India owes its cultural vibrancy to communal harmony: Niriella

Sri Lankan theatre personality Parakrama Niriella has said that irrespective of the number of languages spoken by Indians, the country maintains communal harmony as people here are known as ‘Indians’ and not according to the languages they speak.

He inaugurated the international multi-lingual theatre festival ‘Bahuroopi’ organised by Rangayana and the department of Kannada and Culture at Vanaranga on Kalamandira premises here. Niriella said.

“In India conflict between languages does not exist or create any issue, but that is not the case with Sri Lanka. For Sri Lankans, it has become a great challenge to create a ‘Sri Lankan’ identity due to continuous conflicts based on language, race and land. Even today issues prevail to a certain extent. This deep-rooted issue has created huge voids and differences between the communities.”

“The history of musical art of Sinhalese, comprising the majority population of Sri Lanka, is barely 100 years and its development has been a result of the creative combination of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim musicians and singers. Due to communal dissent, communal harmony among the artistes has diminished. In Sri Lanka, those conversing in Sinhalese are not able to deal with Tamil language, while Tamil-speaking Lankans are not conversant in Sinhala,” Niriella said.

He said, “While Sinhala artistes, engaged in creative arts cater only to Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil artistes entertain only their respective communities. As different communities do not pay attention to learn each other’s language, they fail to understand and appreciate the varied experiences.”

“With a view to find solutions to national problems through theatre, late dramatist H A Perera and I, started theatre festival ‘Janakaraliya’ in 2003. The aim of ‘Janakaraliya’ was to reach out to the communities separated due to lack of righteous language usage and also to break the self-imposed barriers of not knowing others’ language, he said.

Public Works Minister Dr H C Mahadevappa inaugurated the ‘Handicrafts and Book Expo’. He said, Rangayana has been spreading Kannada culture by hosting festivals. “Though theatre artistes are facing severe problems, they are spreading human values. Theatre is a powerful media to spread messages,” he said.

Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree, who released a souvenir, said Karnataka has been supportive of theatre and artistes.

She said state government had earmarked Rs 5.66 crore for the welfare of artistes and was also offering Rs 10,000 to rural troupes.

Theatre persons B Jayashree, G K Govinda Rao and Mandya Ramesh, Mayor M J Ravikumar, ZP president Nayeema Sultana, MLA Vasu and Kannada and Culture Director K A Dayanand were also present.

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