Dayanidhi Das
“When I started teaching Odissi at Kala Vikas Kendra in 1952, Shri Dayanidhi Das
accompanied us in the class on the Tabla. I knew Dayanidhi Das much before the started
teaching Odissi at Kala Vikas Kendra.
Dayanidhi Bhai, as I fondly addressed him, was part of an amateur drama group along
with Sharada Prasanna Nayak and others. These dramas were presented at the Annapurna B
Theatres where I looked after the stage management. That is wehre I befriended Dayanidhi
Bhai. Our friendship blossomed during our days at Kala Vikas Kendra.
Those were the days when Cuttack was witnessing a resurgence of cultural activities;
specially in classical art (Tabla, Sitar and Vocal). With the help of Babulal Doshi I began the
very first Odissi classes as a course of study in Cuttack. Babulal Doshi played an important
role in reviving the ‘classical atmosphere’ in Cuttack. He started Kala Vikas Kendra, the one
and only Institution in Cuttack that promoted dance as well as music. His home was the centre
where all artists got together and discussions were held on various topics. Dayanidhi Bhai and
I were part of these early morning meetings at Babu Lal Doshi’s place. We mainly met to think
of ways to initiate students into learning classical dance and music. The entire endeavour was
towards creating an awareness amongst people to come out of their homes and become part
of the ‘classical’ cultural atmosphere that had starrted in Cuttack at that time. The parents
mainly needed assurance of their wards’ safety and security. They demanded that the students
be picked up and dropped at homes. Nilamadhab Bose and Bhuvananand Das took up this
responsibility. They would like the students to their respective homes in the evenings after
dance and music lessons got over.
Everybody dreamt of making a success of Kala Vikas Kendra, therefore worked towards
it. Gradually with the efforts of Dayanidhi Das, Baikunth Nath Mohanty, Nilamadhab Bose,
Bhuvananand Das, Gorachand Mishra, Dhira Biswal, Pranay Bhushan Chandra, mine and
others, Kala Vikas Kendra became the hub of classical arts and the place was flooded with somany students that Kala Vikas Kendra shifted to a bigger place at Ganga Mandir from Odia
Bazar. More artists joined us here like Kelucharan Mohapatra (dance), Balakrushna Dash
(Vocal), Madhusudan Ghosh (Sitar). Kala Vikas Kendra was creating history by presenting
many cultural programmes. We went out of Orissa for the first time in 1953 when we received
an invitation to present cultural evening in Patna. Dayanidhi bhai accompanied my Odissi
students on the table. My student Sadhna Bose presented Dashavatar dance piece that was so
well appreciated that KVK presented me with a wrist-watch in appreciation. Odissi dance had
started gaining popularly. The dance was graceful, with classical elements and the music,
On our return to Cuttack we felt that Odissi should be taught on a prescribed syllabud.
This was in 1954, Dayanidhi Bhai came forward to help in doing so. So he sat along with me
and Kelucharan Mohapatra and we chalked out the very first syllabus of Odissi dance. A big
credit for this goes to Dayanidhi bhai. A proficient table player, Dayanidhi bhai had very good
knowledge of Kathak and in 1961 he passed the Kathak examinations of Bhatkhande Sangeet
Vidyapeeth. He was also a member of the Kala Vikas Kendra research team that went to
Sambalpur to to document tribal and folk dances. Dayanidhi Das was very eager to take
forward and promote dance and music, therefore when we formed Jayantika Association in
1959 for the codification and promotion of Odissi dance he became its secretary and worked
tirelessly along with other Gurus and scholars. Like all of us he too was elated when Odissi
dance was finally recognised as a classical dance at national level.
Dayanidhi bhai was very fond of children. In early 50s, PSP political party published a
newspaper in Odia language named Krishak. Dayanidhi Bhai wrote a column for children in
this. He answered children’s questions on various topics as their ‘Madhu Aja’ (Madhu grandpa).
This column was very popular amongst children.
Dayanidhi bhai was very simple in his habits. He was a teetotaler. He was very particular
of hygiene and clearliness; therefore did not like to eat outside. Once we went out to breakfast
at railway station. He was not satisfied with any of the tiffin-stalls; so he made me walk for 1
mile till finally we came across a small place where all the eatables were stored very neatly in
glass cases. He said, “Mayadhar, see how well they cook and store things here”. Theis is how
particular he was of what he ate.I  always remember Dayanidhi bhai with great affection. Whenever we record or document
facts on Odissi dance the name of Dayanidhi Das is always taken with great respect. My
daughter Madhumita has written about him and published his protograph in her book Odissi”–
History, Technique and Evolution. In 1960s all the Gurus took up teaching assignments and got
settled in their respective jobs. Dayanidhi bhai also joined an academic school and settled
down as a teacher. I shifted to Delhi in late 60s; Jayantika association is now being managed
by my daughter and senior students in Delhi.
I last met Dayanidhi bhai in 1978 at a seminar on Odissi dance organised in Bhubaneswar
by Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi. This gave us a great opportunity to reminiscence about old
times over a sumptuous meal at his residence. While writing this I went down the memory lane;
it feels as if it was just yesterday that I shared the morning tifin with Dayanidhi bhai.
as told to Madhumita
                 by *Padmashri* Guru Mayadhara rout

Dayanidhi Das was highly educated among all the dance teachers in the beginning of 19th century Due to his wiseness and vision Odissi dance got revived .As the general secretary of jayantika he assembled all the dance gurus to conduct reaserch in Odissi dance.He was a very good kathak dance teacher along with Odissi dance

Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi.

Dhayanidhi Smruti Kala Parishada and its
founder, GURU DAYANIDHI DAS, one of the many self made artists, dancers and
musicians all rolled in one, who have dedicated their entire life to the cause of
Odissi dance, but have hardly received any recognition so far.
                             Ileana Citaristi