Plays on topics like Ayodhya, Article 370 barred from Maharashtra drama contest

Ruchika Goswamy

It is the first time in the history of the 40-year-old festival such restrictions are in place.

The organising body of ‘Firodiya Karandak’, a popular annual inter-collegiate drama competition in Maharashtra, has decided to restrict plays and skits that are based on ‘sensitive topics’ such as Babri Masjid, Article 370, India-Pakistan relations, Hindu-Muslim relations or caste.

It is the first time in the history of the 40-year-old festival such restrictions are in place.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Ajinkya Kulkarni, organiser of the festival, said, “For the past few years, we have observed that several participants from various colleges are focusing on these specific topics... Since we do not have methods of censorship on performances, we have decided this year to not allow plays and skits that have any association with sensitive topics... There is a high possibility that the context of the performance can be misinterpreted...”

“...We have never put any restrictions earlier... at the end of the day, the organising body will be held accountable,” he added.

Addressing the restriction, noted social and political scientist Suhas Palshikar tweeted, “In a manner of speaking, this is actually happening in Pune: Organisers of a more than four decades old theatre competition for students has this year dictated what topics cannot be used for the plays to be eligible for prizes.”