A two-minute video clip of a Theyyam ritual performer consoling a Muslim woman in burqa in northern Kerala has gone viral on the social media.
The video turned a big hit among netizens as it surfaced at a time when controversy over burqa is simmering in neighbouring Karnataka.
During the performance of a Theyyam festival, the main performer, “Muthappan”, noticed a middle-aged woman clutching ₹20 banknote in her hands waiting to meet him to seek blessing.
He immediately called the woman, MT Ramlath, a resident of Padna in Kasaragod.
“Come here. You are not an outsider. Do you think you are different because of your religion or caste? No, all are one,” Muthappan said leaving her in tears. Muthappan held her both hands and asked to tell him her worries and troubles.
She broke down while narrating her woes in whispers.
“You must be wondering that you offer prayers five times a day, still you are not getting solace. Hold your faith tightly, almighty will help you. You have all blessings of Muthappan also,” the ritual performer was seen consoling the mother of four.
Wallowing in poverty and penury after her husband lost her job in Mumbai due to Covid two years ago, she came to the festival venue to meet Muthappan. In north Malabar, devotees organise Theyyam ritual in their houses also these days after fulfilling their vows or commitment.
The ritual was held at the house of one of her neighbours PV Balakrishnan on February 15 and video was shot by his kin KV Shaju, an electrician. Shaju said he posted the video casually on Tuesday and never imagined that it will attract such applause.
Ramalth said she was not aware of the video or its viral nature and later her 10-year-old daughter showed it to her. “After the video went viral many people came forward to help me. But some orthodox people criticised me saying it was not Islamic. But I am least bothered. I stick to what Muthappan said, all are one,” she said.
Sani Peruvannan, who performed the ritual on that day, said: “This is nothing new. People of all faiths approach us during festivals seeking blessings. I have learned the rituals from my father and once you don the attire words flow in the form of blessing.”
A drawing teacher at a public school, he said he takes leave during the Theyyam season, between December and March, to perform the ritual dance. Muthappan is a deity worshipped in north Malabar in big way and considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Local people said it was nothing new people from different faiths participate in village temple and mosques fetes.
A Muslim-populated area, after Babri Masjid demotion in 1992, Muslims guarded two temples in Padna village as trouble erupted in many parts. Interestingly, it is the same village where 12 of the 21 people, who joined the Islamic State in 2016, their families, have disowned them and refused to conduct last rites when some of them got killed in Afghanistan.
Social worker and block panchayat member K Anil Kumar said: “It is the beauty of Kerala where all faiths rub shoulders. People from all faiths include in temple and mosque festival committees.”