22 Oct 2022 10:44 AM GMT
A performance during ‘Bhootaradhane.’ (Photo credit: Billawar.org)
Kannada actor-turned-activist Chetan Kumar received the support of several Dalit and other organisations as his “unsavoury” comments on ‘Bhoota Kola‘ stirred up a controversy in the state.
Fans and supporters of the actor-turned-activist, commonly known as Chetan Ahimsa, reached his residence pledging their support. One of his supporters said threatening the actor was not the right way and everything has to be openly debated.
“You can openly debate whether Bhoota Kola is part of the Hindu religion or not. You will know soon whether the ritual is part of the Hindu religion or if it belongs to the Adivasis,” Anand Chakravarty, an activist, said.
Supporters of the actor held up his posters outside his residence and raised slogans in his support.
The controversy erupted on Tuesday when Kumar claimed that ‘Bhootha Kola’ – a ritual of spirit worship practised by people of coastal Karnataka – was not part of the Hindu culture.
Kumar made the statement in response to actor Rishab Shetty, who had suggested that Bhoota Kola was part of Hindu culture.
Shetty’s Kantara – a period thriller set in Udupi – has seen massive success at the box office and portrays various rituals and cultural practices such as Yakshagana, Daivaradhane, Kambala and Bhoota Kola practised mainly in the coastal region of Karnataka.
In an interview, Shetty was asked whether Panjurli – a spirit that takes the form of a wild boar – was depicted in the movie as a Hindu deity.
Shetty said: “Those gods, they are all part of our tradition. Definitely, it is part of Hindu culture and Hindu rituals. Because I am a Hindu, I have belief and respect for my religion. But I will not say others are wrong. What we have said is through the element that is present in Hindu dharma.”
Kumar called Shetty’s claims false and said: “Glad our Kannada film ‘Kantara’ is making national waves. Director Rishabh Shetty claims Bhoota Kola is ‘Hindu culture’. False. Our Pambada/Nalike/Parawa’s Bahujan traditions predate Vedic-Brahminical Hinduism. We ask that Moolnivasi cultures be shown w/ truth on & off screen.”
Glad our Kannada film ‘Kantara’ is making national wavesDirector Rishabh Shetty claims Bhootha Kola is ‘Hindu culture’FalseOur Pambada/Nalike/Parawa’s Bahujan traditions predate Vedic-Brahminical HinduismWe ask that Moolnivasi cultures be shown w/ truth on & off screen
Kumar was trolled on social media, while some came to his defence.
Vijayapura BJP MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal called Kumar “worthless” and an agent of “Muslims”.
“He is an agent of Muslims. They pay me money to make such statements. There are some unworthy Hindus in the country. Chetan is one among them. Don’t give them much prominence,” Yatnal said.
“Bhoota Kola is a part of our culture. We are not against any religion. We are against those who disturb peace in the name of religion,” he added.
Rajya Sabha MP and Dharmadhikari Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, Veerendra Heggade, after watching Kantara said he doesn’t know if the ritual was part of a religion or not.
“In both the districts – Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – there is the widespread practice of Bhoota Kola. It is true that we worship spirits and give respect to them. We respect their words when they come upon us. There is no need to review this in a religious context,” Heggade said.
Meanwhile, Hindu Yuva Sene in Madikeri filed a complaint against the actor-turned-activist over his comments on Bhoota Kola.
The complainant, Hindu Yuva Sene vice president Nadumutlu Praveen, claimed Chetan hurt the sentiments of lakhs of Hindus and demanded legal action.
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