Dhrupad of Destruction


Dhrupad of Destruction

I see Nataraja dancing on a lofty hill, to the sound of crushing ice,
Melting glaciers and rising seas. Primordial forces unleashed.
From the dark corners of the earth, I hear the eternal rumble of Chaos
As humanity is trapped in a dark cave of ignorance, deadly indifference
And lowly greed. The alap goes on slowly, inexorably, towards its end.
The vibrations of the singer’s voice reverberate in my soul as the image
Presaging world destruction comes into my mind.
Carbon emissions, global warmth, floods and drowning cities.
Is it the beginning of the end? Pollution and the dark miasma of clouds,
Dark and deadly covering our beloved earth…
We sing to you! Save us from our folly, and as the alap
Continues, I am lost in a trance of dark powerful music, I pray
For wisdom to preserve our gentle rolling hills, our forests,
Our flowing sacred rivers, and the smiling child that lives within us.
We sing to you! Save us from our folly…



Dhrupad: the oldest vocal style in Indian classical music.

Nataraja: the eternal dancer of creation, conservation and destruction in Hindu mythology.

Alap: the improvised precursor to a raga in Indian classical music.


Savitri Sawhney is a retired paediatrician and an active essayist, poet and biographer. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but is now based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of I Shall Never Ask for Pardon, the memoir of an Indian freedom fighter. Her two loves are her family and India, her ancestral home.