Telangana

Megaphone amplifying the impact of Sankranti tradition

A colourfully decorated bull with the musicians using a speaker to carry the message afar, at a locality in Hyderabad.

A colourfully decorated bull with the musicians using a speaker to carry the message afar, at a locality in Hyderabad.

The Sankranti tradition of Gangireddu melam has a wider reach as the folks playing the instrument have now incorporated amplifiers. The pipe instrument called shehnai ( sannai in Telugu) is not heard just in the street but across streets as many residents of Anand Bagh Colony, Khairatabad, and Banjara Hills are discovering.

“Earlier, they used to start coming from January 1 till Sankranti. It could be heard only in a small area. Now, it can be heard across the colony,” said a resident in Khairatabad.

Most of the men leading the colourful decorated bulls with bells and tassels hail from surrounding areas of Nalgonda, Warangal and Medak.

The festival observance is a relic of tradition from the harvest festival where farmers would gift new clothes, grain and money to the men leading the bulls.

FinMin’s interest

There have been other changes with the tradition which have been noted by India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Recd a video of a Gangireddulata, where alms are given thru a QR code! India’s #digitalpayment revolution, reaching folk artists. In AP + Telangana, Gangireddulavallu dress up old oxen no longer helpful on farms, walk door to door during fests, performing with their nadaswarams (sic),” tweeted Ms. Sitharaman recently.

“It is a wonderful change that people have shifted to cashless transactions due to COVID-19 and are using technology to keep alive a tradition. They come to Somajiguda in the morning, change their attire to a traditional one and go around apartments,” says artist Laxman Aelay, talking about the men who jog memories of the good ol’ rural life for city apartment dwellers.

The sannai players and decorated bulls have been the muse of Mr. Aelay for quite some time.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 1:10:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/megaphone-amplifying-the-impact-of-sankranti-tradition/article38261823.ece