EVENT Sports exhibition by school students brought out the significance of ancient Tamil games
Muthu Selvan, a class IX student swirls the silambam with ease. Tamil teacher Kaveri Manian directs him and he increases the pace and all you see is a blurred movement of the stick. “This is an efficient form of self defence. Even if someone throws an object at him, it won’t hit him,” says Kaveri Manian, explaining the ancient Tamil sport.
‘Exspo’, an exhibition of various games and sports by students of TVS Higher Secondary School showcased the significance and benefits of different traditional games and linked each sport to the academic subjects. Over 1,000 children participated in the two-day expo with 200 models on display.
A separate section on ancient Tamil folk games threw light on the mental abilities and physical benefits that a player gets from playing the games. “No game is meaningless and purposeless,” says Uma Malini, a Tamil teacher. “These games might look silly and lame. But playing them can develop simple calculative abilities in small children and help improve vocabulary and pronunciation.” Games like Pallankuzhi and Poo Parikka Varugirom are designated as women’s games. The former improves arithmetic skills and fast mind calculation and the latter is a time-pass game meant for correcting Tamil pronunciation.
“Though some games were meant for women, there was no discrimination in the olden days. Most of these folk rural games were played by both genders and women too participated actively in the outdoor sports. There are literary references to this,” says Uma Malini. She asks her student Jaya to sing a song from Kutrala Kuravanji and the girl unleashes a 10-stanza song on the sport called Kuravanji or called as Pozhil Vilayattu . “It’s nothing but the modern day picnic. Those days, picnic was called a game as people would be physically active outdoors. Cooking, painting, singing and dancing were parts of the Pozhil Vilayattu . It nurtured art skills among the people,” says Jaya.
Games like Aadu Puliyattam, Nondi, Pandi and Thisai Vilayattu played in large groups and known for developing team spirit. They also exercise the body.. The nondi game involves continuous hopping on one leg and pandi is sort of a high jump. Aadu Puliyattam is a chasing game where the tiger-attired person chases the person who dons the goat through a maze. Other sports like Oru Kodam thanni yeduthu, Kaalattu mani Kaiyattu mani and Varuthu puli are more like playful songs with colloquial lyrics in rural Tamil. “They improve mind-reading, word building, memory power and singing ability,” says Kaveri Manian.
If the Tamil department had put up an earthy display, the science wing’s expo spoke of aerodynamics, mechanical engineering, ergonomics and automobile designing in sports like car-racing, biking, bungee jumping and Para-gliding. Conventional games like cricket, hockey, chess and football and their relationship with the various academic subjects were also explained.