Folk artistes seek govt.’s attention to their plight

Folk artistes performing outside a temple at Chinnavedampatti on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Siva SaravananS


With their livelihood being hit for two consecutive years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, folk artistes staged a performance at Chinnavedampatti on the outskirts of Coimbatore on Thursday urging the State government to provide cash assistance to all the artistes.

The event was held outside a temple in Chinnavedampatti, which saw the performances by nadaswaram and thavil players, besides those of folk arts.

According to K. Nanjappan, vice-president of Coimbatore District Association of Stage Play, Folk Arts and Nadaswaram Artistes, the Tamil months of Panguni, Chithirai and Vaikasi (from mid-March to mid-June) is when the artistes get most of the employment opportunities through temple festivals, weddings and other events. “Through our earnings in these three months, we sustain our families for the remaining nine months and pay back our loans,” he told The Hindu.

However, the nationwide lockdown in 2020 and the restrictions in April followed by the lockdown in May this year had robbed off their opportunities, causing financial distress to the artistes, he said.

The 60-year-old Mr. Nanjappan, who has been playing the percussion instrument thavil for the past 45 years, said that they had petitioned Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and the Coimbatore district administration in May regarding their plight, but no response had been received, so far.

His 32-year-old son N. Sathish, a fourth-generation thavil player, said that some of the folk artistes who were members of the welfare board received cash assistance of ₹ 2,000 last year from the State government. However, no cash assistance was provided to the artistes this year, he alleged. Many weddings that were held during the pandemic did not hire nadaswaram and thavil artistes despite these instruments being a part of weddings, he said.

With no other employment opportunities at hand, the folk artistes resort to taking loans from known circles and even mortgaging jewellery to manage the financial situation, Mr. Nanjappan said. “We have to somehow survive,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:57:49 PM |

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