E. Krishna Iyer

E. Krishna Iyer

Views: 3060

Category: Art

E. Krishna Iyer Profile

  • Name:
  • E. Krishna Iyer
  • Born:
  • August 9, 1897

E. Krishna Iyer Biography

E. Krishna Iyer was a lawyer, freedom-fighter, classical artist and activist. He popularized bharatnatyam, a classical dance form of south India. He was born on August 9, 1897 in Kallidaikurichi, Madras Presidency and died in 1968 aged 71. For his efforts to popularize Bharatnatyam, he was given Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship by Sangeet Natak Akademi.


Krishna Iyer completed his schooling at Ambasamudram High School and later graduated from Madras Christian College.  He joined a theater group as an artist and acted in female roles. In those days, men used to play female roles too, as women were not allowed to work in drama. He studied Carnatic music also. Later he studied law at Madras Law College and has practised at the Madras High Court till 1943. He was an active member of the Indian National Congress during 1930’s and has participated in freedom struggle movement. He popularized the songs written by Subrahmanya Bharathy during this time.


He joined a theatrical company called Suguna Vilasa Sabha and it proved to be the turning point of his career. By incidence he happened to learn sadir a little bit. Sadir is a sensuous and less respectful form of Bharatnatyam practised by devadasis (courtesans). He began to understand the greatness of this art and decided to revive this art form from dying. Stigma and disrespect were mainly due to its association with courtesans. Krishna Iyer founded the Madras Music Academy and teamed with Rukmini Devi Arundale to play his better part to save this traditional art form from dying.


During 1930’s, attempts were made to abolish Devdasi system. Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first woman to be elected to the Madras Legislative Council was the person behind this effort. So, she desired to put an end to this art form associated with Devadasi system too. Krishna Iyer vehemently protested against this movement demanding to give this art form due respect. Thus in 1932, Madras Music Academy renamed it as "Bharatanatyam" or Indian dance. He even took efforts to bring brahmin girls to learn and practice this dance form.

Published: N/A

Updated: January 08, 2014


Famous People: By Profession

Suggest Manav Gupta profile update

captcha image (Can't see? refresh)