Sarita Cherian waved a placard saying “Dinkan Exists” in Malayalam. Her colleague shouted, “Dileep, with your comedy film Professor Dinkan, you are hurting our religious sentiments.” They and other members of ‘Dinkoism religion’ were protesting Mollywood actor Dileep’s new movie title outside his restaurant Dhe Puttu in Kochi. “We are angry that Dileep is using Dinkan’s name for his film,” says Cherian. “We don’t know the storyline, but Dinkan is our god.” Dileep plays a magician in the film.
Dinkan is a comic strip character created by Kottayam-based writer N Somashekharan and artist Baby. Dinkan is a mouse who wears a red cape, a yellow body suit and red shoes. He first appeared in the Malayalam children’s magazine Balamangalam in 1983, and remained in print till the publication closed down in 2012, even though Somasekharan left the magazine in 2005.
“Dinkan has superpowers. He lived in a forest called Pankila. He was abducted by aliens, who experimented on him. As result, he became powerful and could fly. Any animal or person in distress could call out his name, and Dinkan would come to the rescue, like Superman,” says 57-year-old Somasekharan.
Dinkan’s fans consider him to be no less than a god, albeit in fun. “He is the god of the universe. We also believe in the Big Laugh theory, which says that the entire universe originated from the big laugh of Lord Dinkan,” says Dinkan ‘devotee’ Samoosa Thrikonadhyaya.
The protest against Dileep was a clever way of making fun of organised religions. Dinkan’s ‘devotees’ pretend to get offended when anyone questions his divinity or their ‘holy book’ Balamangalam. “We were also making fun of those who protested against films like Hey Ram, PK and Vishwaroopam,” says writer K S Binu. “We believe in a free and just society, based on scientific and rational thinking.”
All Dinkoists read Dinkan as children. “He is a beloved character,” says Binu. “We have been his fans all along.” Somasekharan, however, does not endorse the Dinkoism movement. “Dinkoists are using Dinkan to mock people and concepts,” he says. “But this hero belongs to children.”
Dinkoism is an amorphous grouping. They have not registered themselves as an organisation. Dinkan’s ‘devotees’ are in Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kochi. Thanks to their protest at Dhe Puttu, which was broadcast widely, they have caught the imagination of Keralites.
Dinkoists held a meeting in Kochi on February 28. A table had a large piece of tapioca. “As a mouse, Dinkan’s favourite food is tapioca,” says Cherian. “Uprooting tapioca from the ground represents uprooting the social evils of religion, racism and misogyny. Hence, Dinkoists promote the consumption of tapioca.”
Dinkoists also took a potshot at faith healing, which is prevalent in Kerala. Amid much mirth, one of them pretended to be a faith healer. When a girl pretended to feel very hot, he pointed his arms towards the ceiling and ‘invoked’ Dinkan. “Lord Dinkan, please cool down this girl,” he said. After a while, the girl said she was feeling fine and thanked “Lord Dinkan”.
Then the Dinkoists raised their right thumb, moved it sideways rapidly, and shouted, “Dinka, Dinka”. “This is our way of greeting each other,” says Cherian. The audience yelled its appreciation and burst out into laughter, in the true spirit of the super mouse who made people smile.