Kerala temple disallows artist to perform after his son marries a Muslim

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A temple committee has decided not to allow a ritual to be performed by an artist during a festival after his son married a Muslim woman.

The incident took place at the Karivelloor Kaniyan Parembethu Bhagathy temple in Kannur district. The temple committee decided that Vinod Panicker, an artist who has been performing the ‘Poorakali’ ritual for the past 37 years, cannot perform now since his son married a Muslim.

“I am a Poorakali artist and have been doing this for the past 37 years and this sort of humiliation has never been experienced when I was told I will not be able to perform it as my son married a Muslim lady,” said a deeply sad Panicker.

‘Poorakkali’ is a ritual art form performed in the Bhagavati temples and sacred groves across North Kerala districts.

This art form focuses mainly on rhythmic footsteps resembling the movements of martial art form. The name ‘Poorakkali’ literally means play on ‘Pooram’ day.

Originally, this was an art form of the women folk, but today it is performed by men and stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are narrated in the songs.

Panicker was told by the temple authorities if he moved out of the house where his Muslim daughter-in-law also resides, then he would be allowed to perform, but this was fused by Panicker.

Even though Panicker’s mother’s house is nearby only, he refused to move to her house.

“This was my passion and I used to earn a bit of extra income performing this ritual art form,” said Panicker.

Meanwhile, the temple authorities claim that they had to do this because of pressure from devotees and they conducted the ritual with a different artist.

Karivelloor has a lot of history associated with it. It is the place where the uprising for land, food and freedom and against the feudal lords and British rule started for the first time 75 years ago.

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