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Protesting Rangayana artistes to observe ‘black day’ today

Special Correspondent
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Prominent personalities condemn decision to depute artistes to other units

Up in arms:Members of Sahiti-Kalavidara Okkoota continue their protest in Mysore on Tuesday.— Photo: M.A. Sriram
Up in arms:Members of Sahiti-Kalavidara Okkoota continue their protest in Mysore on Tuesday.— Photo: M.A. Sriram

The indefinite strike by artistes, under the banner of Sahiti-Kalavidara Okkoota (forum of writers and artistes), to protest against the deputation of 12 Rangayana artistes to the Dharwad and Shimoga units continued on Tuesday. The members decided to observe ‘black day’ on Wednesday to coincide with World Theatre Day. The artistes will stage programmes at Vanaranga on the Rangayana premises from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

It was learnt that the 12 artistes reported for duty at the respective Rangayana centres on Tuesday as the Department of Kannada and Culture had threatened to suspend them if they did not do so. Ramachandraganga, one of the artistes, who confirmed the news to The Hindu , said the artistes had, however, applied for leave for an indefinite period and were on their way back to Mysore. They will join the stir on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the striking artistes have garnered more support from theatre lovers and prominent citizens.

‘Breaking up the unit’

President of the Kannada Development Authority Mukhyamantri Chandru issued a press statement that “dividing” the group of established artistes was tantamount to “breaking up” a cohesive unit. The artistes had worked as a professional team for 25 years and their deputation was in no way justified.

Mr. Chandru said that B.V. Karanth, founder of Rangayana, had brought in artistes from various parts of the State and trained them to perform as a team. Directors of Rangayana such as Prasanna, Chidambara Rao Jambe and C. Basavalingaiah and Lingadevaru Halemane nurtured the artistes. Mr. Chandru said that efforts were needed to retain the team and aid the development of the repertory here.

Jnanpith Award winner and Chancellor of the Central University of Karnataka U.R. Ananthamurthy, in a letter to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, a copy of which was released to the press, decried the decision to depute the artistes from the Mysore Rangayana to the other units. The artistes were senior and experts in their own field and they should be sent to other centres as visiting faculty, Mr. Ananthamurthy said. There was no other professional body like the Mysore Rangayana in the State, he said.‘Not a wise decision’

A.H. Vishwanath, MP, has also extended support to the striking artistes. Mr. Vishwanath, in a press release, said that deputation of the artistes was not a wise decision and there was a dire need to save the Rangayana from the “vice-like grip” of certain officials. The autonomy of Rangayana should to be retained at any cost, Mr. Vishwanath said.

Mr. Vishwanath, who was busy electioneering, said that he would meet the artistes ,writers and others in this regard as soon as he arrived in Mysore. He would also write to the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary of the Department of Kannada and Culture to sort out the matter.

Theatre lovers and some councillors of the Mysore City Corporation also extended their support to the artistes who have been staging shows and singing ‘ranga geete’ outside the Rangayana premises since March 24.


  • Deputed artistes report for work at other units, but they applied for leave and will join stir today

  • Vishwanath says he will write to Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to the department


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