Community College students of Pondicherry University have unbridled fun at Marutham Vizha

With the accompaniment of swelling sound of parai, men bearing the kavadi circled the campus and the women kept rhythm with the karagam on their heads effortlessly at the Community College of the Pondicherry University.

Reviving folk traditions, rural arts and traditional foods was the theme of the day-long festival named Marutham Vizha.

The Marutham Vizha was held for the third year at the college. Initiated by the Department of Tamil, the festival was named after one of the five landscapes — Marutham (denotes the plains) — classified in Sangam literature.

Apart from allowing the students to have unbridled fun and exhibit their talents, the event gave them an opportunity to discover their cultural roots, said organisers. Prior to this, students did not know that culture and art forms are linked with land and labour, said Lakshmi Dathai, lecturer, Tamil Department. “For instance, the parai was developed to keep away wild animals with the sound. The kavadi was devised as a means to carry objects of worship to Murugan temples on the hills.”

The folk dance and music traditions are all linked with labour and leisure. Farmers in Marutham came up with the ettra paattu as a way to make the labour of drawing water from the well, lighter, explains Ms. Lakshmi. Students performed various traditional folk forms such as the silambam, thapattam, oyilattam and naatupura pattu.

“Such an event also encourages students to look into the forgotten traditions as they have to research and rehearse before for their performances,” said R. Thara, another lecturer. The campus was also dotted with stalls selling ‘gramiya samaiyal’ or dishes prepared withkambu, ragi, corn and horsegram. Students created various recipes out of these traditional grains and sold them, providing nutritional information alongside.

Raajiv Yadhuvansi, registrar, Pondicherry University inaugurated it and K.S. Kumari, principal, presided.

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