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May 15, 2012

We may have won the battle but the war is far from over.

The international issue of the Leela Samson saga - though catalysed through our online petition between May 1 to 12 - is now in the offices and desktops of the ministers and bureaucrats in New Delhi. The next phase of this struggle will not be conducted or won on the internet but in the corridors of power. Meanwhile, there are enough enemies of Leela Samson gathering and sharpening knives to ensure there are the inevitable delays and "snafus" to her reinstatement.

Caste, community, religion and social status were all issues that were thrown up in this debate. All totally unnecessary but all which served to remind us that however far we think we have progressed, some thorns still continue to protrude from our sides.

Meanwhile, we can take heart that the collective voices of a global community was heard and that the immediate purpose of all the signatures was achieved. Rarely has such unity been heard and felt within the dance community and outside. Rarely has dance actually occupied centre stage at any moment and grabbed the headlines.

I received many hate and love mails. Significantly, some dancers - all based in New Delhi - warned me about taking sides and suggesting that my own prospects on a national stage may be jeopardised. Little do they know about how I have crafted a career largely OUTSIDE state patronage. It has felt so wonderful to be at the helm of a significant moment in dance history.

Continue with your wonderful and mostly dysfunctional lives. Dancers are not normal beings. It is the rough and jagged edges of our minds and bodies that make us significant to ourselves and to those who love us and the art we create.

Anita Ratnam
Coonoor, Kodaikanal, Sydney