24 November, 2020

Rhythm In Her Veins, Step Lightly

'God is one. When I pay obeisance through mudras, I'm imploring not just the Hindu Bhagvan but the supreme creator. It just happens that we call him by different names.' So says a young Muslim girl who excels in Bharatanatyam. Only to face mahallu's

Rhythm In Her Veins, Step Lightly
A Muslim girl practises a Hindu dance form and excels in it. V.P. Rubiya started practising Bharatanatyam when she was three, and scored an A grade at the recent Kerala School Festival. But the local mahallu (parish) at Valluvambram in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district is far from happy about it. Rubiya, 16, a X standard student, is the pride of Veeran Haji Memorial Higher Secondary School. But she and her family are treated as outcasts by the mahallu leaders. Membership of the mahallu is a basic right of Muslim families, entitling them to space in the graveyard and during the solemnisation of nikaahs. Besides, the head of the family has a vote in electing the mahallu committees. The mahallu endorsement is required for receiving various forms of assistance. Without these, one is a virtual pariah.

Rubiya’s family—father Alavikutty, mother Amina, a brother and a sister— have been facing the mahallu wrath for the past 12 years. Alavikutty, an ex-stage artiste, is distraught:...



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