“This artwork is our lifestyle and our livelihood. On the identical time now we have tailored it to the converting occasions,” says Pulluvanpattu musician Jayakumar Gopinath. The ritualistic artwork shape is historically carried out at a kavu (sacred grove) or in houses and temples the place serpents are worshipped, particularly close to a sarppakkalam or nagakkalam, when footage of serpents are drawn at the flooring the use of other colored powders.
At the present, as with many ritualistic artwork paperwork, it has moved to new efficiency areas over time. The auditorium of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Senior Secondary College in Thiruvananthapuram was once the place Jayakumar carried out together with his mom, sister and different relations as a part of a competition of dance and drama. organised by means of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Infosys Basis.
“At venues like those, we create an environment of the ritual thru songs and track. Even if we don’t get to exhibit it in totality, we’re satisfied that our artwork remains to be valuable by means of a piece of society and that we’re given alternatives to accomplish Pulluvanpaatu when there are umpteen different leisure choices to be had,” says Jayakumar, who hails from Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district.
The 42-year-old artiste has been sporting ahead the legacy of his father, the overdue Okay Gopinathan, who, in flip, had learnt it from his forefathers. “Whilst a kid, I used to accompany achan (father) for programmes. The artwork has been handed directly to us orally, be it the songs or the drawing of the kalam. Alternatively, achan and a couple of of his contemporaries had documented one of the most songs to maintain them for posterity. Achan was once inquisitive about popularising Pulluvanpattu and had performed a large function in democratising it by means of functioning at artwork and cultural gala’s organised by means of the federal government and cultural organisations,” says Jayakumar.
It was once within the overdue ‘70s that Gopinathan had began in quest of alternatives to take the artwork to the general public, one in every of them being the tourism week celebrations organised by means of the federal government. In 1980, he carried out for the primary time in VJT Corridor (now Ayyankali Corridor), because of artwork gourmet Soorya Krishnamoorthy. “He have been a standard at the once a year Soorya competition for a few years. He carried out throughout Kerala and in different states and was once additionally a part of the cultural programmes carried out as a part of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, a few occasions. I used to accompany him to a majority of these occasions and, ultimately, I sought after to observe in his footsteps. Despite the fact that I selected to be his accompanist, he ensured that I got here to the leading edge. My uncle, Viswanathan, who’s not more, has additionally guided me so much,” Jayakumar recalls.
Gopinathan passed on to the great beyond in 2018 ahead of he may submit his ebook on Pulluvanpattu. Jayakumar took the initiative to submit it. Within the ebook, Adipulluvante Athmayanam , Gopinathan writes at duration in regards to the ritual, the songs and his adventure as a Pulluvanpattu artiste. “He had a imaginative and prescient and I imagine it my accountability to stay his legacy alive despite demanding situations,” says Jayakumar.
The lifetime of the Pulluva neighborhood and their songs are intently connected to the sacred groves, the woods at the premises of historical homes and temples, with ponds of their neighborhood. Those groves are believed to be the home of serpents and, due to this fact, Pulluvanpattu is predominantly related to serpent worship, particularly sarpolsavam ( competition of the snakes) or sarppamthullal (dance of the snakes), which is carried out to propitiate the serpent gods, particularly in houses that had sacred groves.
“However now we have misplaced the sacred groves to fast urbanisation and so sarppamthullal has grow to be an extraordinary tournament. Now serpent idols are put in in temples, however we Pulluvas don’t have the proper to habits pujas. Our function is specific to making a song the hymns to the accompaniment of the pullavanveena for devotees,” Jayakumar says.
Alternatively, there are a handful of households who proceed to habits sarppamthullal at common durations, if now not annually, at their ancestral houses or temples, he provides. Whilst some habits it for an afternoon, it’s held for 3 to 9 days in positive families.
Fable has it that that Pulluvars had been created by means of Lord Shiva from pullu (grass). They had been referred to as ‘pulluvolbhavasyar’ (born from the grass), which, ultimately, were given shortened to pulluvan.
Each Pulluvan and Pulluvathi (feminine member of the neighborhood) sing the ritualistic songs, taking part in the pulluvanveena (one-stringed violin-like software), pulluvankudam (a clay pot) and kaimani (cymbals). In sarppamthullal, Pulluvars are in command of drawing the kalam and undertaking the pujas. It turns into a mystic enjoy, when ladies (infrequently males additionally), sway to the rhythm of the tune and progressively makes serpent-like actions, rolling at the kalam, and erasing it with their frame and a pookkula (coconut inflorescence).
5 colors are utilized in drawing the kalam — white (rice powder), black (charcoal from rice husk), yellow (acquired from roof tiles), inexperienced (pounded leaves of manjadi or coral wooden tree) and pink (mixture of turmeric and lime). The colors stand for portions of a snake’s frame — white for bones, black for pores and skin, yellow for flesh, inexperienced for nerves and pink for blood. In previous days, abhram (mica) was once used to offer a shining impact. At the present time, gilt powder is used. Colors but even so the 5 fundamental colors are extensively utilized to embellish the drawing, however those colors are by no means used at the determine of the serpent.
Jayakumar is the recipient of Kerala Folklore Academy’s Yuvaprathibha Puraskaram (2017). He plays together with his mom, Subhadra Gopinath, his siblings, uncle Mohanan, and his cousins.
Jayakumar says that the pujas associated with sarppamthullal fluctuate from district to district. The rendering taste of the songs additionally range. The busy season for Pulluvas was once the months from the Malayalam month of Chingam to Medam (August to April). “In Chingam, which is the month of Onam, we most often don’t have sarppamthullal programmes. However we’re invited to families and we provide songs from Mahabalicharitham and Sreekrishnaleela. As well as, we sing right through the rituals associated with serpent worship, corresponding to sarppabali and noorum palum. Some households need us to come back house and sing at the first day of each and every month of the Malayalam calendar,” says Jayakumar.
Alternatively, he rues that positive songs were forgotten. “There was once sacred groves close to paddy fields, and there are songs for the harvest. Then there’s nellum-thengum pattu, which is within the type of an issue between the paddy and the coconut on who’s awesome. However paddy fields have given solution to concrete jungles and so those songs are not sung and haven’t any relevance,” he says.
Nonetheless, he’s hopeful about the way forward for Pulluvanpattu. He has been keeping categories for kids from the Pulluva neighborhood. “Our circle of relatives accept as true with is working a category in Kollam. But even so imparting courses at the rituals, the songs and drawing of the kalam, we additionally educate them the right way to make the veena and kudam. I additionally habits categories at our house in Mavelikkara below the auspices of Sree Nagaraja Kalavedi. I wish to be sure that the custom is carried ahead,” Jayakumar concludes.