Slideshow | Kani storytelling festival 2013: Biodiversity and Preservation of Culture – Tamil Nadu

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The Hindu, Nagercoil, 30 September 2013

Kaani Tribal Festival with the theme of ‘Towards conversation of biodiversity and preservation of culture’ was conducted by the Tribal Foundation at Pechiparai in the Western Ghats on Saturday.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr James R Daniel, former principal of Scott Christian College, said the dialect of the Kaani tribe Kaanipasha was an amalgamation of Tamil and Malayalam.

Documentation of this vanishing language should be done, he stressed.

S.S. Davidson, environmental educator, spoke. Dr. Eric Miller, Director, World Storytelling Institute, Chennai, conducted a storytelling session, where a dozen Kaani storytellers narrated the folk stories.

J. Jacob Robert Singh, Managing Trustee of the foundation, spoke.

Source: Kaani tribal festival celebrated – The Hindu
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Date Visited: Fri Nov 15 2013 01:21:10 GMT+0100 (CET)

A Kaani Tribal Festival with the theme ‘towards Consersation of Biodiversity and Preservation of Culture’ was conducted by the Tribal Foundation at Pechiparai in the Western Ghats on September 28. Some 200 tribal people and 100 students participated.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr James R Daniel said that tribal way of life was stress and strain free unlike their counterparts in cities and towns. The indigenous people maintained robust health as they lived in consonance with Nature and their major chunk of their food culture was derived from forests. The tribal people strictly adhere to traditional organic cultivation of food and dependence on artificial fertilizers was not practiced.

He observed that the concepts of modernization and sophistication should never cow down the status of Kaanipasha (the local language). Documentation of this vanishing language should be done to save the language from extinction any cost. He paid rich encomium to the orgaizers for exhibiting their material culture, which are eco-friendly and based on nature.

S S Davidson, environmental educator in his felicitation pointed out that the Kaani tribe possessed a rich knowledge of traditional wisdom on herbal medicinal plants, which could be utilized positively for the betterment of the global community as done in the herbal plant as Arokia-pacha, a stress reliever. Oral expressive culture need be preserved as their oral stories, folk tales and songs since they have an inevitable link to bio-diversity and forest ecology.They also have  a rich tradition of material culture and it should be documented and preserved for posterity, as the tangible culture might be lost due to modernization and globalization concepts.

Dr Eric Miller, Director, World Storytelling Institute, Chennai conducted the storytelling session, where a dozen Kaani storytellers narrated the folk stories.

He said that folk stories and songs played a vital role in management concerns, where stories are narrated to all classes of workers during the interval time as a stress reliever. On the educational front, a student while narrating a story in the class room acquires leadership, language skills, development of spoken language.

Kaani people sang folk songs related to their culture and forest ecology, to the accompaniment of dance. Kaani men folk performed dance wearing their traditional dress made of tree barks (see photos). Some highlights of the festival were herbal medicinal plant exhibition with 60 plants being used by the Kaani tribe with display of a list of their names and their uses.

Utility articles which form their material culture as wooden pounding equipment, stone bow, a bamboo equipment used to chase away wild animals, seasoned bark of a tree used by the early people to wear as dress, an indigenous trap made of stones to catch minor animals, a traditional trap to catch fish called ‘thoori’ and a host of materials made of bamboo and wood culture were displayed.

J. Jacob Robert Singh, Managing Trustee of the Foundation, senior members and leaders of the Kaani tribal community Madavan Kaani, Appu Kaani and Mathukutty Kaani offered felicitation.

Photos and information: courtesy Davidson Sargunam © 2013 Tribal Foundation (Nagercoil)

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