Silambam has more takers now than ever before.
Silambam, one of the traditional martial art forms that witnessed a plunge, has started regaining its popularity, especially among the youths. Girls in particular seemed to have understood its importance. Two such are A. Ashrathi and Mumthika Asni who were motivated to learn the art.
Ashrathi, Std. VIII student of Jain Vidyalaya Matric H.S. School and Mumtika, a Std. VI student of Tagore Vidyalayam Matric H.S. School, developed an intense love for the art form. Mumtika drew her inspiration from her uncle M. Sahul Hameed, a Silambam master. Ashrathi was inspired by demonstration sessions on various martial arts held in the school premises as part of co-curricular activities."I wanted to learn Silambam for I believed that it would give me strength and confidence to fight my classmate, who has been fighting with me," says Ashrathi, and added that she developed a love for the art because it is "our own." "I was the first to enrol for the Silambam classes," she says."Once a person has been selected to learn Silambam, he/ she is taught correct behaviour such as master bow, and then begins to learn the basics of the art form without the stick," she adds.Ashrathi won a number of certificates at various levels, besides getting first prizes both at the State level and district level competitions in 2005 and 2006. Mumthika Asni has so far won certificates and awards such as Yuva Kala Bharathi Award and Kalai Ilan Chemmal Award. Ashrathi practises Silambam daily for at least an hour, while Mumthika devotes time for Silambam and yoga on alternate days.Silambam was relegated to the background, while karate and kungfu were gaining ground because Silambam was mostly taught by villagers and illiterates. But, nowadays, youth have developed a sense of love and pride towards their native martial art form. Truly, it is a sign of prosperity, says Sahul Hameed.