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Weeklong national theatre festival gets under way

Special Correspondent
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The essence of life and culture has been sapped with the destruction of water bodies: Ananthamurthy

Start:Minister S.A. Ramdas and Jnanpith award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy offering floral tributes to Rangayana’s founder-director B.V. Karanth at the inauguration of the Bahuroopi theatre festival in Mysore on Tuesday.— Photo: M.A. Sriram
Start:Minister S.A. Ramdas and Jnanpith award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy offering floral tributes to Rangayana’s founder-director B.V. Karanth at the inauguration of the Bahuroopi theatre festival in Mysore on Tuesday.— Photo: M.A. Sriram

The national theatre festival, Bahuroopi, organised by Rangayana, got under way in the city on Tuesday with Jnanpith award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy delving into cultural connotation of water and environment in India’s classical and folk traditions and its impact on society.

Referring to the current state of affairs in the country and drawing a correlation between water as elixir of life and culture, Dr. Ananthamurthy regretted that the growing incidence of violence and atrocities against women was symptomatic of the “dilution of cultural values” and this was epitomised by the brutality of the recent gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi.

The theme of this year’s Bahuroopi festival is Jeeva-Jala-Jeevana, and Dr. Ananthamurthy spoke about abuse of water through environmental vandalism and juxtaposed it with the crime against women.

“Our ancestors had respect for life and environment. Even during the British days they made provision for water for birds and animals as also for human consumption and created water bodies. But the present politicians have encouraged encroachment of water bodies and converted them into sites while rivers and lakes have become polluted as effluents are drained into them,” he said.

“With the destruction of water bodies, the essence of life and culture has been sapped. This trend has to be reversed if violence and crime against women is to be stemmed,” he added.

Minister for Medical Education S.A. Ramdas spoke on the importance of the theme in the present context of growing water scarcity and the imperatives of forethought in its conservation.

Ranganaya director B.V. Rajaram and its former director Chidambararao Jambe were among those present.

Twenty-one plays will be staged during the festival which will conclude on January 14. A slew of seminars, street plays, book exhibition showcasing 1,000 Kannada drama books, photo and film exhibition, art exhibition and workshops will also be held.

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