Andhra Pradesh: Professional dancer turns aqua-farmer

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Mr Bhaskar also plans to improve his dance institute and wants to set a world record with 500 dancers, as a tribute to his late guru.

ANANTAPUR: Vijaya Bhaskar, Perini Siva Tandavam specialist and student of noted dance guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, is contributing to this motherland as an aqua-farmer.

Mr Bhaskar has been a professional dancer of international standing for over three decades and has performed in 24 American states; but he decided to return to his roots in Rayalaseema, in keeping with his mother’s wishes, and has taken on a new occupation. Three days ago, he was recognised as the best farmer at a programme held at Bheemavaram.

Mr Bhaskar leased out 100 acres of land near Kallumadi in Singanamala mandal five years ago, from the grandson of former President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy. “I learnt Perini Siva Tandavam under Master Nataraja Shivaramakrishna for over five years before becoming a professional artist. Perini is a dance form that originated in the 12th Century, during the Kakatiya Era, and is especially meant for male dancers,” he said, adding that he had spent almost three decades performing in Hyderabad and on tours.

“Five years ago when I came to Anantapur, my mother was of poor health and she asked me to stay here until her demise. That changed my perspective, and I decided to stay and establish an aqua-farming practice in the drought-hit region of Rayalaseema,” he said.

Although aqua farming requires an extremely small amount of water as compared to paddy cultivation, farmers in the region were not willing to take the risk of attempting it. The dancer-turned-farmer has successfully been practising aquaculture over the past five years using the available water resources, and over 50 acres of land have been converted into fish ponds.

“Nothing is wasted in nature; we only need to learn to tap resources properly. Now I am in the process of creating awareness among farmers, teaching them how to keep their fears aside and practice aquaculture. The district administration should encourage farmers to venture into such new avenues, in order to improve the economic conditions of farmers in our region,” 54 year old Bhaskar said.

Many entrepreneurs and software engineers in the district have also expressed an interest in taking up aquaculture and trade. Mr Bhaskar also plans to improve his dance institute and wants to set a world record with 500 dancers, as a tribute to his late guru.

He enthusiastically describes how soldiers would participate in a Perini Siva Tandavam before going to war, and how he wants to continue that tradition by training soldiers all over the country. “I had sent a letter to the defence minister during the Congress regime, but never received a response. This dance would undoubtedly help our army,” he said. Apart from dancing and farming, Mr Bhaskar is also an artist and graphic designer, and has worked on two Hindi serials.

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