THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the annual Nishagandhi dance festival at Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here on Monday. Speaking on the occasion, he said that the resentment shown by the artists against anti-democratic and fascist tendencies in the country was a welcome sign.
“It is a welcome sign that artistes have come out in protest to express their resentment against anti-democratic and fascist tendencies. Such protests through art will upset many, who are the practitioners of intolerance. Artistes should fight against any move that hinders freedom of expression through art. The state provides ample scope for artists to experiment and innovate freely. We ensure that there is no biased approach to art forms of any school or group by keeping the diversity intact,” Vijayan said.
He added that the seven-day Nishagandhi dance festival had been recognised as a global event and the state can be proud of that.
Vijayan also presented the prestigious ‘Nishagandhi Puraskaram’ to eminent bharatanatyam exponent and choreographer C V Chandrasekhar in recognition of his contributions as a dancer, scholar and teacher. The coveted honour, bestowed on choreographers for their outstanding contributions, carries a purse of `1.5 lakh, a bronze statuette of Bharathamuni and a citation.
In his presidential address, Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran said that Nishagandhi festival had set a benchmark and was rated on par with Khajurao and Konark dance festivals. Rani George, secretary, Tourism, welcomed the gathering. V K Prashanth, MLA; M Vijayakumar, chairman, KTDC; Palayam Rajan, councillor; V K Madhu, president, district panchayat; and P Bala Kiran, director, Tourism, also spoke on the occasion.
As part of national commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a specially choreographed production on the life and message of the Father of the Nation would be staged on January 26. Also, eminent artistes, including Kalamandalam Gopi, will perform in the “Kathakali Mela” being held in parallel to the dance festival on all the seven days.