Monday, September 26, 2011

Capturing the Folklore. aspects...

He is a friend.. blogger.. and a passionate photographer. His name is Raghavendra Rao.His blog is special for me because he brings the folklore through his camera with great wisdom and simplicity.I love the way he captured the folklore of his home town Gowribidanoor with great passion and love .His photographs with small write up  giving an insight into this world of Folklore.

I am hoping to translate this lore into English soon . He has succeeded in capturing something which is so precious, yet so many of us taken for granted and i wish him to continue capturing our rural heritage . Please see the link for his blog

ಬುಗುರಿ ಆಟ

         ಈ ಆಟವನ್ನು  ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ  ಗಂಡು  ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಹಳ್ಳಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ಬುಗುರಿ  ಆಟವನ್ನು  ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ  ಆಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ   ಬುಗುರಿ  ಆಟಕ್ಕೆ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ  ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆ  ಸಮೃದ್ದಿಯಾಗಿ  ಮಹಾಭಾರತ  ಕಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಂಡವರು  ಮತ್ತು  ಕೌರವರು  ಆಟದ  ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ  ಕಾಣಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

Posted by Raghavendra Rao

ಕುರ್ರ ಮಾಮ

  ಇವರು ನಮ್ಮ ಕಡೆ  ಹಾಲಕ್ಕಿ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ ನುಡಿಯುವರಂತೆ........ ನಮ್ಮ ಗಡಿಗೆ ಹೊಂದಿ ಕೊಂಡಂತೆ  ಆಂಧ್ರ  ಪ್ರದೇಶದ  ಇವರನ್ನು " ಕುರ್ರ  ಮಾಮ  ಅಥವಾ ಕೊಂಡ ದೇವಡು "  ಅಂತ  ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು   ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ  ಹೇಳುವ ಮುನ್ನ  ಈ  ರೀತಿ  ಪದಗಳನ್ನು  ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ.
                         ಕೊಂಡ ದೇವುಡ 
                         ಕುರ್ರ ಮಾಮಡ
ಒನ್ನದಿ  ಒಂನತ್ಲ ..............ಲೇನದಿ  ಲೇನತ್ಲ  ಚಬುತಾನು................ ಎಂದು  ಪ್ರಾರಂಬಿಸಿ  ಬಹಳ ಚಾಲಾಕಿ  ತನದಿಂದ ಭವಿಷ್ಯ  ನುಡಿಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು ಹೆಚ್ಹಾಗಿ  ಕೋರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದು  ಹಳೇ ಬಟ್ಟೆಗೂ  ಅಥವಾ  ೧೦ ರೂಪಾಯಿಗು  ತೃಪ್ತಿ  ಹೊಂದುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರು  ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ  ಕಾಣೆ ಆಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ತುಸು  ದಿನ ಕಳೆದರೆ
ಜಾನಪದ  ಕೊಂಡಿ  ಕಳಿಚಿದಂತೆ ಸರಿ.
Posted by Raghavendra Rao


Friday, September 23, 2011

Handmade Mavinkurve locks -a dying art

 Indigenous mechanical devices
 Famous Handmade Mavinkurve locks                         Photo Varsha Samuel
The dark kitchen rooms, festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk musical performance at night , the smell of  firewood, ,the kerosene lamps.. .…always stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

 I remember the big wooden chest where my grandmother keeps some unusual sweets (may be brought in the village fair) as a treasure, It was always locked with the metal Mavinkurve  lock..The key in black thread always hanged in her neck. When she opens the lock mean there is a treat for us.

Now the key is with me with lost lock and for me it’s an ornament .I use it as a pendent in my silver chain .I still have it and I feel proud of it. As it has a story, emotions, and my childhood memories with it. Strangely I never knew when i was a child these handmade key was made in Mavinkurve Island where now I plan my cultural study programmes!!. The story continued..!

Mavinkurve is an island on the bank of the Sharavthi River at Honnavar. Konkan Railway runs through this island.This island Mavin Kurve, was a settlement of iron smiths. Their locks were famous at one time! Mavin Kurve was famous for this handmade locks .There were locksmiths family who makes this lock migrated from this place long back. This is a story now.

The shopkeepers of old shops in Honnavar and mavinkurve still uses these locks in their shops and they are the proud owners of this ancient Mavinkurve locks and used by 3 generations. They show that how it has got double locking system and better then any other locks.

The history of lock and key :
Traditionally locks were made of wood, then with the invention of brass, steel and other metals, locks could be manufactured of higher quality components and more intricate designs.

The evolution of lock technology has taken centuries of continual development to get to the level it is at today, with many talented individuals and mechanical engineers improving and refining their predecessor’s original design.
The Egyptians were, according to historians, the first to create a locking mechanism manufactured out of wood some four thousand years ago. The lock was of simple but effective design and required a key to operate it.

Major lock manufacturers are now turning to China for production, it is gradually becoming all the more rare to find a locally manufactured product, although they still are available.

To pin point a specific point in history where the end of handmade locks came about most sources refer to the 1840’s. This is the decade in which the industrial revolution was born in America, not too long after the revolution, mass production came into effect, and blacksmithing was slowly phased out of lock manufacture. 

There aren’t many advances in the art of lock and key making now except the advancements in electronic locks. Locksmithing may be a dying art but lock and keys are here to stay for as long as we want to secure something.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

These letters bring good feelings ...!

Amma and Savi

                                                        Photo: Varsha Samuel Rajkumar

Sam, Varsha and their daughter Joe visited Honnavar last month.  Varsha writes from the heart.. and so.. it means a lot to me..

 Savi's Amma and Appa came to Honnavara about 40 years back to study the folk culture of the place for their doctorate degrees. 
The research became a passion and even after getting their mandatory degrees, they continued their work with the tribals and have settled there since.
Over the years they have documented possibly every facet of tribal life at Honnavara and the nearby villages. They have set up a small museum of folk art and crafts and everyday implements. Ironically, when we visited a Halakki tribal home, Savi carried along musical instruments and ornaments from her collection to take along! The jewelery the Halakkis wear today and the instruments they play are not authentic but improvised versions.

Amma has a thriving herb and medicinal plant garden in her back yard that she has tended with care over the years. Her knowledge of the same is impressive! Show her a leaf, a flower or a berry and she's quick to tell you the common name, the botanical name, whether it's edible or not, it's medicinal uses... and all with an utterly charming smile


Amma's bustling kitchen is simple to the core yet filled with love and warmth. The food that she churns out is simply delicious! The aromas wafting out of her little culinary kingdom tantalize your senses even before they tickle your taste buds and you're captivated. Once you've sat down cross legged on a local grass mat with an array of tempting local delicacies (aesthetic appeal nowhere forgotten), lovingly served on a fresh green banana leaf before you... it's the start of a divine journey with no signs of a destination anywhere on the horizon...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chai Chat - an invitation to pursue your passion

 jaya narayan

We all work for a living BUT do we truly, deeply, passionately love what we do? Very few amongst us actually do.
Most of us have resigned to the fact that enjoying what we do and making money are mutually exclusive.
Now meet Savita, a dear friend and a fellow co traveler in the journey of personal growth. Savita to me represents someone who has nurtured a unique dream and has been able to make it commercially viable.

I hope her story can help us review our strengths, passions and avenues to bring them to life.
Me: Tell me something about what you do?
Savita: I have created “Buda Folklore” that is located in Honnavur in the Uttara Kannada region of Karnataka. Buda Folklores' vision is to emerge as a focal knowledge center for folk culture and heritage. We plan to create a folklore research center with an extensive database on various tribes and indigenous communities thereby ensuring public access and awareness about folklore.
We do the following -
  • Education
  • Publication
  • Research and Documentation
  • Production
  • Community development
  • Conservation
Our focus is on -
  • Propagating the knowledge of folklore of Uttara Kannada to the world
  • Making folklore traditions relevant to current world scenarios across various application
  • Creating a learning community that explore folklore knowledge and its application in contemporary situation.
  • Exploring connections and commonalities with folklore traditions across India and the world.
  • Sharing knowledge-online
  • Enabling continuity of folklore
Me : How did you discover your love for this area of work ? What about you (as a person) makes this area special?
Savita: I grew up in a context where village life was valued and we had close relationships with indigenous communities. Their dark kitchens, open bathrooms, the festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk music, the smell of firewood, and the kerosene lamps stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

I interacted closely with the tribals who were affectionate, content and happy people. I saw them transforming into scholars of great knowledge. They could recognize hundreds of medicinal plants, make tools and toys on the go. They would sing songs based on epics and their perspective on these epics was so different from what we read in books. I experienced community living with their rituals and festivals. They enjoyed an intimate connection with nature. Every part of their life involved nature. There was simplicity and wisdom in their way of living.

When I went to the city to work as a teacher. I missed that part of me. I realized that this unique context provided me a perspective that others who were city bred lacked. I also found a lot of ignorance about tribes / tribal living.

I realized there was immense scope to explore new avenues, revisit documented knowledge at field level, and showcase their work. I painted the canvas to create “Buda folklore”. Building on our existing relationship with the local communities I started examining ways of facilitating small scale low impact cultural tourism to the area. I involved the local communities to help diminish the negative cultural impacts that tourism has especially on the young people of the communities.

Today, we have been embraced by everyone who values our wisdom and traditions.

Me: How do you make your passion earn money?
Savita: I have combined my passion with education and community development. Honnavar the place itself was a great advantage for me to attract people. The geographical landscape of Honnavar with the Western Ghats on one side and the Sharavathi River and the Arabian sea on the other side is unique in its location.

At first, I took my friends on a holiday to stay with my parents and enjoy the local cuisine. Then I invited a group of my students to experience Honnavar .Then I invited schools with nominal fee. Then I invited students from Mount Carmel College for internships for a month to documentation work.

Now we have expanded - have a multitude of offerings
  • Workshops on medicinal plants, folk art, mat weaving, folk drinks, uncultivated plants.
  • Honoring folk artisans
My next plan is to initiate a pilot project in the region to develop artisan community centers that would act as culture center for the community as well as a place for visitors to go and come away with a better understanding of the community and the local culture.

I am able to recover all my costs and invest the money back to the communities. We invite schools, environmentalists, designers, historians, botanists, food technologists, culture travelers, architects through our various programs. We provide them an opportunity to interact, observe, and learn by living with the tribes in Uttara Karnataka.

Me: What gives you the determination to work around challenges / obstacles?
Savita : Working with the community is not an easy task. For them visualizing the long term benefits is not easy May be its our need to conserve or to preserve. I have several limitations. The biggest challenge is working without appropriate communication medium -brochure, website, blogs, posters etc. Communication plays an important role in this kind of work. But what helps me is so many people joining hands, I see friends helping me in writing proposals for funds etc. I see more and more educational institutions sending in their students here.

Me : What is your message to others who are waiting at the threshold?
Savita : If you are really passionate about something and if you truely believe in it then take a deep dive. Until then your soul will be restless until you take that decision.
This path gives you strength.
It becomes your identity.
It becomes your life and soul.
Money follows.

Traditional Baskets and other weaving crafts with natural fibers in Uttara Kannada-western Ghat region

  While  weaving craft with natural fibers  is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say j...