Church leaders in Kerala, a state in southern India, have expressed their displeasure with a stage play that "incorrectly portrays the convents as sites where nuns are coerced to labor as slaves and tormented."
Depicting Convents as Slave-Like Centers
According to the Crux, Fr. Paul Thelakat, a former spokesman for the Syro-Malabar synod, stated there might not be anything offensive in the short story. Still, some seem to be offended by the dramatization. "It is alleged that there may be some Marxist infiltrations in the play," he stated.
As mentioned, Kakkukali is the name of the play produced by Neythal Nataka Sangham, located in Alapuzha. K.B. Ajayakumar wrote the play, and Job Madathil directed it. It tells the story of a young woman from a coastal region who, against her father's desires, decides to become a nun, although she hails from a Catholic family.
The short tale that inspired the play was written by Francis Noronha and published in the book Thottappan. The short story won an award from the local bishops' council. A recent event called the International Theatre Festival of Kerala, which the Marxist-led government of Kerala hosted, featured a performance of the play.
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Group Leaders to Ban Stage Play
The Hindu reported that the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council had a conference to review the theatrical rendition of the well-known story "Kakkukali." They concluded that the production stained the State's cultural environment. According to the director, the play, about a poor young woman who enters a convent but subsequently leaves it, was performed in 14 different places in one year, and there have been no controversies up to this point.
The bishops decried "attempts, under cover of these successes, to celebrate productions that disrespect and present history inaccurately." However, they acknowledged the social value of plays and other creative works in bringing about societal reform and progress. The bishops noted in a statement that religious groups under the Church had provided shelter and care to the abandoned. The statement was issued by Fr. Jacob Palakkappilly, the deputy secretary general and the official spokesperson for the KCBC.
In addition, according to the New Indian Express, the Joint Church Protection Committee took offense to the drama "Kakkukali," which portrayed Christianity and the monastic community of the Church in a negative light. As a result, they petitioned for the play's presentation to be prohibited. The space is an insult to the Christian religion and the monastic community, both of which have provided significant contributions to the expansion of civilization. According to Mathai Muthirenthi, the general convenor, "as a result, the government ought to take action to prohibit it."
The committee stated that the sole purpose of the play was to disrespect the nuns and the Church. The general population is misled from beginning to end during this entire process. Under the pretense of protecting people's right to free expression, a covert plan to destroy the Church and the monastic community is being carried out by staging the play with the assistance of government apparatus.
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#Catholic bishops in the southern Indian state of #Kerala are seeking a ban on the #Malayalam play "Kakkukali," stating that it is likely to disturb "the cultural fabric" of the multi-religious society in the state. #Kerala#Indiahttps://t.co/ge8BFaYZLH— UCA News (@UCANews) March 13, 2023