Bathukamma survives in its original form in Gond habitations

Raj Gond women playing Boddemma at Mankapur in Adilabad district.  

Curiously, it is not in the heart of Telangana, but in the aboriginal tribe habitations of Adilabad district that the festival of Bathukamma, or Boddemma as it is known locally, survives in its original form. The women who dance around the holy Boddemma bavi and gadde, the pit in which sacred flowers and a lamp symbolising the presence of goddess Gouramma are placed, sing their own songs against the trend of playing recorded songs while the dancing goes on.

Telangana movement

The festival ‘arrived’ in the tribal belt during the separate Telangana movement and has stayed since.

The culturally-inclined Adivasis apparently got attracted to the aesthetics as the nine-day celebrations involve making of the flowery Boddemma cone and singing and dancing in the evenings.

Mankapur village in Gudihatnoor mandal is an example of the enthusiasm of the ethnic people towards Bathukamma. For the last 12 years, Pendur Chandrakala has organised the event in her village spending around ₹5,000 every time she does so. Three young women from the village studying undergraduate courses in Ichoda, Pendur Shantha, Madavi Sridevi and Kursenga Aruna, learnt the nuances of the festival, including Boddemma songs, from their Telugu classmates. While retaining these songs, they also wrote lyrics in Gondi and have produced seven songs.

“Gangal Gourubai, selad thaka....”, “Gourammal bonandu...”, “Bona yo Boddemma...”, “Podese pesival baladesu...” are some of the songs which the women sing while dancing around the bavi and gadde. As the lilt conforms with that of traditional Gondi songs, the ambience is vibrantly magical, even in other villages.

“We first saw the Bathukamma performances during the Telangana struggle when we were taken to Ichoda to participate in the protests featuring the singing and dancing. It is from there that we brought the culture to our village,” recalled Ms. Chandrakala.

“Our women have continued with the celebrations every year but no help has come our way by way of funds to organise the festival. The government should recognise our effort in saving the tradition in its pristine form,” she observed, as she sought funds for celebrating Bathukamma with continued gusto.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 6:04:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bathukamma-survives-in-its-original-form-in-gond-habitations/article29587326.ece

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