Panaji, Feb 22 (IANS) The Goa government was forced to pull out a Marathi play from events marking Maratha king Shivaji’s birth anniversary celebrations after right-wing Hindu groups claimed that it denigrated Hindu gods and saints.
A government spokesperson Tuesday said the play ‘Ghalin Lotangan’, sponsored by the state information and publicity department, was a part of the government’s programme to eradicate “blind superstitious beliefs”.
The Congress-led alliance government had announced week-long state celebrations of Shivaji Jayanti from Feb 19 and the play ‘Ghalin Lotangan’, produced by a Maharashtra-based theatre troupe, was one of the events in the itinerary.
“The play was supposed to be staged in Curchorem (40 km from here) which is in my constituency, when some people approached me saying it was denigrating Hindu gods,” Congress legislator Shyam Satardekar said.
“I asked the chief minister (Digambar Kamat) to intervene and stop the play,” Satardekar said.
He said two shows of the play have already been performed in parts of Goa, as part of the state celebrations of Shivaji Jayanti.
The play is a modern-day critique of numerous superstitious religious practices and customs still prevalent. It spoofs several of them.
Hindu groups, including the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and the Sanatan Sanstha, Monday opposed the play, claiming it ran down Hindu saints and gods.
Menino Peres, state director for information and publicity, told IANS that the staging of the play was cancelled following a request by Satardekar to the chief minister.
“We had to cancel the play because some people complained that it denigrated Hindu gods and goddesses,” Peres said.
“Actually, we had selected the play because it had a message against religious superstition, spreading which is the mandate of the Goa government,” he said.
Kamat, who is also minister for information and publicity, took the decision to call the play off, he added.