Madurai

‘Livelihood of folk artistes hit’

Folk artistes who came to the Virudhunagar Collectorate to submit a memorandum on Monday.  

Virudhunagar

With the State Government banning temple festivals owing to the second wave of COVID-19, the livelihood of folk artistes is hit hard as they have lost their “job season”.

“Even when many of us were expecting the Tamil months of Masi, Panguni, Chithirai and Vaikasi to keep us engaged in temple festivals to repay the loans we had got in the last year’s lockdown, the restrictions have come at the worst time,” said K. Alagesan, president of Virudhunagar district Drama, Folk Artists.

Most of the temple festivals are held in these four Tamil months and the folk artistes make most of their earnings in that season. “In the rest of the months, we take part in other functions and festivals which are less in number,” he added.

The folk artistes, involved in playing traditional musical instruments like thavil, nagaswaram, thappu and villipattu and folk dances like karagattam, mayilattam, oyilattam and Raja Rani attam, were all full-time stage performers.

“We know no other job and the livelihood for our family depends entirely on performances,” he added.

Many of the artists had turned to seeking alms using their profession by performing on streets. “Some have ended their lives unable to repay loans and run the family,” he rued.

Stating that the ₹ 1,000 assistance given last year by the Department of Art and Culture to the folk artistes was nowhere matching to the loss of income for a whole year, Mr. Alagesan said that if only the the temple festivals were allowed their livelihood could be ensured.

“The Government should give exemptions to the folk artistes to perform with 50% attendance. Otherwise an assistance of ₹ 10,00 to the folk artists,” a memorandum given to Virudhunagar Collector, R. Kannan said.

Virudhunagar district has got around 4,000 folk artistes.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 2:14:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/livelihood-of-folk-artistes-hit/article34303719.ece

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