Dropped by Left-controlled temple, ex-Muslim dancer gets VHP invite to perform

Thiruvananthapuram, March 29 (IANS) The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will be inviting Bharatnatyam dancer Mansiya V.P. to Pavakkulam temple in Kochi, controlled by it. The temple is one of the oldest in Kochi, Kerala. The VHP office-bearers told media persons at Kochi that the organization would extend full protection to Mansiya when they invite her to perform at the temple. The date and the time would be announced later.
Bharatnatyam exponent and Ph.D. scholar Mansiya was denied permission to dance at the famous Koodalmanikyam temple in Iringalakkuda on April 21 as she is not a practicing Hindu.
The Koodalmanikyam temple is controlled by the Left government in Kerala.
There has been outrage in several quarters over the treatment meted out to Mansiya by the management of the Left government-controlled temple.
Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor told media persons in Delhi that the temple not allowing an atheist dancer to perform there was not acceptable.
He said that the temple Chairman Pradeep Menon has said that the decision was in keeping with the existing traditions at the temple’. Tharoor said that traditions change with times and it was the tradition at every temple to deny Dalits entry a century ago, but that is not the case now.
The BJP local leadership also expressed support to Mansiya. The party’s Iringalakkuda mandalam president, T.K. Shaiju told IANS that “The decision of the temple not to allow Mansiya to perform within the premises is unfortunate and this has challenged the secular principles of the Constitution.”
Koodalmanikyam temple as part of its annual festival will be conducting the ten-day National Dance and Music Festival from April 16 to 25 and Mansiya’s dance was slated for April 21.
Speaking to IANS, Mansiya said, “On Sunday an official from the temple called me and informed me that I will not be able to perform as I was not a Hindu.”
Mansiya was born a Muslim and she had faced stiff resistance from the Muslim clergy while she was learning dance along with her sister. Her mother Amina and father Alavikutty, however, stood strongly with their daughters. When Amina passed away due to cancer, the clerics denied her burial in the mosque graveyard and this led to Mansiya leaving the religion.
She later married a vocalist, Shyam Kalyan who is a practicing Hindu.
Mansiya told IANS that the Koodalmanikyam temple authorities asked her why she had not converted to Hinduism after marrying a Hindu to which she answered that she does not believe in any religion and her husband’s family also did not put any pressure on her.
The Left government of Kerala which has been vocal on the secular credentials of the society now faces major embarrassment after a government controlled temple prevented an artist from performing within the temple as she was not a practicing Hindu.

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