LIFE

Handicrafts to the fore

From the ongoing show at Sooryakanti.

From the ongoing show at Sooryakanti.  

Handicraft items fashioned by the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes artisans, tribal food stalls and a collection of copies of various orders issued by the rulers of erstwhile Travancore are the main attractions at the ongoing handicrafts fair organised by the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Development Department at Sooryakanti on the Kanakakkunnu palace grounds.

The first stall at the fair features copies of orders (`Neettu') issued by the rulers of erstwhile Travancore on issues relating to those belonging to the backward classes. One such order pertains to the wearing of gold by women belonging to the lower casts. Issued in 1818, it permits women of the `sudra and Ezhava' castes to wear gold ornaments.

Another order issued in 1859 gives women of the `Channa' community the right to cover their bosom. A similar order issued in 1865 permits women of all castes to cover their bosom.

On the education front, the order issued in 1920 sanctioning noon-meals for poor students is of interest, as is the order of 1933 relating to the setting up of night-schools for students from the lower castes.

Another attraction at the fair is the stall featuring the traditional doctors of the tribal communities. Here the visitors can have their `naadi' checked and get prescriptions for anything from arthritis to headaches.

At a nearby stall, they can also savour `chukku kaapi,' `pappadam' and `ariyunda' - all prepared in the tribal way. Various Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes' cooperatives have put up preparations for sale.

At one stall visitors can purchase cloves, cardamom, pepper and mustard - hand-picked from the high ranges. Similarly, honey gathered from forests and purified at the centres of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Development Department is also put up for sale.

Those inclined to wear hand-woven clothes can have the run of the stalls featuring handloom products. Also, those looking for souvenirs with an ethnic touch can shop at the stalls featuring hand-carved statuettes of wild animals and birds.

After the shopping spree, the visitors can relax and take in the performances of ethnic art forms on the nearby stage.

By G. Mahadevan

Photo: SM

Recommended for you