Prekshaka theatre group initiative on World Theatre Day

Theatre artistes are struggling for a stage. The audience is shrinking. Is there a way out for Malayalam drama, which used to the highlight of every festival venue once upon a time? How to save drama from the peril? “By staging plays,” said Jaishankar Pothuvath, veteran theatre personality associated with the Prekshaka theatre group.

Speaking during the launch of the Save Drama Campaign here on the occasion of World Drama Day, Mr. Pothuvath noted that Malayalam drama these days had international audience thanks to the influx of technology. But at the same time, low-budget plays were not accepted at all. He stressed that the campaign aimed to change this situation.

The organisers plan to come up with some quality plays that would be staged along the length and breadth of the State with an aim to bringing the audience back to theatre. Besides, some classes and workshops are also planned.

Uniqueness of theatre

Historian M.G.S. Narayanan, who launched the campaign, pointed out that though cinema, radio and television could be mainly blamed for the public’s loss of interest in theatre, the lack of people with the vision to execute a play with patience was also a reason.“The uniqueness of theatre compared to cinema is that it could interact directly with the audience. It is where the stage, the backstage and the audience come together,” he said analysing the progression of Malayalam drama over the years.However, he expressed an anxiety as to what extent a revival of theatre was practically possible.

The Save Drama Campaign was launched under the aegis of the Nataka Gurukulam of the Prekshaka theatre group in association with Socio- Religious Centre Inter-growth Institute and ‘Ezhuthu’ magazine.

 

Purushan Kadalundy, MLA; and District Panchayat president Babu Parasseri, both with a theatre background, were present on the occasion, besides cinema and theatre personalities Kozhikode Narayanan Nair and Wilson Samuel.A ‘drama therapy’ session was organised on the occasion.The next programme under the Save Drama Campaign will be held at Kozhikode Town Hall on June 24.Koottalum Kizhikkalum Perukkalum Harikkalum , a play by Prekshaka, will be staged on the occasion.

Filmmaker calls upon younger generation to fight moral policing

Filmmaker Kumar Shahani said here on Monday that the concept of a nation-state was nothing but a myth and it never existed. “Yet we still stick to this concept. The whole notion of nation should change completely.”

He was delivering the keynote address at a national seminar on ‘Patriotism, Democracy and Media,’ organised by the Kerala Media Academy (KMA) as a prelude to the three-day International Press Photo Festival, which will be inaugurated here on Tuesday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mr. Shahani said the concept of “chosen people” should change. That change has to take place among everyone in order to become a global citizen.“Don’t compare your god to the god of another religion,” he said.The times are so that all three topics of the seminar are passing through a phase of extreme crisis, Mr. Shahani opined. “The political situation is comparable to the situation in Italy where Silvio Berlusconi got elected again and again to lead that country to destruction.”He said dreams have to be realised through a belief that one belongs to a larger community.Mr. Shahani was highly critical of moral brigades stalking society.

He called upon the younger generation, especially young women, to resist such hooliganism by strongly conveying the message that an individual’s freedom is something that has to be respected. “We can be ourselves only by being in contact with each other”.He also wondered whether the media is giving up its role as the Fourth Estate of democracy. There is a threat all the time and even the well placed stand vulnerable, he added.

Welfare laws

 

In her address, civil rights activist Irom Sharmila said there should be no laws in a country aimed at harassing the people; instead laws should be for the welfare of the people.She said this was precisely the reason why she had agitated against a draconian law for 16 years. “We are still far away from getting real democracy.”In his presidential address, KMA chairman R.S. Babu said the festival was being organised with a confidence that it would in the future turn into an event on a par with the International Film Festival of Kerala. At the function, film director Vidhu Vincent was honoured. Editor of Asianet News M.G. Radhakrishnan was the moderator.

Drive to link Adhar, phone and bank account numbers

The district administration’s drive for expanding the initiative to link the three important identities of every individual (Adhar, mobile phone and bank account numbers) highlighting present and future facilities including digital transactions, digital locker, and fingerprint-based payment system is yielding positive results, especially among college students.

If the initial response is any indication, TriD drive, as the campaign launched by the District e-Governance Society (DeGS) to get the three identity numbers of an individual linked is known, is getting good support from college students. The Chinmaya Mission Women’s College here that has 1,600 students is 100% TriD-enabled now and many other colleges will soon achieve that status.

The highlights of the TriD campaign appear to have made easy appeal to the youngsters, given the immediate and future benefits from that.“A major facility ensured by the linking of the three identity numbers is fingerprint-based payment system that is going to be the next generation system to replace cashless payments used by debit and credit cards and other facilities,” said District Collector Mir Mohammed Ali, who is also chairman of the DeGs. The shopkeeper uses a fingerprint sensor and connects it to the customer’s mobile phone to receive money from the customer’s bank account by entering Aadhar number, he told The Hindu . Kannur is the first district in the State and second in the country to launch the fingerprint-based payment system, the first being Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. In Kannur, the Kerala Gramin Bank has launched the system.

Facilities

 

The TriD-enabling will also offer other facilities such as digital locker, a cloud-based system, available in digilocker.gov.in, which, among other things, allows it user to safeguard government issued certificates and documents to be permanently kept there in the digital format. The facility also allows digital Aadhar that could be carried and shown from mobile app, making physical carrying of the Aadhar redundant. Mobile and Aadhar number e-Sign facility using one-time PIN is also among the benefits of TriD. According to Mr. Ali, two or three years down the line these facilities would be part of every day life of most of the people.

Fire safety preparedness found compromised

The gaping holes in fire safety preparedness on the busy Broadway have come under the scanner of the State Disaster Management Authority.

The agency is expected to soon chalk out a plan to improve the fire management system on the busy stretch after the Ernakulam division of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services reported that the street would be highly vulnerable in case of a major fire.

According to the department, the area lacked adequate fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and permanent fixed fire exits. A mere spark is enough for an inferno on the stretch, fuelled by dry clothes, paper, and wood stocked inside shops or dumped in careless heaps, it said.

A safety audit by the department had pointed out that the narrow and congested roads prevented the entry of more than one fire tender in an emergency, while the region lacked water hydrants that are supposed to be located in strategic areas along the street to aid the quick response of the fire brigade in the event of a fire outbreak.

Moreover, fire tenders will not be able to enter a fire site, thanks to lack of adequate parking space. The lack of pavement space and absence of water storage also remain bottlenecks. The absence of fire escape routes and setback area add to the existing woes.

The officials found textile materials being stocked along emergency exit routes and staircases in shops, blocking the smooth passage of people in case of an emergency. Such materials were also found stocked near electrical circuits. According to them, most traders have not installed fire-fighting equipment in accordance with government norms.

 

Incidentally, the Fire Department had many a time alerted the Kochi Corporation to the “unwillingness” of shop owners to follow fire safety norms.

Ritual is to commemorate the visit of the goddess

A group of fisherman folk have left for Kodungalloour to take part in the ‘Bharani’ festival and to pay obeisance to the presiding deity of the temple there.The century-old ritual is to commemorate the mythological visit here by the goddess.

As many as 212 fisher-folk, including 98 elderly women, residing around the Sri Kurumba Bhagavathi temple near the Kasaragod beach locality left their homes in a country-made boat to reach the temple town on Monday to take part in the “Bharani” festival held in the Malayalam month of ‘Meenam.’In relation to the previous years’ tally of 416 fisher-folk, including 150 women, visiting the shrine from here, this year the number has come down owing to financial crunch, K. Chthrangan, 40, son of Kumaran, who had been undertaking the visit since he was five without break, told.

Mr. Chithrangan said the dedicated visit was to commemorate the mythological visit here of the goddess during her trip to the north zone.Being a “Malanadan” (Malayalee) girl, the goddess, who could not comprehend the Tulu language when she reached Mangalore, made a hasty retreat to the south after visiting the sea shore here.

Ritual to continue

 

The residents, who were believed to have been afflicted with measles, found their disease vanished in no time after the visit of the goddess. Since then, the fishermen folk from here undertook regular visits to Kodungalloor to take part in the festivities, he said, adding the generation next would sure continue the tradition.The “Araya” (fishermen) communities visiting Kodungalloor usually got special reception at the shrine, he said.

Structure suits climatic conditions

The Regional Gas Management Centre of the Gas Authority of India (GAIL) in Kochi has been given a three-star rating by Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) for its environment-friendly features.

The building is compact and structurally safe for Seismic Zone IV conditions and it features the use of efficient air-conditioning system and LED lighting in the interior, photovoltaic street lights and a rainwater harvesting system. Fly ash bricks have been used and there is application of recycled factory made green materials, GAIL sources said.The building at Kalamassery has been designed to suit the climatic conditions in Kochi and has a total covered area of 3,000 sq m. The remaining area of 3,039 sq m will be be constructed later.

The external walls of the building are slightly tapered outward from its base floor to reduce the impact of harsh rays of sun falling directly on the surface of the walls. Double skin structural glazing and insulated aluminium composite panels have been used to avoid penetration of heat through radiation into the building. This has reduced the burden on air-conditioning during the summer months.

 

The design has also achieved maximum design efficiency by way of spatial arrangements of office areas.The sources said the most visible impact was the reduction in energy consumption. The Regional Gas Management Centre building is spread over 3,000 sq m area and the average monthly expenditure for electricity is less than Rs. 1.5 lakh.