Kozhikode: Prof Sunil P. Ilayidam's series of speeches on the 'Cultural history of Mahabharatham' is the big thing in the state’s cultural sphere now.
The five-part speech, each of 2.5-hour duration marvellously cancels the right-wing attempts to appropriate Mahabharat as a religious text.
The core of the speech is heralding the plurality and diversity of Mahabharat hence linking to the cultural heritage of India.
“This was not my interpretation. I compiled the different perspectives of Mahabharat and tried to bring out its pluralist essence. My endeavour is to present the epic as a discourse,” says Dr Ilayidam, associate professor at Sanskrit University, Kalady.
The speech is available on Youtube and is getting an overwhelming response. But the saddest thing is that secular forces are yet to tap this beautiful interpretation in the times of chaos.
“Unfortunately, Maha-bharat is more interpreted in terms of religion and literature in Kerala. Its umpteen different readings regarding ancient history, gambling, archaeology, etc. are not stressed. The over focus on religion was tapped by hardcore elements towards their end,” notes Mr Ilayidam.
In his speech, he clearly speaks of the reason behind his attempt. Quotes and anecdotes referring to Gandhiji, Sree Narayana Guru, scholars like A.K. Ramanujan, R.N. Dandekar, V.S. Sukthankar flow freely in the speech making a reverberation on the listeners.
But opinions are raised from different quarters that the speech could be conducted across the state under the banner of secular parties or cultural wings to make a wider impact.
“The seeds of communalism are being sowed in the cultural and ideological milieu rather than a political sphere. So the real essence of Mahabharat should be narrated under a liberal platform,” reasons M.B. Rajesh MP, who was the chief organiser of the speech in Palakkad. Kerala Sahithya Akademi president Vaisakhan told DC that the academy was going to publish the same in print.
The speech was first held in Sanskrit University in last September, then in Thrissur and Palakkad.