Kerala Temple Cancels 'Non-Hindu' Bharatanatyam Dancer's Performance

A PhD scholar in Bharatanatyam, Mansiya had previously faced the disapproval of Islamic clerics.

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Bharatanatyam dancer Mansiya VP, who was born and brought up as a Muslim, alleged that the Koodalmanikyam temple at Irinjalakuda in Kerala's Thrissur district had cancelled her dance programme scheduled to be held on its premises, citing that she's a "non-Hindu."

A PhD research scholar in Bharatanatyam, Mansiya had previously faced the disapproval and boycott of Islamic clerics for being a performing artiste of classical dance forms.

Mansiya stated in a Facebook post that her dance programme was slated to be held on the temple premises on 21 April.

"One of the temple office-bearers informed me that I cannot perform at the temple as I am a non-Hindu. All stages are allotted based on religion, not considering whether you are a good dancer or not. In the meantime, I have also been facing queries about whether I got converted into a Hindu after marriage (Mansiya had married musician Shyam Kalyan). I have no religion and where should I go," she was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.


Adding that this was not the first time she had experienced this, Mansiya said, "Art and artists continue to be knotted with religion and caste. When it is forbidden to one religion, it becomes the monopoly of another religion. This experience is not new to me. I am recording it here (on Facebook) only to remind that nothing has changed in our secular Kerala."

A few years ago, Mansiya was allegedly stopped from performing at the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna temple for the same reason, she said.

Meanwhile, according to The Indian Express, Koodalmanikyam Devaswom Board chairman Pradeep Menon responded to the allegation and said, "This temple complex is spread over 12 acres of land. The slated 10-day festival would take place in the temple compound. Around 800 artists would be performing in various events during the festival. As per our norms, we have to ask the artists whether they are Hindus or non-Hindus. Mansiya had given in writing that she has no religion. Hence, she was denied the venue. We have gone as per the existing tradition at the temple."

'Serves Our Society Ill, Damages Perception of Our Religion': Shashi Tharoor

Reacting to the incident, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor expressed his 'shock' over the matter and was quoted as saying, "I understand some restrictions in some temples about access to sanctum sanctorum. But this is a dance performance with other dancers in temple premises. Shocked that the temple is not allowing this."

He added, "I believe that it serves our society ill and also damages the perception of our religion in the eyes of others."

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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Topics:  Muslim   Kerala   Hindu 

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