July 2, 2022

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The art-form of Karakattam and the catch 22 situation of its artists

3 min read

The Kerala Nattukala Kshema Sabha (KNKS), an outfit that works for the promotion of native artforms within the state, has demanded that Karakattam (often referred to as Kumbakkali in sure portions) be recognised as the rural artwork kind of Kerala.

Karakattam is a people artwork carried out at fairs, meetings, roadshows and basically at Mariamman fairs. It’s one of the ingenious traditions that owe its life to Mariamman, the rain goddess. Whilst the artwork variety isn’t demise as such, it has gone through a phenomenal stage of exchange and adaptation lately.

“Karakattam and agriculture have a hyperlink. It’s because, in Kerala after Makarakkoythu (harvest season), the Mariamman pooja is within the Medam month and Mariamman is regarded as because the goddess of rain. And that’s why we wish Karakattam to be recognised as the rural artwork kind of Kerala,” says Jayakrishnan, leader coordinator of the KNKS.

Despite the fact that it has roots within the rain goddess, the shape is ready extra than simply worship – it’s also about reversing the caste dominance. “For us, Karakattam isn’t simply dancing to a few beats, it’s our tribute to Amma. Whilst women and men who carry out Bharatanatyam on tall phases and obtain applause from the elite elegance, we dance at the muddy flooring,” says Babu Raj, 50, a practitioner of Karakattam people artwork custom for over 40 years.

He provides, “Even if Karakattam is most commonly well-known in Tamil Nadu, it’s carried out in numerous portions of Kerala as smartly. In Palakkad itself, there are greater than 50 individuals who apply Karakattam and our performances get started from the month of December and cross on until Might. However post-Covid, our lives have by no means been the similar. There are not any performances because of executive restrictions and we’re suffering to satisfy our day by day wishes.”

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Babu says that Karakattam performances are characterized through numerous swaying and joyous banter.

“It calls for numerous apply and willpower. 3 tiers of flower displays of various colours sit down on best of a container stuffed to the brim with both water, rice, or soil. All of that is balanced at the head of a Karakattam dancer whilst she or he dances.” says Babu. Different highlights come with blowing fireplace, placing needles into their eyes, and preserving steadiness whilst conserving a bottle parallel to the bottom at the performer’s again. “We comic story, make amusing of the target market and every now and then need to maintain under the influence of alcohol males. However regardless of all this, we placed on a grin on our faces and take a look at our highest to entertain our target market.”

However many Karakattam artists like Babu aren’t getting the popularity in Kerala like in TN.

Babu says, “There are lots of folks and we’re right here to triumph over the dancing barrier through accomplishing this system with out discrimination and inspiring communal unity. We wish to be at the identical degree as dancers of different artwork paperwork. And we’ve hope that after the call for of Kerala Nattukala Kshema Sabha is agreed upon, all of us will likely be handled similarly.”

(Pooja Unnikrishnan is an intern with indianexpress.com, based totally in Palakkad.)

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