Kerala University Syndicate member P.S. Sreekala has clarified that her request to make CD of recorded music compulsory for all dance items instead of using artistes for background music was accompanied by a copy of a State Schools Arts Festival circular in which it was clearly stated that Kathakali and related items be excluded from this regulation.
The clarification assumes significance in the wake of the University of Kerala authorities making it known that the order for using CD for all dance items, including Kathakali, Ottanthullal, and Chakyarkoothu, was based on a similar order for the State Schools Arts Festival.
Ms. Sreekala told The Hindu that she had included a copy of the school festival order of 2008 in her petition to Vice-Chancellor (in charge) of the University of Kerala K.M. Abraham. “What I had in my mind is that at least Rs.1.5 lakh is spent by each student on one dance item. It may be twice that amount or even three times if the student participates in two or three dance items. This is a burden on poor students,” she said.
However, Ms. Sreekala said, the university order had made CD of recorded music compulsory for all dance items, including Kathakali and related items. This had led to a majority of the participants boycotting both the Kathakali and the Ottanthullal contests at the University Youth Festival here on Thursday. The Kathakali event had to be cancelled, and only a few contestants participated in Ottanthullal.
University Pro Vice-Chancellor J. Prabhash told The Hindu that the university had issued the orders on the basis of the State Schools Arts Festival order. The university took such a decision for the sake of poor students. “There was a demand from a group of students,” he said.
“The order issued by the Vice-Chancellor on February 7 was announced in all newspapers and media,” he said.