Arrival of tiger in Kawal facilitated making of the tudum kettle drum

Raj Gond elder Mandadi Isru (left) with the hide of the cow killed recently by a tiger.

Raj Gond elder Mandadi Isru (left) with the hide of the cow killed recently by a tiger.  

It is one of the 18 sacred musical instruments of Raj Gond Adivasis

The recent arrival of a tiger in Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in old united Adilabad district has curiously facilitated making of a new tudum, a kettle drum which is among the 18 sacred musical instruments of the Raj Gond Adivasis.

The aboriginal people could not replace the membrane of old damaged tudums with new ones for want of the 'right kind' of cattle hide for the last three decades.

The newly 'arrived' tiger killed a cow belonging to an ethnic farmer in Shettihadapnur village in Sirpur (U) mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district about a fortnight ago which made it possible for using its hide to replace the membrane of tudum drums. The cattle had been taken for grazing on the fringes of KTR near the Demmala Avval Pen temple of the Adivasis, a few km from Koinur village in the same mandal.

The Adivasis do not use the hide of cattle which die of natural causes or are slaughtered for meat.


"We use only the hide of an animal which is killed by a 'duvval' (tiger)," disclosed Mandadi Isru, the Raj Gond elder from Shettihadapnur, pointing towards a hide which was treated for preservation and hung for drying up at his residence.

It is apparently to maintain the purity of religious rituals and the instruments which are used in them that the god fearing ethnic people have put in place certain 'rules' which go in making of their musical instruments.

The tiger itself is considered to be a god by the aboriginal people which is perhaps why the hide of cattle it preys upon is considered to be pure.

"There was no dearth of hides about three decades back when tigers freely roamed these parts," Isru recalled.

"We used to lose at least three or four cattle every year," he added.

The Adivasi elder also revealed the fact that the hide of cattle slaughtered in sacrifice during the persa pen or bada dev puja was also permitted to be used in making the head of the musical instrument.

"That practice, however, has been stopped long back which necessitated that we rely on hides of cattle killed by tiger," he explained.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:43:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/arrival-of-tiger-in-kawal-facilitated-making-of-the-tudum-kettle-drum/article29790518.ece

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