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Infusing life into ‘Therukoothu’

Serena Josephine. M

Camp teaches the art form to children



P. Ramasamy

PUDUCHERRY: In an effort to revive a dying art form ‘Therukoothu,’ an artist has started to train young children in villages in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

According to artist P. Ramasamy, founder of Makkal Kalaikazhagam, ‘therukoothu’ was the first art to evolve in Tamil culture. However, it was now a dying art form, he said.

“With television, computers and films, people are no longer interested in ‘therukoothu.’ To revive the folk art form, we are training children in the age group of 10 to 15 in villages,” he said.

As part of this, a camp for 85 students of Udhavi Karangal was held at Nonankuppam on April 27. The camp would continue on May 3 and 4 where the techniques of the art would be taught to the children.

Till now, the organisation has trained 2,000 children in 40 villages in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. The organisation has around 1,000 artists from Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, he said. From narrating episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Siva Puranam and Kanda Puranam, the art has now taken up new themes to create awareness among the public. This includes awareness of HIV/AIDS, use of plastic products, importance of conserving groundwater and depletion of ozone layer, Mr. Ramasamy said.

To help the artists, he said the government should increase the pension which at present was Rs. 1,000 a month. Identity cards and bus pass for the artists should be issued, he added.

“Therukoothu artists can be given opportunities to perform in government functions. The art form could be made a subject in schools, colleges and universities,” he stressed.

Above all, he said youth should come forward to learn the art form to revive it.

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