood and narrated accounts of the role some local churches played during the deadly outbreak. Who knew that the streets of Bandra are home to over 150 crosses? People erected these crosses where they believed evil spirits would gather, like isolated area, empty wells, or the point at where three roads met. Plague crosses were raised on streets and inside homes to drive away the evil of plague. During the outbreak, many natural cures were sought, including regularly drinking a special brew of ‘plague tea’.