Yakshagana melas set to wind up daily performances in coastal belt

With the monsoon set to begin, the touring troupes of Yakshagana theatre, popularly called as melas, will wind up their daily performances in the coastal belt within the next 10 days.

When the troupes resume their daily performances from this November, a recent circular from the State government on obtaining permission from designated authorities for using loudspeakers is likely to haunt them.

A majority of over 40 such melas will pack up on ‘Pattanaje Day’ (May 24), which signifies the end of the festival season in the coastal belt. People concentrate on farming activities later.

The troupes are completing their about six-month ‘tirugata’ (tour) for the 2022-23 season (from December to May) without much hassles like the previous two seasons, where the COVID-19 lockdowns came in the way of their daily performances and the income of all stakeholders.

The May 10 circular of the government said that loudspeakers without permission from designated authorities would be removed. It cited the decibel levels for residential, commercial, and industrial areas as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The circular by the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment came after Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar sent a note to the department.

The note said that Rule 5 (2) bars the use of loudspeaker or public address system or any sound-producing instrument at night time except in closed premises, subject to other conditions.

“The Chief Minister has directed that the rules and the Karnataka Government Order of August 13, 2002, shall be strictly implemented henceforth. All users of loudspeakers or public address systems should obtain written permission from the designated authority within 15 days,” the note said.

The managers of Yakshagana melas are now particularly worried over the Rule 5 (2) as all daily Yakshagana shows are held openly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. by using loudspeakers.

Keremane Shivananda Hegde, a senior artiste who manages Indagunji Mahaganapathi Yakshagana Mandali, a repertory established in 1934 at Gunavanthe in Uttara Kannada, said that he felt that the circular should not come in the way of presenting cultural programmes like Yakshagana. If the government strictly implemented it the melas will be in trouble.

Chairman of Karnataka Yakshagana Academy G. L. Hedge told The Hindu that the academy will take up the matter with the government on behalf of the melas before they resumed their next tour.

The academy will submit a representation to the government drawing its attention on the issues involved as Yakshagana performances depend on loudspeakers to reach audience.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2022 6:29:27 pm |