A Muslim girl decided to learn Bharathanatyam, the Hindu classical dance form. She came first in the dance competition in the recently held Kerala School festival. Now they are being shunned by the local mosque for this.
The local mosque committee at Valluvambram, however, is not impressed by Rubiya’s feats, says her father, a clerk with a travel agency. “If she had won prizes in ‘oppana’ and ‘mappila pattu’ [traditional Muslim art forms], she would have been flooded with gifts by now. The mahallu leaders would never openly admit that it is her dance that makes them treat us as virtual outcasts,” says Mr Alavikutty.
“God is one. When I pay ritualistic obeisance through mudras [hand signs], I am imploring not just the Hindu gods but the supreme creator, which we call by different names,” she says. It is the Hindu worship content in the classical dances that her family says has driven a chasm between her and conservative elements in the community. [Muslim girl dances social divide]
Rubiya is not the only one who had to face such issues. Kalamandalam Hyderali , a Muslim was one of the best Kathakali singers in Kerala. Kathakali is usually performed in temples and once a temple wall was demolished and a stage was constructed in such a manner that he could sing from outside the temple. He too faced problems with fundamentalists on both sides, but his talent was strong enough to survive such pettiness.
Now Shamcera, a Muslim woman in Kerala, is teaching Kalaripayattu, an ancient Hindu martial art form of Kerala.
Kalari Payattu combines both physical and spiritual discipline and is claimed to be one of the oldest martial art forms existing in the world. The training involves severe physical fitness exercises. The practitioners are also trained to use weapons like swords, shields and “Urumi” a metre-long flexible sword. Shamcera belongs to the conservative Muslim community and is just one among the many women who are now trained in martial arts. Religious restrictions did not deter her in pursuing her mission. [A Malayalee Muslim martial arts teacher trains women, children in Manjur]