Kaani (Kani) village celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2012 – Tamil Nadu

P. S. Suresh Kumar, The Hindu, Nagercoil, August 10, 2012

The art of storytelling has been in vogue among the Kaani tribals as this is the only way they have been able to preserve their culture for their language has no written script. It was this very art of oral narrative that was celebrated at the International Day of the World Indigenous People on Thursday at Vellambi Kaani tribal settlement near Pechipparai.

The programme that was sponsored by the Tribal Foundation focused on this year’s theme of indigenous media, empowering indigenous voices. Preservation of the language and transmission of knowledge through the media were stressed. The theme stressed the role of indigenous networks as forums for discussion and sharing of ideas and experience.

According to S. S. Davidson, environmental educator, storytelling enabled the tribal children to develop their communication skills, which helped them preserve their dialectical language and helped to link the related language skills to other language skills, besides creating leadership qualities of the story teller. In this context, a narration by a tribal girl was a positive indicator of feminine liberation in the tribal community. The story thread revolves round the forest ecology and the dependence of the tribal people on this for their livelihood sustenance.

The wooden mortar and pestle, white coral bead with its ethno-botanical usage, mud pot for cooking, traditional strain of wild paddy, utility of fish tail palm and washing clothes in a pond signify the rich tapestry of forest bio-diversity of the Western Ghats. The culture of tenaciously clinging to mystical aspects, resorting to clan magician for social advice and direction, the highlight of a taboo of refusing to marry a brother denoted the traditional culture of the tribal community were highlighted in the story.

The language of the Kaani tribe is an amalgamation of Tamil and Malayalam called Malampasha, a dialectical language. […]

The current communication revolution, concept of globalization, free trade and westernization had their inevitable impact in the youth and made them lose interest in their native dialects, songs, dance, ethno-botany and folk culture. Revival of folk culture would preserve their rich cultural forms to posterity, said Mr. Davidson.

Moreover the Kaani tribal people, who strived to conserve forest ecology, were honoured with shawls.

Source: The Hindu : NATIONAL / TAMIL NADU : Empowering indigenous voices through oral narrative
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/article3749059.ece
Date Visited: Fri Aug 10 2012 20:43:41 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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