Kerala

Campaign for Kithaab takes off

Victim of intolerance: Memunda High School has decided not to participate in the drama competition after Kithab ran into opposition from Muslim groups.  

Notwithstanding the decision of the Memunda Higher Secondary School authorities to backtrack from the drama competition at the State School Arts Festival, cultural activists have sought the Education Department’s intervention to stage Kithaab, which won the first prize at the Kozhikode district school arts festival. The State festival starts on Friday.

Theatre and cultural activists had earlier criticised the school authorities after they decided not to stage Kithaab that incurred the wrath of Muslim groups.

School criticised

A. Santha Kumar, playwright, wrote in Facebook that “the school has washed its hands of by withdrawing the play and surrendered to the diktats of religious leaders. They have also isolated the author of the play Rafeeq Mangalassery.”

On Wednesday, he asked why those who speak volumes about “renaissance values” were silent about the isolation of Mr. Mangalassery at the hands of “minority fundamentalism”.

When people like Sunil P. Elayidom and Sunny M. Kapikkadu received threats, many spoke in their support, he says.

“Why are those who are vocal about the plays of K.T. Mohammed, V.T. Bhattathirippad and K. Damodaran during the social renaissance period not even writing a small note for the playwrights being haunted,” he asks.

Signature campaign

Another group, led by award-winning cinematographer Prathap Joseph, have started a signature campaign on the social media, claiming that the withdrawal of the play was a “threat to renaissance values and freedom of expression”. Theatre activists too have come up with a joint statement.

However, P.K. Krishnadas, principal of the school, told The Hindu that they decided not to stage any play as the conditions which forced them to backtrack were still there.

“It was difficult to find a new script and train students within such a short span of time. Kithaab was the result of around three months of training. Finding a new script and staging it was not easy,” he said.

Mr. Krishnadas said those who opposed the play were not even ready to let the school perform it with changes. “They are behaving as if they have scored over us and we have surrendered before them,” he added.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Elippetti of Thiruvangoor Higher Secondary School, which won the second prize at the district school arts festival, will compete at the State School Arts Festival.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 10:27:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cultural-activists-launch-campaign-for-kithaab/article25672943.ece

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