‘Postpone Thrissur Pooram’: Over 30 poets, writers urge Kerala govt in joint statement

Signatories of the statement included poets and writers K Venu, Vaisakhan, KG Sankara Pillai among others.
Caparisoned elephants paraded at Thrissur Pooram with umbrella
Caparisoned elephants paraded at Thrissur Pooram with umbrella
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Over 30 prominent figures from the literary and intellectual space in Kerala have released a joint statement asking the state government to cancel Thrissur Pooram celebrations in 2021. Thrissur Pooram is slated to be held on April 23, despite the rising COVID-19 cases in Kerala. “It would be irrational to hold Thrissur Pooram at a time when the district (Thrissur) is crossing 1000 new COVID-19 cases daily, and has a Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of 20%,” the statement says. The positivity rate on tests is the percentage of tests that return positive, among a group of people. For example, if 100 individuals, who are suspected to have contracted the virus, are tested and only two persons test positive, then the test positivity rate is about 2%.

The statement also added that Pooram is celebrated by people coming together from many places. “We are living in a scenario where a pandemic makes such gatherings work against the population. As the number of people affected by COVID-19 continues to rise, we may even face a shortage of oxygen and medicines,” the statement explained.

The statement also adds that it would be impossible to hold the Pooram by complying with COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. It would also lead to police using excessive control, it says. “Pooram has a history of being limited during times of famines, wars and other crises. We urge the Pooram administrators and the government to take a prudent and socially responsible decision to postpone Pooram during this epidemic,” the statement read.

The letter was signed by prominent poets and writers including KG Sankara Pillai, poet, novelist, short story writer and columnist Kalpetta Narayanan, MK Gopinathan Nair popularly known by his pen name Vaisakhan who is now the President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and K Venu,  political, social activist and communist thinker among others. The Thrissur Pooram is the largest Hindu temple festival celebrated in Kerala every year, in terms of the scale of attendees. On average, the Pooram attracts two million people from across districts. In 2020, the Thrissur Pooram was cancelled following the nation-wide lockdown imposed by the Union Government to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country. With the second wave of COVID-19 hitting India and rising cases in Kerala, several activists and members of the public have questioned the state government's hestiation to call off the Pooram. 

Here’s the full list of signatories 

1. KG Sankara Pillai

2. Vaisakhan

3. Kalpetta Narayanan

4. K Venu

5. K Aravindakshan

6. Ashtamoorthi KV

7. I Shanmughadas (film critic) 

8. PN Gopikrishnan

9. Azad

10. Dr. K. Gopinathan

11. Kusum Joseph

12. Dr. TV Sajeev

13. Adv. Chandrasekhara Narayanan

14. VS Girishan

15. PS Manojkumar

16. Jayaraj Mitra

17. Adv Kukku Madhavan

18. K Santhosh Kumar

19. I Gopinath

20. Dr. K. Rajesh

21. Dr. K. Vidyasagar

22. Sarath Cheloor

23. KJ Johnny

24. Cherian Joseph

25. P Krishnakumar

26. Dr. Brahmaputran

27. Susan Liju

28. Dr. P. Shailaja

29. Simple teacher

30. Dr. Smitha P. Kumar

31. Davis grower

32. KC Santhoshkumar

33. T Satyanarayanan

34. Francis c. Abraham CT Thankachan

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