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Adilabad Khaddi Katha- Unique version of Ramayana ఏప్రిల్ 6, 2008

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Adilabad, Art, Telangana.

Tradition loses out to modernity


S. Harpal Singh

It’s a struggle for survival for practitioners of Khaddi Katha, a 200-year-old folk form of narrating Ramayana 


Turning into a relic: Tummapuri Ramaswamy and his son Dhananjay narrating Ramayana in the Khaddi Katha style.

ADILABAD: The 200-year-old Khaddi Tantri Vadyam, a stringed instrument, is unlikely to continue helping the Mithula Ayyavarlu earn a livelihood by narrating Ramayana in Khaddi Katha style. It had done so in the case of last five generations of Tummapuri Ramaswamy, a master of Khaddi Katha from Waddadi village in Tamsi mandal.

Though Ramaswamy is passing on the instrument and art as a legacy to Dhananjay, his teenaged son, he has no illusions about the youngster carrying on with the tradition. “The fact that one has to depend on others’ mercy for survival has put me off. The profession is not fetching anymore and it will not be prudent to look for a livelihood from it. I am getting my son educated so that he can get a job eventually. Learning the art will only keep him in touch with the past,” observed Ramaswamy.

Only artiste

The 65-year-old maestro is the only functional artiste of Khaddi Katha in Andhra Pradesh. He has seen the relevance of traditional folk art lose out to modernity and artistes rendered workless and poorer by changes taking place over the course of time.

“You now have television and videos that can keep you engrossed all the night when there is a need to stay awake. Earlier, people used to listen to Ramayana during the nights for one whole month like in Shravana masam. For a better part of the year we had work on hand,” recalls Ramaswamy.


The progressively decreasing invitations from devotees have forced him to take to door-to-door begging. “Dharmam ani pothe, po, po antaru”, he revealed the truth about the new avocation.

It is needless to point out that the family of this veteran artiste can be bailed out from the dire straits if Government gives a pension befitting a great folk artiste.

Until then, he has to look for help elsewhere, like the plea “Rama nanu daya joodama……” made by Dhananjay while singing to an audience from across the country at Adilabad’s Kala Ashram.

source: The Hindu, April 6, 2008


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