Sand mining sharks on the rampage, raze down Attappadi hills mercilessly
By Express News Service - PALAKKAD
Published: 25th November 2013 09:25 AM
Last Updated: 25th November 2013 09:26 AM
The new building for Govt Industrial Training Institute Attappadi opened by Hon.Deputy Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly Mr.Jose Baby on 23rd April 2010 at Mattathukad near Anakkaty.Mr.Raveendradas,President Attappadi Block Panchayath presided the function.Director of Employment and Training,Mr.Antony IAS,AHADS Director Unnial IAS members of panchayath,representetives of political parties,ITI staffs,students,tribal and other peoples of Attappadi attended the funtion.This Institute may become the No.1 Institute in Kerala by training and other extra carricular activities.
Elelakkaradi is a highly heroic group - dance in which almost the whole community of men, women and children participate. The dance is very common with the tribal called Irular of Attappadi in Palakkad district. The dance brings out the fight of the people against the wild bears which often attack their tribal hamlets. Hear the dancers move out in rhythmic steps, with vociferous shouts and war cries and keep time to the beatings of the primitive drums. The various stages in the fight against the wild beasts are very well presented.
Kaadar Nritham is a type of ribal dance in which Only women partake.It is a primitive dance of the Kaadar tribes of the forest of Kochi area. The performers arrange themselves in a semicircle. They hold the tip of their cloths in their hands to the level of the waist and wave it to various rhythms of the dance. It is a very simple but elegant tribal dance in slow steps.
Waynad district had different types of hill tribes of which the kurumbar and the kattunayakar are the most prominent. They perform a special type of dance which is staged in connection with marriages. Before marriage, the members of the families of both the bride and bridegroom and after marriage the newly - wedded couple perform this dance. After the return of the bridegroom with his bride to his family, all the members of his house household and the newly - wedded again repeat the dance.
Kaanikkar Nritham is a group dance of the kanikkar tribes. The dance is performed as a ritual offering. The steps of the dancers perfectly synchronise with the waving of the hands and beating of drums.
Panyar are another set of tribel inhabiting the hilly forests of Wayand district. Their dance is highly masculine and only men participate. Hear the dancers numbering about eight or ten stand in a circle with hands linked together. They have around with rhythmic flexions of the body and while moving stamp the ground in perfect rhythm to the loud beat of the primitive percussion instruments called Karu, Para, Udukku, etc. As the dance gathers momentum the circle is swiftly expanded and contracted and the dancers utter peculiar cries which gradually run up to a high pitch.
Man Kali is a tribal dance. It is mainly of two kinds. In one version, the Ramayana episode in which Sita is being enchanted by Maricha in the guise of a golden deer is enacted in graceful movements. In the second type, one man takes the role of a deer while another that of a hunter. The deer hopes about and jumps around. The hunter follows in close steps and his movements and gestures suggest drawing the bow, aiming it, hurling the spear, brandishing some wooden log, etc. the whole dance is performed to the rhythm of wild percussion instruments.
Paravalli Kali is a mixed dance of the aboriginals of dense forest of Travancore area in which both men and women participate. They dance holding arms together, or shoulder to shoulder, linked in a backlock posture. The dance develops into variety of pleasing pattern, in which the men and women change their positions which amazing speed. The entire group of dancers sing songs and move swift rhythm in a circle. The linked arms swing to the rhythm in a fascinating wavelike movement.
Thavalakali is a tribal dance in which a number of participants, usually boys, jump one above the other in succession, imitating the leaps of the frog.
Koorankali is another tribal dance which is similar to Mankali. Hear one man takes the role of a wild bear with another enacting the role of hunting dog. The movements are perfectly timed to the rhythmic beats of primitive drums. While this is going on, the large number of onlookers who form a circle round the two dancers, shout wild cries of joy with the occasional clapping of hands and jerky dances.
Edaya Nritham is the dance of the tribal shepherds. Both men and women participate. One of the shepherds sing. This is repeated in chorus by all the rest. As the singing is going in, one of them imitate the special sounds of shepherds driving their sheep. The dance as such consists of someone of the group crying successively to imitate the wild animals that try to attack the sheep and also the thief who tries to robe them while the other members of the group very adeptly bring out the terror on the faces of the lamps and their mournful walings.
Naikar Kali is popular among the tribes in Wyanad and Malappuram districts. It is more ritualistic than entertainment oriented. This is performed as pooja to family deities and during marriages. When the instruments, Thappu and Kuzhal start playing, the naikars begins their performance. With jingling anklets round their legs, they dance round in clock-wise and anti-clockwise movements to the accompaniment of the instruments. In between they shout 'Hoy Hoy'. Thappu and Kuzhal are the musical instruments used.
Mudiyattom, also known as Neelilyattom, is a tribal dance in which only women partake. The women stand on small wooden blocks and the dance begins with slow and simple movements of the body which culminate in graceful movements of the head. The uncombed hair of the participants flow down and swing in rhythmic waves. The instruments used are Karu, maram, para, kakkaro etc.
Gadhika is a ritual dance performed by Adiya tribes of Wayanad district. The art from is meant to care ailments. The performance is also done as part of a ritual for having a safe delivery of child. Gadhika begins with the principal performer invoking lord Siva for his help to cure the patients. Central to the ritual is the belief that a person falls sick when the gods are angry. The prayers are in a strange dialect, which has a pronounced Kannada diction. Once Lord Siva was brought down to earth and he was pleades by the invocations of the worshippers. The other gods, goddesses were enrolled by the performance. These gods include Chamundi, Maniamma, Malankali (Siva) and Karinkali. Simultaneously other actors dressed in colourful costumes also move centralistic which is titled with a small structure that resembles a temple. The participants include men dressed as women whose function is to welcome the gods and goddesses arriving in response to the summons from Siva. Gadhika is usually performed during the month of Mithunam, which falls in June-July period. The participants go to houses from which they had received invitations, conduct rituals, collect the oblations and offer them to gods at a ceremony conducted on the banks of a river.
These pictures have been taken during my stay in the Silent Valley National Park over the past nine months. I had ventured into this year-long project voluntarily as I was inspired by some of the great people who worked hard to preserve this biodiversity for the generations-to-come. Their dedication, commitment and perseverance paved way to the Silent Valley tropical rain forests being declared as a National Park in November 1984.
What trail worth remembering would I be leaving if I don't capture this legacy?
I dedicate my work to the movement behind the existence of the "Greatest Expression of Life on Earth".
I am aware that I have managed to cover only one percent of this biodiversity. I am happy that I have made this attempt as part of the preservation campaign. I hope that my pictures will serve as an eye opener to the people who are still not convinced about what the Silent Valley National park holds in her bosom and are trying to asphyxiate the life that is bubbling in these forests in the name of development.
This is just a beginning and I sincerely hope that my attempt would contribute a drop to the ocean of the Save Silent Valley Campaign.
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My photographs here are the product of long years of my committed and often tiring, painful efforts to know my land, my roots. This web site aims to kindle the inquisitiveness of those wishing to know Malabar visually. A place where legends, lores and realities fuse seamlessly into a vibrant melange of traditions, culture, unique landscapes, against the backdrop of a long and tumultous history.
I hope you would find that many of these pictures transcend the realms of mundane chronicling or mere imagination. They span the last ten years of Malabar. Malabar is changing rapidly and many of these images have since become a collective memory. Like elsewhere, Malabar too is coping with the erosion of its hoary cultural heritages and values, and some of its fast depleting natural resources, are already facing extinction.
For the photos of malabar by NP JAYAN Please visit www.malabarphoto.com
Attappady, one of the prominent forest regions of Kerala is situated in
the north eastern part of the Palghat district of Kerala. Irular,
Mudugar and Kurumbar are the main tribal groups. They live in forest in
closely built huts called ‘Ooru’ (hamlets) Government have constructed
some concrete programmes to uplift the tribals.Attappadimountain valley nestled in the Western Ghats ranges is in Palakkad district of Kerala, south India. Attappady is a tribal abode.This 765 square Kilometres of area is bounded on the east by the
Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu, north by the Nilgiris, south by the
Palghat taluk and on the west by the Karimba, Pottassery and Mannarghat
revenue villages of Mannarghat taluk of the Palghat District and Ernad
taluk of the Malappuram district. The elevation of the Attappady valley
ranges from 750-1000 metres.
The majority of the tribal people in
Attappadi use arrack (country liquor) and for quite a number of them,
it is their main food! Non-tribal people, the local settlers are no
exception. It is a common knowledge, that because of excess demand of
this stuff, many venture to produce it in their vicinity, against all
governmental rules. It is the most profitable and thriving non-licensed
cottage industry! This illicit distilling goes on secretly in hilly
terrains not easily accessible to the excise officials. "Koda", a basic
ingredient to prepare arracks is usually stored in the homes of these
Attappadi is inhabited by three ethnic tribal groups viz., Irulas,
Kurumbas and Mudgas. Their weddings include many rituals and
ceremonies. Wedding is very common even at the age of 12 or 13. The
wedding is usually conducted in the groom's house. The groom has to
give dowry to the bride's father. They give a grand feast on the
wedding day. Vegetable food is a must. Family relationships are not
given much priority. The son even marries the second wife of his
father. Polygamy is prevalent among them.
The woman before her delivery is kept in a specially made separate hut
near her house. When the pain starts, a mid wife who has mastery over
sorcery, accompanies her. After delivery the women and the baby are
declared unclean for six months. She leads a peaceful life without
doing any household works for three months. Husband does all the works
at that time (probably regretting making her pregnant!).
When a person dies, couriers travel through out the village annoucing
the death news.. Chanting the name of the dead person, the relatives
and the neighbors sprinkle coriander mixed water on the dead body. The
dead body , completely covered with a white cloth is then placed in a
bamboo cot. A coin (nettikkasu) is pasted on the forehead. The people
who come for the burial service set right all the problems that they
had with the man and thus he is expected to be completely freed for his
eternal journey. A whole day is spent dancing and singing
(sapparayattam), thanking god for keeping the man so far. In that dance
they show symbols that God gave and God took. We cannot see Adivasi
people crying when somebody dies. When the father dies, the first born
in the family shaves his head and when the mother dies the second son
shaves his head. If there are no males in the family girls are supposed
to do so.
Irula tribe leads in literacy and in education comparing other tribal
groups. They are very interested to learn more. Tribal Mission strives
hard to shed light to their darkened lives. As a result of the ministry
among the tribals many have turned their hearts for the glory of God.
We request all of yours valuable prayers for this ministry.
Tribal population threatened by crippling disease
A deadly maiming disease called `Thrombo Angiitis Obliterans' (TAO), is threatening the life of tribals in Attapadi. The flow of spurious liquor and the widespread cultivation of ganja in the forests of Attappady have abetted the spread of TAO. A number of tribals have succumbed to the killer disease. Many have lost their legs. An unofficial survey found that more than 200 people were affected by the disease.
The TAO, commonly known as Buergers disease, is the spin-off of the large-scale substance abuse and excessive smoking. Much before the arrack ban was implemented in the whole of Kerala, the Attappady tribal belt was declared as a 'total liquor-prohibited zone'.
But, the liquor ban has no effect here. The Attappady Hills are floating in spurious liquor. Earlier, liquor was sold only in arrack and toddy shops, but now it is available at every nook and corner of Attappady. The State Government has miserably failed to stop the flow of spurious liquor and the large-scale cultivation of ganja in the Attappady Hills.
The Excise and Police Departments are said to be hand-in-glove with the liquor mafia. The tribal hamlets have become centres of the spurious liquor trade and in most of the 170 hamlets, many of the men and women have become addicted to narcotic substances.
A health survey conducted in the tribal hamlets in 1999 found that 873 tribals are alcohol addicts, of which 152 are women. Out of this, 559 belong to the age group of 10-40 years.
The blood vessels of a TAO-affected patient expand and leads to a rupture. This usually occurs in the feet, as the tribals walk barefoot. Once affected, the disease quickly spreads to other parts of the body, eventually resulting in the death of the patient. In most cases, amputation could have saved the lives, but tribals are not willing to lose their limbs even at the cost of their lives.
Majority of the tribals do not seek any sort of medical aid. Patients afflicted with TAO feel that they have no means to go for treatment to far-off places like the Medical Colleges of Thrissur or Kozhikode. They are not in a position to go for costly treatment when their very survival itself is uncertain.
Some of the doctors of Attappady who tried to help the TAO-affected feel that medical practitioners can only help by giving treatment and advice. When the tribals are reluctant to cooperate, there is little the doctors can do. The doctors of the area say that the tribals have been found to have traces of sickle-cell-anemia in their genes which makes them easily vulnerable to TAO.
Some years back, liquor was taboo for tribals. They lived on the forest products and cultivated food crops for their livelihood. Once they lost their land and their traditional habitat on account of the inflow of 'outsiders', they became victims of illicit liquor and the ganja mafia.
Tribal activists complain that the authorities who are busy preparing 'masterplans' and other big welfare schemes over the years, spending several millions for 'tribal development' turned a blind eye to the spread of this crippling disease which may wipe out the entire tribal population of Attappady, if left unchecked.
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(From The Hindu)