These are novel ways of learning about our culture.Will Generation Next, who doesn't have time to zap through cartoon channels, have an inclination for pursuits such as learning yakshagana and staging one? Well, the answer is a resounding `yes', if one goes by the response received by the conveners of P.V. Aithal English Yakshagana Balaga, Panambur whose dream of staging a yakshagana in English was realized recently.The balaga, which is part of Yaksha Nandana, took up the `Lava-Kusha' prasanga from the Ramayana for their maiden effort at involving children in English Yakshagana as part of Panambur Sankranti Utsava 2007 on the premises of Sri Nandaneshwara Temple at Panambur near here. Incidentally, Yaksha Nandana, promoted by former Suratkal MLA P.V. Aithal has been a front-runner in staging Yakshaganas in English since the `80s.His sons Sathyamurthy Aithal, a leading surgeon and Santhosh Aithal, a leading advocate have taken up on themselves the task of keeping alive their father's legacy of nurturing and promoting the yakshagana art form in English. While Yaksha Nandana has so far worked zealously in this regard, the thought of involving children in `English Yakshagana' project was a recent one, which took shape in November last. Incidentally, the project was made more meaningful given that Yaksha Nandana is celebrating its silver jubilee year this year.
Interesting ideaThe brothers, with assistance from Shankarnarayana Mairpadi chose nearly 25 children in the age group of five to 15 years hailing from Panambur and surrounding areas and trained them in the basics of Yakshagana for nearly 45 days and followed it up with dialogue delivery training for next 15 days. The children did not disappoint and the same was evident from the reaction of the audience who saw the maiden performance of `Lava-Kusha' at the Utsava. Mr. Mairpady was the most satisfied person for it was he who worked hard with the children for the two months in the run up to the performance. "It was our concerted effort to bring children towards Yakshagana and we have started out in the right direction," he says. The enthusiasm shown by the children in mastering this art form, their zeal for effective dialogue delivery was there for all to see. Mr. Mairpady adds, "It was a Herculean task in training the children." This is certainly a novel way to teach mythology to children.