Artistes call for removal of Rangayana chief

Artistes call for removal of Rangayana chief

They write an open letter to the government accusing Cariappa of communalising the institution

A protest against Addanda Cariappa outside the theatre institution Rangayana in Mysuru. DH PHOTO

Rangayana, the reputed theatre institution in Mysuru, has witnessed protests from the last 10 days. A set of experienced theatre artistes and activists are staging the Rangayana Ulisi protest. They have called for the removal of Addanda C Cariappa as the director of Rangayana. 

Tension prevailed when Mysuru Rakshana Vedike activists, in support of Cariappa, staged a protest against the Rangayana Ulisi Horata Samithi. Police had to intervene multiple times to bring the situation under control. 

Theatre stalwarts have objected to Cariappa’s decision to invite writer Chakravarthi Sulibele and actor-politician Malavika Avinash for the institute’s Bahuroopi National Theatre Festival. Angered after Cariappa called them ‘Maosists’ and disappointed with the director’s ‘vested interests’, around 57 theatre artistes have written an open letter to the government, demanding the removal of Cariappa from his post. 

Here are the key arguments in the letter: 

Rangayana, Karnataka’s well-known cultural institution, is embroiled in a controversy today. The brainchild of theatre giant B V Karanth, Rangayana has its unique legacy. Many directors of the repertory, including Karanth, ensured their personal beliefs and philosophies never influenced their decisions.

The BJP government picked Addanda C Cariappa as the director of Rangayana by violating the by laws of Ranga Samaja. Ever since his appointment, Rangayana has been in the news for the wrong reasons. More than his contributions to theatre, he was chosen for the post due to his loyalty to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Soon after taking over the role, he triggered a needless controversy around Tipu Sultan. For the institution’s annual Bahuroopi Festival, he invited Chakravarthi Sulibele, the writer known for his speeches that promote communal hatred, and Malavika Avinash, who has little or no connection with theatre. 

Activists, theatre stalwarts, and progressive thinkers opposed this decision but they were called dogs and Maoists by Cariappa. “I am proud to be part of the RSS community. I will implement my ideology into my work. Who are you to ask,” he had questioned us in the past. The director also made personal attacks on Rangayana’s previous directors H Janardhan and Bhagirathi Bai.

Upset by such behaviour from the director, Mysuru’s theatre artistes have held the Rangayana Ulisi (Save Rangayana) protest since December 20.

Not just Rangayana, several institutions, academies, and Sahitya Parishaths are headed by RSS loyalists. Cariappa is being used to transform Rangayana into a laboratory of RSS. 

We urge the government to sack Cariappa as he is polluting Rangayana by imposing his right-wing ideas on the artistes. The institution should always be the symbol of people’s culture. 

Top names from the 57-member list: SG Siddaramaiah, Rajendra Chenni, Purushothama Bilimale, Basavalingaiah C, Chidambara Rao, H Janardhan, Bhagirathi Bai, BK Chandrashekhar, CK Gundanna, Lakshmi Chandrashekar.  

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