11 May, 2021

The Dancer Of Kannur

In his compelling new book the acclaimed travel writer, explores the worlds of people deeply engaged with the sacred in a fast changing India.

S. Gautham
The Dancer Of Kannur
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In his compelling new book, Nine Lives, William Dalrymple, acclaimed travel writer, historian and observer of this country for the past 25 years, explores the worlds of people deeply engaged with the sacred in a fast changing India. He delves into the lives of nine seemingly ordinary but remarkable individuals, among them Hari Das, a prison warden transformed into a deity incarnate for two months every year. This exclusive extract tells his extraordinary story:

In the midnight shadows of a forest clearing, bounded on one side by a small stream and a moonlit paddy field, and on the other by the darkness of a rubber plantation and a green canopy of coconut palms, lit only by a bonfire and a carpet of flickering camphor lights, a large crowd has gathered, silhouetted against the flames. Most have walked many miles through the darkness to get here. They are waiting and watching for the moment when, once a year, the gods come down to earth, and dance.

For 20 minutes now, a troupe of six sweat-glistening,...

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