Temple architecture

Hindu Artists Pull Out of Temple Festival in Solidarity | Latest India News

Thiruvananthapuram: Three Hindu dancers have pulled out of a concert at the Koodalmanikayam temple in Thrissur, Kerala, in solidarity with classical dancers VP Mansiya and Soumya Sukumaran, who were dropped from the list of performers because they are not Hindus.

About 800 performers are scheduled to perform at the temple’s annual 10-day festival between April 15 and 25. Located at Irinjalakuda, 24 km from Thrissur, the Koodalmanikyam shrine is one of the largest in the state known for its imposing walls and architecture; it is believed to have been built in the years 854-55. Although the temple is dedicated to Bharata, the main idol is that of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sangameswara (Lord of Confluence). The temple is also known for its elaborate rituals and strict customs.

Mansiya, from a Muslim family in Malappuram district, is married to a Hindu and says she has no religion. In a Facebook post on March 27, Mansiya wrote that she was due to perform at the temple on April 21, but temple authorities asked her for conversion papers.

On March 28, Soumya Sukumaran, a Christian performer from Thiruvananthapuram, alleged that she was banned from performing at the Koodalmanikyam temple dance festival on religious grounds. Sukumaran, the founder and director of the Kalanjali performing arts foundation, said the committee informed her that “non-Hindus cannot perform there”.

The temple’s decision sparked a controversy, following which the state government advised the temple council to talk to all parties involved. Koodalmanikyam temple council chairman Pradeep Menon, however, maintained that temple rules only allow Hindus to perform at the shrine.

Amid widespread criticism of the move, Hindu artists Devika Sajeevan, Anju Aravind and Karthik Manikandan boycotted the event to show solidarity with their contemporaries.

“I feel the need to stand with other artists who have faced unfortunate incidents, I have chosen to refrain from doing this performance at the Koodalmanikyam dance festival to be held on April 24,” said Devika in a social media post.

Anju Aravind criticized the temple move. “I have decided not to perform at the Koodalmanikyam festival as planned on April 21. It is sad that even the accompanying artists’ religion and other details are being sought. I cannot give an affidavit saying that I am a Hindu just to play. Art forms have no religion or caste and transcend all barriers. Even at this age, some people cling to these strange customs. Therefore, I am boycotting this opportunity,” she said. posted on Facebook.

Karthik Manikandan also withdrew from the concert. “In solidarity with the artists left behind, I am also stepping down,” he said in a message.

Mansiya thanked the three dancers, saying, “For artists, art is their faith and their breath.”

Political leaders denounced the temple council’s decision. “Where is Vasudaiva Kutumbakam [the world is one family]? I believe that such a decision serves our society badly and harms the perception of our religion in the eyes of others,” said senior congressional official Shashi Tharoor.

Bharatiya Janata Party Kerala Unit Vice Chairman B Gopalakrishnan said, “Hinduism is an all-encompassing religion. We cannot close the doors to non-Hindus like that.

The secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, a religious body under the aegis of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Ramesh Koottala wrote a letter to the chairman of the temple council to revoke the decision and ensure the participation of all artists.

Meanwhile, the temple council approached the tantri (chief priest) of the temple with a request to change the age-old custom.

“We agree that these customs will have to be changed. We have already approached tantri and other priests in this regard. This is a sensitive issue and a decision can only be made with the consent of all parties involved,” Menon said. He said the ban applied to everyone, not just artists, and when doing temple work, they specifically mentioned in the quote that only workers belonging to the Hindu community would be allowed inside the temples. temple premises.