A dancer, art director, researcher and cultural activist of South Asia, Lubna Marium has a portfolio that will amaze anyone; even the most active person. Born in July 8, 1954, Lubna obtained a Bachelor degree in Sanskrit along with several other certificates. She is affiliated with 'Nrityajog', 'Nrittoshilpi Shongstha', and the International Dance Council. She actively participates in activities of various cultural organizations, and is a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research, member of South Asians for Human Rights, partner of the Indo-Bangla Cultural Initiative
Undoubtedly, I am a believer. I believe in a creative force, a creative energy – a force which is superior to this mundane world. But, I will not label myself and give it any sectarian name. I believe more in spirituality than any religious ritual. At the end of the day, there is retribution and I have to be accountable to my actions. Probably that gives me sanity and keeps me in the moral path. If I hadn't that belief I probably would've gone astray. My work has led me to learn about Indian philosophy, especially the Vedas and Buddhist philosophy. I also read a lot of Sufi and Tantric philosophy.
The real beauty of Bangladesh is plurality of beliefs. The decades it took to gain this plurality is what inspires me and is what I want to write about. I had a discussion with an American, who claimed that only in USA pure Buddhism is practiced. I told him that anything which is pure is also very intolerant. Beauty of Bangladesh is that we tolerate each other. No matter how some of our politicians want us to believe that Bangladesh is being overwhelmed with fundamentalism, I don't believe it for a second. I visit everywhere in Bangladesh and find tolerance amongst the communities in accepting plural beliefs in their midst. Therefore, my inspiration is Bangladesh.
Dance is a performance that is empowering. I want to find out how performance empowers people to think independently. Currently, I am involved with two organizations; one is Shadhona where my work is in the field of performance oriented cultural intervention. I do a lot of performance mega-productions, workshops, lecture demonstrations, trainings and festivals but it is much more than that. We are born in a structure; both human-made and natural. The only place where the structure is broken is on the stage; it is anti-structure, breaking the pattern of fixed thought. If the structure is our daily life, then the stage is extraordinary-daily life. The purpose of the stage is to make one believe that he/she is the only creature on earth who can actually feel emotions and analyse those emotions. I also run a dance school called 'Kalpataru Studio' which is a Bharatanatyam studio and recently added Manipuri and Kathak dance to our repertoire. I will not deny the traditional idiom or language needed to learn dancing. However, dance is a very creative art. Traditionally, dance in South Asia has been very imitative. Dancers try to be better than their gurus, but only within the boundaries that the gurus have taught – I don't find it a very empowering pedagogy. I want to change this custom. I want dancers to be empowered who are able create art using their body. I want them to experiment with dance, and find new ways of envisioning it.
Rabindranth Tagore is my idol. I may not get much time to read fiction, but every other day I find the time to read Tagore's writing.
Interviewed by Zia Nazmul Islam