Article 370 among other issues declared taboo for college event

Pune: The organizers of ‘Firodiya Karandak’, a popular inter-collegiate drama competition, have decided not to allow plays dealing with “sensitive” subjects such as Babri Masjid, Article 370, Hindu-Muslim relations or caste dynamics.
The annual competition, which began over four decades ago and always draws a full house, will be held in the first week of February. Rules for the event were released on Wednesday.
“To maintain social harmony and law and order, the organizers, from this year, have decided not to permit entries with sensitive subjects like Hindu-Muslim, Jammu & Kashmir, Article 370, India-Pakistan, Ram Mandir and Babri Masjid or the subjects that comment on any caste or religion,” said a rule.
If a group presents a play on any such subject, it would be disqualified, the rules warned.
When contacted, chief organizer of the competition Ajinkya Kulkarni said, “Being too young and amateur, participants do not have the knowledge and the depth required to handle such sensitive issues.
“Students are unaware of consequences if something unwarranted is said on this platform, which has a certain legacy, and as organizers the responsibility lies with us,” he said.
The rules do not say that a play should not mention a particular religion, but it must not create ill-feelings against any religion, he said.
Firodiya Karandak is a platform for showcasing artistic talent and not political leanings, Kulkarni added.
“In the last three or four years, we saw that participants came with subjects which have been done do death, commenting on religious and caste lines,” he said.
Generally students favour subjects related to current issues in the country, he said.
“My question to students is, are farmer suicides, drought, economy, unemployment, quality of education not current issues? Why only subjects with comment on religion and caste interest them?” Kulkarni asked.
A bar against a few “sensitive” issues was not curtailment of students’ freedom of expression, he argued.
The competition’s format allows presentation of a hodge-podge act combining theatre, music and other fine arts.

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