Other States

Kolhapur varsity cancels controversial Marathi kirtankar’s talk

Nivrutti Maharaj Indurika

Nivrutti Maharaj Indurika  

Decision follows objections by rationalist outfits

A programme at Shivaji University in Kolhapur district which was to feature Marathi kirtankar (preacher) Nivrutti Maharaj Indurikar was cancelled on Friday after the event turned into a flashpoint between progressive outfits who opposed the event and right-wing outfits that supported it.

The varsity had invited Mr. Indurikar, known for addressing social issues through his kirtans (devotional songs) and sermons, and use of witty though hard-edged satire, as part of events to mark Marathi Bhasha Din (Marathi language day) which was celebrated on February 27.

Earlier on Friday, outfits led by the Kolhapur unit of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) opposed Mr. Indurikar’s event, warning that they would disrupt his programme if it took place on the varsity premises.

‘Only postponed’

However, the organisers denied that the event was ‘cancelled’ owing to any external pressure and said Mr. Indurikar’s programme was merely being deferred to a later date.

“We are only postponing this event, which had been scheduled several months ago. But this is not due to any pressure from any organisation. The preacher was short of time and he had another engagement this evening. The new schedule for Indurikar Maharaj’s programme will be announced soon,” said Praveen Kodolikar, one of the organisers.

Mr. Indurikar has been at the centre of controversy following his alleged remarks during a sermon in Ahmednagar earlier this month that intercourse by a couple on an even date would beget a male child.

The preacher’s statements has drawn the ire of several activists and rationalist outfits like the MANS, who have been clamouring for a police case to be lodged against Mr. Indurikar on grounds that his comments violated provisions of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

MANS activists claimed that it did not behove of the varsity to invite Mr. Indurikar who was known for his “derogatory remarks” on women and for his “unscientific claims”, especially on the occasion of National Science Day.

In response, right-wing outfits including the Yuva Sena (the youth wing of the Shiv Sena) backed Mr. Indurikar and said the preacher was invited to address a sermon on the occasion of Marathi language day and there were no grounds for opposing his talk.

Heated exchange

A war of words transpired between MANS activists and Yuva Sena leaders prior to the event after which both contending parties held a meeting with Dr. Devanand Shinde, the Vice-Chancellor of Shivaji University.

After the meeting, they announced that Mr. Indurikar’s programme had been postponed to a later date.

Gender rights activist and Bhumata Brigade leader Trupti Desai, too, has demanded a police case be lodged against the Marathi kirtankar despite Mr. Indurikar already issuing an apology for his remarks.

The preacher, who has a massive following in State among both men and women, has claimed that his remarks during his Ahmednagar sermon had been taken out of context.

Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare Bacchu Kadu had earlier made clear that the State government would not file a case against Mr. Indurikar as the latter was working towards enlightening people, indicating that too much fuss was being made over the preacher’s remarks.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:17:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kolhapur-varsity-cancels-controversial-marathi-kirtankars-talk/article30946830.ece

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