Kozhikode

Resist regressive forces, artists told

Actors Mamukkoya and Nilambur Ayisha, writer U.A. Khader, and district panchayat president Babu Parassery at the inauguration of a State-level arts festival organised by the Kerala State Literacy Mission in Kozhikode on Wednesday; and (below) Yamuna, a 66-year-old Bharatanatyam dancer, with Student Police Cadets at the festival.

Actors Mamukkoya and Nilambur Ayisha, writer U.A. Khader, and district panchayat president Babu Parassery at the inauguration of a State-level arts festival organised by the Kerala State Literacy Mission in Kozhikode on Wednesday; and (below) Yamuna, a 66-year-old Bharatanatyam dancer, with Student Police Cadets at the festival.   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH

Three-day State-level arts festival organised by Kerala State Literacy Mission begins

There was a time in Kerala, not very long ago, when a simple handshake between a man and a woman was considered anathema. Though our society has come a long way from there, some recent incidents make us think if we are going back to those dark days, writer U.A. Khader has said.

Inaugurating a State-level arts festival organised by the Kerala State Literacy Mission here on Wednesday, he said people might think twice now before shaking hands or expressing friendship. “A boy studying in a premier school in Thiruvananthapuram had to face disciplinary action for hugging a girl student. He was just congratulating her for her stage performance. Though the girl was asked by the school authorities to give a statement against him, she refused it. Action was taken against her too,” Mr. Khader said.

He pointed out that people like veteran actor Nilambur Ayisha, who was also on the stage, had to incur the wrath of fundamentalists for acting in plays and appearing on public platforms. “If we are seeing a coming back of such dark forces, it is a cause for concern. The effort is to curb creative freedom.”

Mr. Khader said some forces were trying to tell us what we should write, what kind of movies we should watch. It would not have been possible for M.T. Vasudevan Nair to pen Nirmalyam today, as the protagonist is seen spitting on an idol in the climax. “People are being divided into various compartments these days, on the basis of caste, religion, community, etc. We need to contemplate how darkness entered into our minds. Artists and writers should respond to this crisis,” he added.

Echoing Mr. Khader’s words, actor Mamukkoya said that though literacy levels were on the rise in Kerala, “cultural levels” were going down the drain. “UA [Mr. Khader] spoke about the difficulties Ms. Ayisha had to face. I don’t think such regressive forces have vanished. They are still there,” he said.

People were being tortured in the name of caste, religion and even food. Those who resist this were being silenced. Those who refuse to be silenced were being killed, he added.

As many as 1,400 people from across the State, including transgenders, pursuing various equivalency courses offered by the literacy mission are participating the three-day festival. Migrant labourers too will perform on the stage.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 12:17:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/resist-regressive-forces-artists-told/article22291208.ece

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