Indu Mitha has championed the classical performance art of bharatanatyam as a teacher to thousands of students across Pakistan, and a supportive mother to Tehreema Mitha, who is the torchbearer of her school. With each passing decade, their contribution to the Pakistani classical art has further deepened our understanding and expanded our compassion.
Originally from Lahore, Indu Mitha trained in the traditional dance form in Delhi and Madras. She completed her MA in philosophy from Delhi University in 1951. Her late husband, Maj Gen A.O. Mitha, celebrated her talent and encouraged her to perform, teach, and practice.
This bharatnatyam tradition has been difficult to establish in Pakistan, as many have tried to disassociate themselves from its origins. The dance form dates back 2,000 years.
Indu Mitha’s tenacity and passion for keeping the tradition of classical dance alive in Pakistan shows the respect for cultural heritage. A recent documentary was released which captured Indu Mitha’s last performance.
In the documentary Indu shared her experience as a classical dance teacher She said that teaching had been a force of change and progress in society. She encouraged her students to go beyond tradition and find their own paths so that dance may live forever.
Indu is one of the few gems we are left with in our country. She has been resilient. During the Zia period and worked with the Women Action Forum for many years. Despite all the hardships she didn’t lose hope. Indu has given 40 years of her life to classical dance culture of Pakistan and in return we have given her almost no spotlight and recognition.