A Milestone Crossed In Montpellier

Montpellier, a picturesque little town in the south of France, hosts one of the most important international dance festivals annually. This year the festival had some vivid Indian overtones, though this was not the first time Indian dance had found place in it. So it should not have been a surprise to come across someone wearing typically Tamilian sparkling diamond-earrings. But what were the todu-s doing, sparkling on the ears of a tall stately European girl with a fashionable sailor's white dress? Her teeth sparkled too. She said: "You must be Madame Devika." Suddenly I recognized her. She was Dr. Saskia Kersenboom from the Netherlands, author of Sitya Sumangali, a book on the devadasi tradition in India. The book reflects a humane understanding and deep respect for the tradition and also hard work. The woman who wrote it embodies these qualities.