Mangaluru doctors are raising awareness on cancer through a ‘Yakshagana’ play

On February 3, the eve of World Cancer Day, these doctors will come together for 'Arbudasura Garvabhanga', or 'taming the cancer demon'.
Mangaluru doctors are raising awareness on cancer through a ‘Yakshagana’ play
Mangaluru doctors are raising awareness on cancer through a ‘Yakshagana’ play
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Come World Cancer Day on February 4, an orthopaedic surgeon, an obstetrician, a gynecologist, a physician, and an oncologist, will all join hands to raise awareness about cancer. The group has decided to take a different approach though – furthering the cause through 'Yakshagana', a traditional art form in coastal Karnataka that combines theatrical elements of dance, music, dialogue, costume and make-up. Through Yakshagana, the team of doctors feel that audiences in coastal districts will find the message more effective.

The play, 'Arbudasura Garvabhanga', is backed by the Mangaluru Chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Red Cross and Association of Medical Consultants Association. The group is being led by Dr B Sachidanand Rai, senior orthopaedic surgeon and president of IMA Mangaluru chapter, who says that the first of its kind play may strike a better chord with the locals.

Dr Rai explains that cancer is of different kinds, and unlike several illnesses which can be cured by simple medication, cancer cannot be, unless detected early. "There is no medication to simply heal it, it can be controlled. One can effectively take initiative by facilitating early detection and intervention by consulting the medical practitioners. Our play hopes to make people more aware; and given the importance that Yakshagana has in the coastal residents, we find it to be a better medium to communicate our message,” he says.

'Arbudasura Garvabhanga' will be performed at Kadri Park on February 3 (on the eve of World Cancer Day). The prasanga (story) will narrate the saga of 'Arbuda’, which translates to ‘cancer’ in Kannada and ‘sura’ which means ‘demon’. The play is centered on this ‘Arbudasura’ (cancer demon), how it can wreak havoc in people’s lives, and how it can be controlled.

The story written by Dr Sathyamurthy Aithal, a senior surgeon, and Dr Annayya Kulal, Public Relations Officer of IMA Karnataka chapter. It chronicles how this demon is controlled by a group of doctors.

The 22-member group behind the initiative, which includes 16 doctors, will also highlight the need of communal tolerance that becomes very relevant in the communally tensed district.

The play that is scripted in Kannada, will feature famed local and senior doctors including Dr Janardhan Aithal, senior orthopaedic consultant, Dr G K Bhat Sankabithilu, Dr Dineshchandra Hande, family physicians, Dr Amritha Bhandary, obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr Guruprasad, oncologist, Dr Devadas Rai, consultant physician, Dr Animesh Jain, Dr Harish Madiwala, Dr Jerome Pinto, Dr Pasha etc as actors.

The songs in the play have been written by Yakshagana litterateur Nithyananda Karantha Polali; and the ‘thalamaddale’ will be performed by professional artists.

The doctors, who seem quite excited about the play, say that it was a tough task to coordinate with the veteran medical practitioners who put in extra effort for practice while, in the midst of attending to their patients. 

The play comes at a time when the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) cancer registry data report has highlighted rising incidence of cancer cases in the country with 15.8 lakh cancer cases reported in India in 2018 and over 8 lakh people losing their lives to the disease the same year.

(Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)

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