Students were taught to identify and appreciate the diversity in the art forms of their region.

If we observe closely we will notice that there is always something culturally specific and exclusive to every region. It can be often related to the geography, economics, lifestyle and social status of the people residing at the respective areas. It is the duty of every student to be sensitive and responsive to the culture of the region he or she lives in. One should try to understand it with all its nuances and delightful diversity. Educating the young about the beauty and variety of our culture is what most cultural festivals and contests in a way do.

Cultural enlightenment

In such an interesting effort the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya at Lakkidi in Wayanad recently conducted a three-day residential cultural camp for selected students from eight Navodaya Schools in the northern districts of the State. As many as 60 students from districts such as Kasaragode, Kannur, Palakkad and Malappuram besides the host district Wayanad participated in the camp. The programme, “which was meant to familiarise students with the different culturally specific art forms of the Wayanad district” was organised under the Music Club of the school.

“We invited many noted exponents of folk arts, dance and songs pertaining to the district to the camp,” said principal of the school C.V. Shanthy.

Different sessions on tribal folk songs, folk dances and other art forms were held during the camp besides visits to the tribal colonies and their farm fields. Paniya, Kattunaykka, Kurichya, Pulaya and Kuruma are some of the prominent tribal communities of the Wayanad district. All these communities have their exclusive art and dance forms. “It was a unique experience to get to know the subtle differences of the art and cultures of the different communities in the same society,” said Riya Joy, a student of host school, who participated in the camp. Their dances and songs were closely connected to their community and performed during special occasions such as weddings and festivals.

Different sessions

The camp also had separate sessions on the ‘Theyyam dance' of north Kerala and the ‘Vadakkan Pattu,' the folk songs connected with the life and farming activities of the people in the northern districts of the State. “It was a vibrant camp with the active and wholehearted participation of the students from different regions,” said E. Sreekanth, the music teacher of the school.

According to him, students also got an opportunity to get familiarised with the distinct music instruments used by the tribals. “Their songs and dance were performed to the accompaniments of instruments such as Thudi, Chenda, Mulanchenda, Cheeni and Kuzhal,” said Riya.

The programme was inaugurated by Dr. Kumaran Vayaleri, lecturer at Payyannur Sankaracharya College. Experts of different folk songs and dances from different parts of the State participated in the camp. All the participants also presented the folk songs and dances they learned during the programme.

According to Principal Ms. Shanthy, a video CD of the programme will be released soon and distributed among the participating schools. “We have directed all the participants to impart the cultural lessons and the art forms they learned during the camp to their friends back in their schools,” said Ms. Shanthy.