KOCHI: 'Art is the best form of resistance,' the oft-repeated quote found manifestation at the social meet 'Kodiyettam' held as a prelude to 'Aarppo Aarthavam' at Vanchi Square on Sunday. For the huge crowd that gathered at the venue, art was a tool to liberate themselves and empower the mass, especially women, to stand up for their rights.
Their spirit also found an expression in the performance of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, a cultural group led by renowned Tamil folk singer and activist Kovan.The 'Pala' song performed by them, focusing on the Sabarimala women entry issue, was received by the audience with an uproar. People cheered, clapping their hands in tandem with the tune.
The Kazhagam says they received severe criticisms for releasing the song."We have been speaking for the marginalised for a long time. Though we faced legal issues many times, we never were branded religiously. But, the online reactions towards 'Pala song' has given us that too," said Latha, a team member. The team consist of Kovan, Sathya, Vasanthan, Senthil, Maya, Sreeja, Oviya and Latha.
Many thinkers and activists, who gathered there, voiced their support towards the movement and the need to break the concept of 'impurity' surrounding menstruation to ensure gender equality.
Activist T K Anandi called for a long march, on the lines of farmer's march, from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram to create awareness among people. "It is high time we think about such a move. It will contribute in a long way to inspire people," said Anandi.
CPM district secretary C N Mohanan pointed out the violation of fundamental rights. "It is never an issue of women entering a particular place. When the whole idea is to uphold gender equality promised by our Constitution, some political factions are taking advantage of it. Meetups like this will help in taking the message to the public," said Mohanan.
Thinker Sreechithran M J was optimistic about a turnaround in the debates. "If we go through history, it was women who led many social reforms. Changes can't be stopped using violence. History never bowed down to such threats," said Sreechithran.Activist Bismi Gopalakrishnan, Mridula Devi Sasidharan, Geetha Nazeer and many among others spoke on the occasion.
'Ayyappacharitham,' a drama by transgenders, and 'Kannadi,' an art performance by P S Jaya, was also performed during the day-long event.