Saturday, April 28, 2012

We need volunteers !

We are proud to inform you that we have added another location to the buDa Folklore Map. We are setting foot in Angadibail ,Ankola! In addition to our existing centre at Honnavar, the new one at Ankola will offer students and researchers a wider perspective on folk culture, environment and sustainable development.

While we are in the process of making the Folklore Research and Study centre at  Angadi bail functional by June 2012, we would like to have volunteers to help us set-up our new unit.
buDa folklore have come out with a new  set up @Angadibail 40km from Ankola town spread over in 16 acres of fertile land and surrounded by western Ghats and picturesque of hills.

                   Water is abundant in the form of streams and natural fountains

                      Angadibail is a perfect blend of malnad and costal weather

1. Green architecture and design - Starts in the month of   May
Existing building requires modification in way that reflects Sustainable architecture with traditional construction methods under the lens of environmental consciousness Infrastructure Building. In the area of engineering, design and architecture - We are looking for enthusiasts, specialists and professionals who can design:  an art & interaction space community kitchen and utility space , rooms / dormitories for visiting students, artisans and facilitators. and eco-friendly toilets and bathrooms.,
We want volunteers who are open to brainstorm ideas, draw-up a blueprint and guide the local folk in implementation of the plan and construction. For the construction, we would like to use locally available material to ensure it is sustainable, conducive for the local environment and cost effective.
Volunteers will be provided,
•             Simple food and basic accommodation during the stay.
•             Support of the locals in the construction activity
•             Construction material 

2. Livelihood programme – Starts in the month of   May
It is the season for kokum fruit and the local villager’s largely ignore the value of this fruit .They dry the fruit in an unhygienic way any sell in the local market for throw away prices They are not equipped with  modern processing methods to preserve the juice and bottling techniques
The seeds were used to make kokum butter which has great medicinal value and we lost this tradition.
In the area of sustainable development, engineering and food science we are looking for enthusiasts, and specialists who can help us preserve the Kokum fruit that is available in plenty in this part of the Western Ghats.
Kokum is used to make a local delicacy called solkadi and is also used to make a great cooling health drink - Kokum juice/Sherbet. These delicacies can be made round the year provided the fruit is dried and preserved in the summer months. We would like volunteers to teach and demonstrate to the local village women - hygienic, simple and cost effective ways to dry and preserve this fruit. In the long run, this could also provide an alternate means of livelihood for the village folk.
Volunteers will be provided,
•             Simple food and basic accommodation during the stay.
•             Support of the locals in the food processing activity
•             Materials required in building a simple drying unit.
The above-mentioned project – “Preserving the kokum fruit” is an urgent requirement. We would like to initiate this project as soon as possible as the fruiting season slows down by end of May.

3. Research and Documentation of the Kare okkalu community.

We are documenting the culture and folklore of kare-okkalu community who live in this belt. Individuals who know both Kannada and English and passionate about indigenous culture may apply. Individuals with a prior fieldwork experience will have an added advantage. 
Volunteers will be provided
·                     Simple food and basic accommodation during the stay.
·                     Local travelling allowance
·                  Local Guide.

4. Upcoming programmes and projects:
We also need volunteers for upcoming programmes such as
-To run community based study tour programmes mainly for schools and gap year students. The volunteers’ roles have included designing and anchoring study programs for the students and various workshops for the community.

Experience sharing
In addition to work, the volunteer will also be expected to produce an article, drawings or photo essay about an aspect of their experience and learning. This is for publication on buda website ,our blogs and publications
Please note that volunteers will have to make their travel arrangements to Ankola. Ankola is very well connected by KSRTC and private buses from Bangalore.
Individuals, who are interested in volunteering for either of the above programs, please contact us
How to reach there
In the Google map search for buD folklore or click the following URL link
The facility
At present, there is a small outhouse with two rooms; one room is being used as kitchen. There is a siddi family looking after the place. They will cook for us and we need to provide the rations.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Summer nostalgia…

Summer nostalgia…
Growing up in small town in Honnavar was great in many aspects, but the one that's shaped me the most is the freedom to roam, explore. We had endless energy..
We never knew about Switzerland but only grand ma’s backyard, that was simply enough and that has given all the memories for the rest of the life…

Everyone generation has a story to tell and memories to re-live, of how their summers were spent. Nostalgia is the flavor of the season that I now so often indulge in…. where summer was about people, mangoes, going to the village fair.. , Catching fish in the streams, collecting wild berries, preparing kaaju juice.. raw mango pachdi, Listing to the radio under the shade of mango tree.. vividh-bharati.., aalemane … and play and play all the time.

So it's the beginning of summer holidays! I love this ode to careless, free summers..
Bright mornings …cool evenings.. Summer showers... Birds chirping everywhere..

Now, summer is felt, not only because of the scorching heat, but also for the hype that surrounds it. Everything around is buzzing with summer camps, summer fashion, summer holiday destinations, summer workouts, and more. There is more to summer than scorching sun; more hype than heat. Summer seems to be the happening thing around.

I look back at the summers we had as kids… where it was about fun, holidays, and of doing nothing and everything. Summer was about more of family, fun and frolic. There was no homework to complete, no extracurricular classes to attend and no summer camps to participate in .Life was so less complicated in those days. Devoid of cutting edge technologies and concrete jungles, there was more to life and living. Summer was not about air conditioners, gas-guzzling generators, ice skating rinks or blue colored mock tails.. It was about charting one’s own activities, time tables and living for the moment.

Yes, it was different then. It is a lot different now. I do long for the back yore days… but there is still so much at the moment to bask in. To learn. To feel. To enjoy. To live. Often I wish to go back, back to that point in life when everything seemed simpler.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rooted in tradition

Rooted in tradition


Buda Folklore, an NGO headquartered in Honnavar, has a vast database on various tribes and indigenous communities of Uttara Kannada, writes Sumana Bharadwaj

Repository of knowledge: Tribals themselves are  resource persons at Buda Folklore. Their love for folk heritage and culture is so deep that this scholarly couple from Honnavar, N R Nayak and Shanthi Nayak, chucked their careers as professors, and took to safeguarding the rich culture of indigenous communities of Uttara Kannada.

They have meticulously documented their extensive field and research work of over four decades in an effort to preserve native knowledge, folk culture and oral traditions for posterity. Between the two of them, they have authored over 80 books on folk literature, arts, crafts, dance, food, drinks, songs, games, medicinal plants, costumes, etc. Today, carrying on this legacy forward is their daughter Savita Uday. She founded an NGO, Buda Folklore, to save and share the precious knowledge. Headquartered in Honnavar, it has a vast database on various tribes and indigenous communities of Uttara Kannada and is a focal point for study and research of folk heritage.

Connecting with nature

Savita grew up in the lap of nature in the fertile green lands on the banks of the River Sharavati watching her parents interact closely with the local tribes. Her own interaction with the tribal communities however, happened during her research for her doctoral thesis on tribal ornaments and costumes. What fascinated her most was the strong connection that the tribal communities had with their surroundings and as a consequence an immense respect for the same.
Their lives were deeply intertwined with their surroundings. Their art, culture, food habits, lifestyle, everything reflected the ecology they were part of. So, when her own marriage took Savita out of Honnavar to bigger cities, she was engulfed by a sense of disconnect to surroundings that existed in the cities, that left her longing to go back to the warmth of her home among the rivers and valleys.

To urbanites who earn their degrees, earn a living and live a life within the confines of four walls, whether the four walls were on a hilltop or on a riverside or a valley hardly mattered.

The abuse of nature by man in cities is precisely because of this disconnect, it seemed to her. In contrast, the intimate connection that the tribals enjoyed with environment was heartening. The simplicity and wisdom inherent in their way of life stirred her into action.

As she says, “When you connect with something, you learn to value it and you want to bring its essence into your own life. Somewhere deep down I connect with these people and would like to see these cultures preserved for posterity.
There is lot of wisdom in indigenous cultures and it would be a shame to lose it all and perhaps repent later. It is important to recognise the value right now and work towards preserving it. I believe modernity and local cultures can coexist only if we value local cultures enough to embrace them proudly.”

Tribals as resource persons

What is unique about Buda Folklore is that the tribals themselves are resource persons. They are ‘guides’ on study tours and ‘honorary professors’ at workshops conducted as part of the awareness programmes. Participants get to interact, live and learn from tribal communities in their heartland which is indeed a unique and enriching experience as many of those who attended these programmes would testify to.

Buda also facilitates research and internship programmes for students, social scientists, food technologists and designers. Apart from running these programmes, Savita is associated with various schools where she inspires children to get involved in various projects with very hands-on, on-field learning.

Savita’s philosophy as an educator is that children learn best outside the confines of a classroom. So her classrooms could either be a herbal garden or a riverside, a forest or a tribal village. She conducts workshops as well for the children on different facets of the folk life, be it a workshop on the beverages of the tribes (of which Savita says there are about 300 documented varieties!) or it could be about the 100 varieties of greens and tubers used in daily cooking (leaves one wondering whether global food shortage is really an issue) or it could be about the tribal puzzles and games. The workshop could be also be hands-on study of materials used in their crafts and arts or their rich oral tradition.

Another aspect that sets Buda Folklore apart is that the focus is on educating people about tribal culture, not on commodification of their art. “Commercial activity may give them a living and a reason to hold on to their art, but by just putting a price on their products. We can never learn to value and appreciate the product in its entirety, because there is a cultural context linked with every art form.

Displaying tribal crafts at lifestyle exhibitions in the cities or having a dollu-kunita performance (a tribal dance form) in a mall is meaningless for both the tribals as well as the urbanites, since the context is missing.

The time and effort that goes into making the products or the months of practice behind the performance and the significance behind it all for the entire village which is involved in the preparations just cannot be fathomed as outsiders. If instead the urban folk come to the tribal heartland and interact with them and see them at work, the experience is entirely different! This is part of building that connection which is my buzzword,” Savita says.

Museum and library

Savita has set up a museum and library at Honnavar. The museum has a rich collection of various arts and crafts from the daily and ceremonial lives of the local community. The library with its well-researched database and large collection of books related to folklore is indeed a treasure trove of knowledge.

Talking of future plans, Savita’s dream is to start a learning centre which would act both as a cultural centre and a facilitation centre for the community.
Work has started in part already towards the same, she says. People from urban areas can visit and participate in various programmes to get a better understanding of the tribal culture by experiencing it firsthand. People from rural areas can avail of the facilities at the learning centre to carve out a sustainable livelihood for themselves. One only hopes that Savita’s tribe increases.

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...