Saffron politics hijacks tiger dance of Mangaluru Dasara

Saffron politics hijacks tiger dance of Mangaluru Dasara
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Highlights

The old American saying goes “when you can't lick them, join them”. This has come virtually true in the case of the BJP in the coastal city of Mangaluru.

Mangaluru: The old American saying goes "when you can't lick them, join them". This has come virtually true in the case of the BJP in the coastal city of Mangaluru. The State BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel and MLA of Mangaluru city south assembly constituency Vedavyas Kamath have snatched the idea of holding a 'tiger dance' event from the young Congress campaigner Mithun Rai for the Dasara. They have floated the idea of holding the 'Pili Parba' festival of Tiger dance in stark similarity with the 'Pili Nalike' of Mithun Rai.

Kateel and Kamath found the Pilivesha was one of the top crowd pullers and it was a big motivator for the youth. Mithun Rai says "I had begun a Foundation in my college days with the sole intention of preserving this rare folk and performing art which is unique to the coastal cities of Mangaluru and Udupi. The Pili Nalike events were being held by the Foundation for over a decade and have become a top entertainer coupled with spirited youth participation. Over the year the event became popular and troupes from various parts of the district and the neighbouring districts participated. There were reality shows on the theme based on the events my foundation hosted" Rai told The Hans India.

Rai did not aim at gaining political popularity with his events, but without his knowledge, he had stirred up quite a movement and the youth did follow in his footsteps. "I have political ambitions but never used this folk and performing art for advancing my political career. It is just that my name got attached to the events and people started giving me credence for the love of culture it had generated"

But suddenly out of the blue the BJP bandwagon has jumped into it and for the first time, both Kateel and Kamath duo will hold 'Pili Parba' to coincide with the Dasara festivities in the city. Rai is cool with this initiative. "I will not get dragged into a political debate on this issue, if they are genuinely interested in preserving this art form so be it".

Hulivesha (tiger Masqueraders) roam around the city presenting the famous `tiger dance' and some acrobatics to the accompaniment of drums. There are other types of masqueraders also but mainly characters from the animal world. They also take small change or big currency notes depending on the size of the house or shop or the look of the benefactor. There are other types of masqueraders who neither stop for showing off nor wait for money. They dress up in various historical and mythological characters like the great kings and sages and visit only those houses they intimately know and perhaps accept nothing but a thirst quencher.

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