Bharatanatyam dancers boycott Koodalmanikyam Temple fest protesting snub on 'Muslim' peer

Anju Aravind and Devika Sajeevan
Anju Aravind and Devika Sajeevan. Photos: Facebook

A group of Bharatanatyam dancers has decided to boycott their scheduled performances as part of the Koodalmanikyam Temple festival in solidarity with a colleague, Mansiya VP, who was snubbed for her Muslim origin.

Anju Aravind, Devika Sajeevan and Karthik Manikandan are some of the prominent dancers who have announced that they are pulling out of the event protesting the temple board's decision that has been widely criticised.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Anju Aravind gave her reasons.

"Mansiya was denied her chance for not being religious, after the temple committee, notwithstanding its 'archaic' law of not allowing non-Hindus, first accepted her invite, collected photographs and other details and even printed the programme," Anju Aravind wrote.

She said the temple authorities also forced a friend who reached out to confirm the programme to give in writing that he/she was a Hindu.

The other reasons given by Anju include previously unheard-of practices of denying a chance to prominent artists and percussionists without valid reasons.

"Like many upcoming artists, I too had applied, and even while knowing the organisers won't pay your musicians, wished to perform and practiced for it. But it has reached a point where conditions after conditions are laid out, even asking us to give in writing that we are Hindus.

"As an artist, I firmly believe art has no caste or religion. Hence, I cannot perform on that stage after declaring myself as a Hindu. Therefore, I boycott this opportunity," wrote Anju.

Devika and Karthik were unavailable for comments.

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