The Vadodara Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has stirred controversy by extending an invitation to mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik as a speaker for an upcoming event. The announcement, made on the official IGNCA X account, detailed the event scheduled for January 17 at the Ravi Varma Studio in the Laxmi Vilas Palace compound, Vadodara.
The now-deleted post, which invited attendees to a talk by the renowned mythologist, author, and speaker at 5 p.m., mentioned the subject of the lecture as “Exploring the stories of Ramayana in the works of Raja Ravi Varma.” However, a shroud of uncertainty now surrounds the event as reports suggest that Pattanaik’s invitation has been rescinded following public outrage.
It is noteworthy that IGNCA operates as an Autonomous Trust under the Ministry of Culture, adding significance to the controversy. The invitation led to widespread public outrage, with netizens sharing screenshots of Pattanaik’s controversial and offensive tweets against women.
Shashank Jha, a prominent Twitter user, expressed shock at the invitation and called Pattanaik “anti-Hindu.” This sentiment was echoed by various users who pointed out Pattanaik’s controversial history and urged the Ministry of Culture to reconsider the decision.
Shocking to see that this anti-Hindu Devdutt Pattanaik has been invited to speak on Shri Ram by @MinOfCultureGoI.
Dear @kishanreddybjp: kindly look into this asap and take action.
— Shashank Shekhar Jha (@shashank_ssj) January 9, 2024
Hindu Post highlighted Pattanaik’s alleged abusive language and controversial claims, questioning IGNCA’s decision to invite him. The post criticised Pattanaik for his interpretations of Dharma and history, accusing him of spreading misinformation.
Why is @ignca_delhi inviting this abusive man Devdutt Pattanaik who is a known distorian who has hurt millions through his perverted interpretations of Dharma and our itihaas, and is also facing legal action for spreading canards like ‘Dalits are not allowed in Jaggannath Puri’?… pic.twitter.com/aAJAc73Klq
— HinduPost (@hindupost) January 9, 2024
Various users tagged Union Ministers in their posts, expressing concern over offering a prestigious platform to someone with a history of controversial remarks. Shefali Vaidya, a Hindu rights activist, questioned the decision, describing Pattanaik as “perverted, abusive, and illiterate.”
— Shaktimaan 🇮🇳🇮🇱 (@Shaktimaan_7) January 9, 2024
Devdutt Pattanaik’s controversial history, including past derogatory and misogynistic tweets, was brought to light. In July 2020, he faced criticism for echoing Nepal’s Prime Minister’s claim about Bhagwan Ram’s origin and making disparaging remarks about India. Pattanaik has a history of using provocative language on social media, sparking controversies and drawing criticism.
In January 2022, Pattanaik issued a public apology for his past derogatory and misogynistic tweets. However, the apology raised further concerns as he admitted to using rape as a tool for revenge in his social media interactions. The controversy surrounding Pattanaik’s invitation continues to unfold, raising questions about the decision-making process at IGNCA and the Ministry of Culture.