Muslim girl in Kerala defies boycott; wins dance prize in school fest
Thiruvananthapuram: A Muslim girl, who defied a virtual ban by her local community, has notched prizes in classical and folk dances at the state school fest in Kochi.
V P Rubiya, studying in the tenth standard at Veeran Haji Memorial Higher Secondary School at Morayur in Malappuarm, thanks her teachers and well-wishers who raised funds for her dance sessions and the trip to the festival venue at Kochi.
She stood third in Kerala’s classical dance form of Bharatanatyam and Kerala natanam (another dance version) and fetched ‘A’ grade in folk dance. She has also been the topper in dance competitions at the sub-district level for the past four years.
For Rubiya’s dance masters RLVAnand and Madhusoodanan, it was a labour of love. They had coached her without charging any fee and the latter even fetched the costumes for her.
Her father Syed Alavikutty, who has been a member of the Kadambari Theatres in Kozhikode, told The Peninsula that more than the prizes what his family prized most was the encouragement from the rest of the community in his daughter’s 13-year-long effort.
The Vallauvambram mahall committee had declined to entertain the family application for membership. Although the committee had not cited dance as the reason for denying the membership, it’s a fact that the dominant section had opposed extending membership to my family for the same reason, said Alavikutty.
The committee resented Alavikutty’s association with the theatre group and his daughter pursuing Hindu art forms. But Alavikutty was a member of the Nediyirippu mahall and even that did not impress the committee at Vallauvambram where the artiste family had shifted residence 12 years ago.
Alavikutty said the community boycott cast a shadow on his daughter’s future, posing difficulties in finding a suitable boy from within the
community. The denial of membership by the Sunni committee had also deprived the family of Ramzan relief and other benefits.
For instance, the committee declined to issue a certificate endorsing Rubiya’s mother, Aamina’s application for medial help from an agency in the Gulf.
"But all this would not prevent us from imparting proper education to our daughters (Rubiya has a sister in third standard) and nourishing their artistic talents. I’m a firm believer. Therefore, I’m sure Allah would show me the way at the appropriate time", said Alavikutty.