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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan must have grinned ear to ear on Thursday, 26 January.
After the state’s house boat-themed tableau had won the gold medal at the Republic Day parade in 2013, Kerala’s tableaux rolled down the Rajpath — now Kartavya Path — only twice.
Reason: The expert committee repeatedly rejected the state’s proposals.
In 2022, a row over a sculpture that was to be displayed led to the rejection. The state proposed social reformer Sree Narayana Guru in the backdrop of Jadayu Earth Centre. The committee wanted Adi Shankara.
This year, the chief minister instructed his team to avoid any controversy. The state’s information officer in New Delhi, Sini K Thomas, along with artist Roy Joseph, came up with a “revolutionary” idea to bowl over the mandarins.
They decided to display Kerala’s Naree Shakti (Power of Women), folk traditions, and the empowerment of women in the state. And the Naree Shakti — comprising 24 women — made it to the Kartavya Path.
The women’s only tableau in the shape of a Beypore uru (dhow) had a sculpture of Karthyayani Amma, who topped a literacy exam at the age of 97, and another one of national award-winning tribal singer Nanjiyamma holding the tricolour.
A mother-daughter duo performed Kalaripayattu, even as women from the Irula tribe danced to Nanjiyamma’s Kalakkatha… Kudumbashree members performed and danced to Shingari Melam, drawing rounds of applause.
With Kerala’s women’s power stealing the thunder in Delhi, how could Vijayan not drop his usual serious expression and grin ear to ear?