Reclaiming public spaces

A Carnatic music session in progress at the heritage festival.

A Carnatic music session in progress at the heritage festival.   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Pondicherry Heritage Festival celebrates the city’s diversity

The Pondicherry Heritage Festival has seen an uptick in cultural events in the city ranging across painting shows and literary discussions to folk song performances and food trails.

On Sunday, one of the landmark streets in town turned child-friendly on Sunday as it was converted into a play zone devoid of any form of traffic — ‘car-free and care-free’ as the organisers put it.

Street festival

Between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the Eswaran Koil Street between Mission St and Grand Canal, featured a street festival for children, and families, under an initiative of the Pondicherry Heritage Festival.

The Street Play Pondicherry event was meant to revive the manner of experiencing public spaces the way it was meant to be “as we transform one of the streets in the heart of the town to be free of motorised traffic and clean for children to play”.

According to the festival hosts, historically as well, the streets in the Boulevard town was a place for social activity where people gathered, built relationships or shared thoughts about their world while children played in the streets without any safety concerns. Unfortunately, the streets have been lost to vehicles.

Children today need the chance to be outside, active, making friends and being part of their community just as much as the previous generations did.

Sense of community

Through this symbolic event, the Pondicherry Heritage Festival was turning the clock back to promote greater sense of community, overall happiness and reclaiming more friendly and safer streets for children. And, like other open streets around the world, Street Play Pondicherry was kept a free event that invited everyone to enjoy the heritage street without the presence of motorists.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Carnatic music students presented folk songs on nature in several languages. The renditions were in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Kashmiri and Rajasthani to the accompaniment of the arumukhanam — a six-faced percussion designed by S. Gopakumar, assistant professor of the Bharathiyar Palkalikoodam.

Popular events

One of the popular events has been the ‘Interpreting Heritage’ exhibition hosted at the Maison Colombani by 19 city-based artists.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:33:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/reclaiming-public-spaces/article26231357.ece

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