Religion no bar for Padmanur’s Yakshagana

The Yakshagana committee, with Christians and Muslims as its members, was set up in 1959.

The Yakshagana committee, with Christians and Muslims as its members, was set up in 1959.   | Photo Credit: Devananda Bhat


A multi-faith committee in this Karnataka village has organised the traditional performance for 60 years

Tiny Padmanur village, about 30 km away from Mangaluru, is abuzz with excitement ahead of its 60th annual Yakshagana performance. Across communities — Hindus, Christians and Muslims — the wait has reached fever pitch for the traditional ritual drama, scheduled for Wednesday, which this year also happens to be Christmas Day.

The popular Durgaparameshwari Dashavatara Yakshagana Mandali of Kateel, whose roots go back over a century, has been performing the show in the village. The troupe will perform the most popular ‘Devi Mahatme’ episode all night.

Christians and Muslims are mandatory members of the committee which has been hosting the annual Yakshagana performance in the village for the last 59 years.

The Yakshagana committee — officially the Sarvajanika Yakshagana Bayalata Samithi — was set up in 1959. Since then two traditions — of hosting the Yakshagana every year and Christians, Muslims and Hindus being integral members of the panel — have continued.

Joseph Quadras, a retired general manager with the Mangalore Catholic Cooperative Bank Ltd, headed the Samithi two years ago, while Satish Rao is the current president. K. A. Abul Khader, a beedi contractor, is vice-president while Prakash D’Souza is the treasurer.

“Unity, mutual respect and broad minded people are the strength of the village,” Mr Rao, the current president, told The Hindu. “We are celebrating both the Christmas and Yakshagana together this year,” he added. The committee has been celebrating Christmas since 1965 and Id Milad from 2008. It will be the 54th annual Christmas celebration. The 11th Id Milad of the committee was celebrated on November 23. The funds required for the celebrations are shared by the people irrespective of their religion. “I can’t recall any communal discord in the village during my life,” said the 56-year-old Mr. Khader. Pointing out that while the political affiliations of the villagers differed, “But there is no politics in all the celebrations,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:11:32 AM |

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