Kerala

Chenda as livelihood and poll symbol

United Democratic Front candidate Usha Vijayan beating chenda to attract voters in Ward 7 of the Kudayathur grama panchayat Idukki.  

For Usha Vijayan chenda serves two purposes. It is a livelihood as well as the poll symbol for her. She is a chenda artist in a shinkarimelam troupe and a United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate contesting on chenda symbol.

At Kudayathur Junction, one can hear the sound of the percussion instrument. Ms. Vijayan and her campaign team are slowly approaching. One may not immediately comprehend why a woman is beating chenda. She stops for a while and seek the blessings of voters there. Notices with chenda symbol are distributed and the team moves on to another junction.

When chenda was allotted as the election symbol of the P.J. Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress(M), Ms. Vijayan, part of a Kudumbashree shinkarimelam troupe, thought she could use it as a medium to enter the heart of the electorate. This is the fourth time she is contesting from Ward 7 of the Kudayathur grama panchayat in Idukki. She had won thrice from the same seat earlier.

“Voters enjoy chendamelam in my election campaign. I hope my message through this medium easily reaches them. Our shinkarimelam troupe, Sree Mookambika, is familiar at festivals and private functions and I’m part of it for the past seven years,” Ms Vijayan says.

She says she is the only one contesting the polls from her 15-member troupe. “They also come to my support,” she says and adds that most of them are from her own ward.

“With no festivities in view of the restrictions imposed following the pandemic outbreak, I can sense people responding when the beating sound of the chenda is heard,” Ms Vijayan says.

She hopes that chenda as a medium and election symbol will fetch her dividends.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:46:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/chenda-as-livelihood-and-poll-symbol/article33234592.ece

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