sight for sore eyes:Students of Andhra University High School participating in a rangoli competition in Visakhapatnam on Monday.— Photo: K. R. DEEPAK
Early in the morning, when most of us would hardly think of opening the eyes even by mistake, Amma wakes up and invariably enters the kitchen after her morning rituals. She grinds the soaked rice kept overnight and silently heads to the entrance to sweep and clean the threshold by sprinkling water all over and waits for a few minutes allowing the surface to dry.
Holding a small piece of cloth dipped into the container of rice batter, she then draws out images giving the ancient art form a perfect creative touch. She goes around paying rapt attention to the design and feels satisfied at the way the straight lines and curves have come. The sketch comes to a close as Amma outlines the ‘ma-kolam’ using ‘chemman’ (diluted red brick powder).
This is the story that most youngsters recall their family tradition during ‘Margazhi masam’. Although the ‘kolam’ takes different mediums like ‘kola-podi’ (powder) or rice flour, the age-old practice remains the same for decades.
And women of the Tamil community say that there is a lot of significance attached to the phenomenon of drawing kolam, particularly during Pongal. “The combination of ma-kolam and chemman represents Goddess Lakshmi and Vishnu. Hence, women nurture their creative streaks to honour the giver of wealth and prosperity,” says Sundari, an 80-year old Tamilian.
Drawing different patterns of ‘muggu’ has also been an age-old ritual followed by Telugu people. For them, the significance of ‘Dhanurmasam’ is being pronounced by Godha Devi’s (also known as Andal) extreme devotion to Lord Krishna. It is the month where women exchange notes to decorate the entrance of the house with beautiful expanse of ‘muggu’, ‘gobbemmalu’ and flowers, marking the celebrations of Sankranthi. P. Kameshwari, an elderly woman says, “The traditional art personifies positive energy. The colour powders used to fill various shapes add grace to the threshold. ‘Muggulu’ drawn during ‘Dhanurmasam,’ extend invitation to Lord Krishna to descend into the house and bless the people with love and abundance.”
On a different note, some of the Kannadigas in the city say that a certain degree of dexterity, concentration and discipline is required to structure different patterns of muggu. They say that joining the dots and the lines is one of the ancient methods of learning calculations.
Sankranti is round the corner and people in the city are gearing up for the festivities. One of the most auspicious occasions for Hindus, the harvest festival is celebrated in myriad cultural forms with devotion, fervour and gaiety. With Sankranti comes a string of traditional rituals dutifully carried out by generations over the years.
The sight of ‘gangireddu’, the festooned bull, happy kite-flying kids, elaborate designs of colourful rangoli, the bhogi fire, the bommala koluvu (display of toys) and the gobbammas signal arrival of the most-awaited festival.
School campuses in city come alive, as the managements, in an attempt to familiarise children with the traditional rituals associated with the festival, celebrate it in much advance. Many a time, their enthusiasm takes precedence over pragmatism. This tendency reflected on a few school campuses where cockfighting was included in the list of events.
Cockfighting is seen as a ‘cool’ sport by some people but it is actually a ‘cruel’ sport. It is originally a blood sport in which roosters are placed in a ring and forced to fight to the death for the ‘amusement’ of onlookers. The activity has also been declared illegal. In villages, roosters are born, raised and trained to fight and breeders often kill the birds they deem inferior, keeping only the ones which are willing to fight.
Heavy betting takes place and people revel in watching the roosters with their neck feathers fanned and wings whirring. The birds jump and parry at each other, kick and duel in mid-air, striking at each other with feet and beak.
If the fighting wanes, the trainers pick up the birds, hold them beak-to-beak in an attempt to reignite the frenzy. The birds then are re-pitted and the fighting continues until one of the roosters is dead or nearly dead.
Demonstration of such brutality is tantamount to teaching kids to enjoy violence and allow them to think that animal suffering is okay.
Taking strong exception to the practice, founder president of the city-based Indian Institute of Jeevakarunyam and Research M. Venkateswara Rao, has made a representation to the district Collector urging him to initiate steps to stop the cruel sport.
“Cockfighting is seen in many parts of Krishna district as part of Sankranthi celebration. As per P.C.A. Act 1960, it is an offence. People also resort to the inhuman act of making oxen carry heavy boulders to entertain spectators,” he lamented.
Girl children of the milk producers have painted the premises of Karimnagar Milk Producer Company Limited, albeit Karimnagar Dairy, on the outskirts of Karimnagar, with colourful rangoli on the occasion of Dairy Sankranti Utsavlu on Thursday.
The dairy conducts the annual Sankranti Utsavalu to encourage girl children of the milk producers. There was overwhelming response to this year’s competition with the participation of over 600 girls. The girls from various villages have arrived with colours and other decorative items and painted the premises with glittering canvas of various sizes, shapes and designs.
Some of the girls made rangoli with the colours and some others with different flowers and navadanyalu (nine varieties of seed). Some girls painted rangolis to promote national integration, importance of Indian festivals and traditions.
A panel of judges inspected the rangolies and announced winners.
The dairy gave away prizes to all the participants. SP V Shiva Kumar participated as chief guest and distributed the prizes.
Karimnagar Dairy chairman Ch Rajeshwara Rao, managing director V Hanumanth Reddy and others were also present. On the occasion, the SP and dairy chairman handed over Janashree Bheema Yojana benefits of Rs 36 lakh to bereaved milk producer families. They also distributed scholarships of Rs. 1.64 lakh to the children of milk producers.