Irula tribals perform ‘Dilli Aatam'

The cultural programmes performed so far at the World Classical Tamil Conference can be classified into any one of the art forms, viz., classical or folk. But, the group that performed in the open area in front of the main CODISSIA exhibition hall on Saturday evening did not belong to any dance troupe.

They were Hindu Irula tribals from the villages of Jambukandi and Kudalur near Anaikatti and the dance they performed was their traditional ‘Dilli Aatam.' It was a slightly modified version of the traditional ‘Kummi.'

Men and women from different age groups numbering 40 sang and danced to their indigenously set tune for which the lyrics too were penned by them. The lyrics were in a different dialect of the Tamil language. For example, ‘nalla sollu' is said as ‘arumaka sollu.'

The singers stood in the centre and the dancers danced around them in a circle. Men were dressed in dhoti, shirt, and a turban, while the women were dressed in bright saris that reached short of their ankles. They also made use of instruments like the ‘tavil', ‘porai' and ‘kozal.'

K. Vaidehi, a member of the group said they organised such dances during deaths and temple festivals. They do not perform the dance during other auspicious occasions. “This is an age-old tradition which we learn from our elders.”

First time

This is the first time the tribals performed outside of their village. Thanks to the efforts of S. Surendran, former Panchayat President, Anaikatti, the tribals were given a chance to showcase their unique dance form at the conference.

Though they are tribals, they are not the closeted kinds who do not move out of their native place.

Most of the men and women are educated and even working outside. Vaidehi is a B.Sc. graduate from Avinashilingam University for Women and works as a teacher in the local school.

N. Nagaraj, a post-graduate student of Public Administration from Government Arts College, Coimbatore, said that the group would like to make more public performances if given a chance.

Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, Minister for Information Technology Poongothai Aladi Aruna, and Tamizhachi Thangapandian, were among the audience who cheered the group performing their simple art.

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Arts, Entertainment & EventsMay 14, 2012