58 May/June 2014 | BethesdaMagazine.com
related As told to Anya Grenier WORK
I was born in 1944 in Peshawar.
Culturally it was a very Muslim area.
Then the partition [of India] came
in August 1947 and it became Pakistan. We were minority Hindus in that
region. My father never thought we
would have to leave, but things began
to deteriorate and he sent us to India,
thinking the family would come back
when things were less rowdy. That day
We went from living a very indulged
childhood to all living in one room in
By the time I was 13, everyone was
saying, “Marriage, marriage, marriage.”
All I had in my head was “dance, dance,
dance.” My father got sick and was bed-
ridden, so I would get up and work at
a school and come back to nurse him.
In the evening, I would go to the dance
Nilimma Devi, 69,
founder of the Sutradhar
Institute of Dance & Related
Arts in Silver Spring