On the occasion of Independence Day on August 15, Google displayed a new doodle on its homepage to honour India’s struggle that freed the country from nearly two centuries of British colonial rule. The doodle, designed by Kolkata-based guest artist Sayan Mukherjee, celebrates India’s Independence Day with an illustration of the diverse dance forms in the country to signify its “cultural traditions forged in centuries of historical progress.”
Elaborating on this diverse cultural tradition of India, Google said that the country, which is home to over an estimated 1.3 billion people or one-sixth of the total global population, is characterised by thousands of distinct languages and ethnic groups within its borders. “Indians across the subcontinent’s 29 states celebrate their freedom and multicultural spirit with customs such as traditional dance performances, which vary depending on regional culture,” it said.
The Google doodle, illustrated by Mukherjee, showcases these diverse forms of dance. The artwork portrays the classical tradition of Bharatnatyam (on the far left), the oldest Indian dance style in India with origins stretching back 3,000 years in Tamil Nadu. Depicted on the far right, the masked reenactments from Indian epics known as Chhau dance have origins in the eastern states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
“Happy Independence Day, India!” Google wrote in its statement.
Speaking on the doodle, artist Sayan Mukherjee said that when he was first approached, he started thinking about India’s rich heritage, culture, and tradition. “Since India is such a vast country with such a diverse population, there is only one thing that holds all of us together and that is our unity in diversity,” he said. “I tried to capture that from the doodle.”