Next on stage: Sub-inspector Vinaya, age 55

As Hindus in the country celebrate Navarathri, worshipping different forms of Devi, here is Vinaya N A who has accomplished her wish to wear the costumes of ottanthullal and perform it.

Published: 27th September 2022 06:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2022 06:16 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THRISSUR: As Hindus in the country celebrate Navarathri, worshipping different forms of Devi, here is Vinaya NA who has accomplished her wish to wear the costumes of ottanthullal and perform it. While people who know her acknowledge that she is a fighter who has always charted her own path, Vinaya’s policy in life is do what makes you happy.

At 55, this sub-inspector posted at Thrissur Rural women’s police station in Irinjalakuda started learning ottanthullal under Arattupuzha Pradeep only six months back. After dedicated practice overcoming the limitations of age and professional responsibilities, she had her first performance, ‘Arangettam’, at Urakam temple in Thrissur district on Sunday. “I love wearing the makeup as in ottanthullal and I also like it as a traditional folk art form. Ottanthullal opens up a platform for criticism through humour and satire. When we criticise something seriously, it often causes hatred. But in Ottanthullal, all what we want to say is presented in a fun way. I found it a good medium to converse with the society,” said Vinaya.

For people in Kerala, Vinaya is not an unfamiliar face. In 2016, it was the initiative taken by this woman of uncompromising will that led to the participation of women in ‘pulikkali’ during Onam celebrations in Thrissur town for the first time. ‘Wings’ — Women’s Integration and Growth through Sports — is an organisation formed by Vinaya and other like-minded persons to take up activities that empower women through sports. Volleyball training was a part of it, which became a hit with the participation of rural women folk.

It has been a long journey for this woman who always fought to protect the rights for women. In 1999, Vinaya went to the court seeking a change in the format of application forms asking only husband’s or father’s name while furnishing basic information. In 2002, when the Kerala DGP issued an order that women cops should not tuck in their shirts in their trousers, Vinaya had to raise her voice against it. She had to face sneers even revenge because of it,  but ultimately, the victory was hers.

On being asked why she has been fighting all through her life against the society’s practices, Vinaya said it was not a fight. “All I did was what I wanted. It is not a fight against someone, but making my life easier for myself. If we are happy and satisfied, we can make others also feel so. I learnt ottanthullal because I found happiness in performing it,” she said. After 33 years in service, Vinaya is giving finishing touches to her book titled ‘Alankaricha Thadavara’ (Decorated Jail), which will be released soon. An activist and a poet, Vinaya continues to inspire women with her indomitable sprit.


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