Classical Dance Performer RLV Ramakrishnan Attempts Suicide, Blames Caste Discrimination

In a note that was recovered later, Ramakrishnan wished for a space of art 'devoid of caste discrimination' and said that he was done facing 'the torture'.

India   |   5 Oct 2020 10:24 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-10-05T17:35:25+05:30
Writer : Navya Singh | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Abhishek M
Classical Dance Performer RLV Ramakrishnan Attempts Suicide, Blames Caste Discrimination

Mohiniyattam performer and younger brother of late south Indian actor Kalabhavan Mani, RLV Ramakrishnan, attempted to die by suicide on October 3 alleging caste discrimination.

The artist was found unconscious at Kalagramam, a memorial of Mani in Thrissur, after overdosing on sleeping pills. He was then rushed to the nearby Taluk hospital where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on Saturday.

Ramakrishnan's condition is said to be stable as of now.

The artist had raised serious accusations against the authorities of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, headed by veteran actor KPAC Lalitha.

He alleged that the authorities had denied him permission to participate in a virtual performance. A handwritten note by Ramakrishnan that was found later revealed details about the incident, and the classical dancer blamed the chairperson and secretary of the Akademi for his suicide attempt.

In the note, Ramakrishnan wished for a space of art 'devoid of caste discrimination' and said that he was done facing 'the torture'.

A PhD holder in Mohiniyattam classical dance, Ramakrishnan is among the few male artists in the dance form, which is popularly seen as a female bastion. He received a doctorate after 15 years of research in the field.

After his suicide attempt made headlines, the Akademi in a press release denied the conversation between Lalitha and Nair to include him in the virtual programme. However, the victim's family put out an audio recording of a telephonic conversation between Ramakrishnan and Lalitha as evidence of the incident.

In the recording, Lalitha could be heard saying she had spoken to the secretary and Ramakrishnan was told to apply for participation.

The family is now taking legal recourse to end caste discrimination in the art space, which had affected Mani, a self-made artist who performed mimicry to become a known face in the southern film industry.

"Our family had gone through the worst of caste system over the years. I lost Mani uncle. Can't lose one more. We will take the legal route," Kalabhavan Renjith, nephew of Ramakrishnan, told News 18.

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