Koragas, the performers, are forced to take up other professions, says Kaniyur

Traditional dance practices can hardly withstand the present-day attacks from urbanisation and globalisation where increasing number of farmers are giving up ownership of lands for construction of buildings, said Poovappa Kaniyur, Associate Professor in Sullia-based Nehru Memorial College.

Mr. Kaniyur was speaking on the concluding day of the two-day seminar on ‘Tuluva Culture’ here on Sunday. He said that the shift from pre-dominantly paddy-based agriculture to the cash crops such as rubber too was to be blamed for the phenomenon.

Speaking on the vanishing Tulunadu dances, he said the dancers had always been from the Koraga community, who performed during festivities associated with paddy cultivation. Therefore, the absence of paddy fields had threatened the survival of these traditions. The Koragas on their part were forced to take up other professions.

As a result, Aati Kalanja dance, Korangolu, Dudi Kunitha and Siddavesha were disappearing.

So was the case of Gummat dance, which had Marathi influence. Mr. Kaniyur observed that Siddavesha, in particular, was representative of the conflict between two castes in the medieval era. On the other hand, the dance forms did not adapt to forums such as youth festivals. Some forms such as Dollu or Veeragase had been adapted to such stage shows, he said.

Bhaskar Rai Kukkuvalli, writer and faculty member of Gurupura Government College, who traced the history of Tulu Yakshagana episodes, appealed to writers and performers to uphold quality of dialogues. He pointed out that writers and performers in the past have contributed a lot in this direction.

Pundikai Ganapayya Bhat, faculty member of Moodbidri-based Dhavala College, said in a session on Saturday that pad-danas (sung narratives) could be effectively used to build the history of the region.

However, care should be taken to ensure that what was stated in the oral history was adequately verified. The sung narratives could be complimentary sources not the primary, he added.

The narratives were rich in description of warriors in particular. The narratives could help in rescuing the history from being the story of those who had won wars and make them broad-based.

During the inauguration of the seminar on Saturday, Mangalore University Vice-Chancellor T.C. Shivashankara Murthy and Alva’s Education Foundation Chairman M. Mohan Alva stressed the need for ensuring that the history of Tulunadu was captured in all its variety instead of merely being politically oriented.

More In: Mangaluru