At a time when most art forms of the Scheduled Tribes in the country have faded into oblivion, the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (KIRTADS) in Kozhikode is on a mission to revive and reacquaint them to the new generation of the respective tribes.
‘Kol attai, Thotti Attai, Sododimi…’ held in Kozhikode on Tuesday was an endeavour towards this end. The programme was the culmination of a 15-day training programme for youngsters from the Kattunaikka tribe in Wayanad with an aim to reacquaint them with their own dance forms. Twenty-five members of the tribe, including five trainers, took part in the training camp held on KIRTADS campus in Chevayur from December 1 to 15. The participants of the camp got an opportunity to present what they learnt on stage before an audience on Tuesday.
This is the third consecutive year the Aadikalakendram of KIRTADS is organising such a camp. Camps were held to revive endangered art forms such as Koraganrutham, Ooralikoothu and Paniyanrutham in the previous years. This year, it was the turn of Kolkkali, Vattakkali and a special dance form performed to celebrate a girl entering puberty, traditional to the Kattunaikka community.
These are dance forms that are performed through the night, but have been abbreviated to 30 minutes to suit the stage, without losing the traditional style and costumes. Noted folklorist and exponent of indigenous knowledge Raghavan Payyanad inaugurated the programme while senior administrative officer of KIRTADS T.K. Radhakrishnan presided.
Mr. Payyanad criticised the move by the State government to introduce the Malayalam language act and questioned where the language of the tribespeople featured in it. “They have lost their livelihood, their forests and even their Gods. Now they will also lose their language,” he said and urged the governments to let them keep their culture.