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Kashmir, Ram Mandir, religious topics taboo at Pune college fest

To maintain social harmony, the organisers have decided not to permit entries with subjects like Jammu & Kashmir and Article 370. Picture shows a jawan in a deserted street after the scrapping of Article 370 in Srinagar.

To maintain social harmony, the organisers have decided not to permit entries with subjects like Jammu & Kashmir and Article 370. Picture shows a jawan in a deserted street after the scrapping of Article 370 in Srinagar.  

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Popular competition prohibits ‘sensitive’ subjects

The organisers of ‘Firodiya Karandak’, a popular inter-collegiate drama competition, have decided not to allow plays dealing with “sensitive” subjects such as Babri Masjid, Article 370, Hindu-Muslim relations or caste dynamics.

The annual competition, which began over four decades ago and always draws a full house, will be held in the first week of February. Rules for the event were released on Wednesday.

“To maintain social harmony and law and order, the organisers, from this year, have decided not to permit entries with sensitive subjects like Hindu-Muslim (sic), Jammu & Kashmir, Article 370, India-Pakistan, Ram Mandir and Babri Masjid or subjects that comment on any caste or religion,” said a rule. If a group presents a play on any such subject, it would be disqualified, the rules warned.

Chief organiser of the competition, Ajinkya Kulkarni, said, “Being too young and amateur, participants do not have the knowledge and the depth required to handle such sensitive issues. Students are unaware of consequences if something unwarranted is said on this platform, which has a certain legacy, and as organisers, the responsibility lies with us.”

The rules do not say that a play should not mention a particular religion, but it must not create ill-feelings against any religion, he said. Firodiya Karandak is a platform for showcasing artistic talent and not political leanings, Mr. Kulkarni said.

“In the past three or four years, we saw that participants came with subjects which have been done do death, commenting on religious and caste lines,” he said. Generally, students favour subjects related to current issues in the country, he said.

“My question to students is, are farmer suicides, drought, economy, unemployment, quality of education not current issues? Why do only subjects with comment on religion and caste interest them?” Mr. Kulkarni said. A bar against a few “sensitive” issues was not curtailment of students’ freedom of expression, he argued.

The competition’s format allows presentation of a hodge-podge act combining theatre, music and other fine arts.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:13:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-ram-mandir-religious-topics-taboo-at-pune-college-fest/article30283421.ece

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