In an unfortunate incident, a video of a group of Kerala nuns performing Thiruvathirakali has sparked a communal debate among social media users across the country.
The video found the spotlight after MP and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor shared it on his Facebook page, with the caption: "This is what makes Kerala God's Own Country! Christian sisters performing Thiruvathirakali (a Hindu group dance) is not a rare sight in Kerala during Onam; it celebrates the spirit of oneness and prosperity."
The video went viral with over 16K reactions and more than 4K shares. Though the initial responses to the video were positive, like Tharoor meant it to be, it gradually started a furore between right wing Hindu and Christian factions.
Hindutva propagators criticised the video and said it is as an attempt by the church "to appropriate a Hindu dance form". Meanwhile, some Christian groups also slammed the nuns for learning and performing something which is "part of another religion", and that too "some dance".
"Christians will appreciate Hindu rituals at the beginning, they will soon claim it as theirs," read one of the responses. "Gradually these missionaries will replace Shiva with Yeshu (Jesus) and make it Yeshuvitharakali," read another comment.
The entire episode is regrettable, considering how Hinduism and Chritianity have co-existed peacefully in Kerala for hundreds of years, sharing similar traditions and values.