THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kadamban Moothan arrives, oozing an organic grandeur, bedecked in an attire fashioned out of palm tree fronds, jewelled up with organic ornaments made of coir. The Moothan wears a mask, which has tribal art splashed all over it.
On Saturday, the Kadamban Moothan threw open a new world to a bunch of students as they were initiated to the many realms of farming through a drama. Students were escorted to the paddy fields, where peas were planted as an intercrop.
As harvest songs resonated in the backdrop, the students watched in awe as the Moothan harvested the pea. An organic theatre was in progress at the paddy fields of Chenkal grama panchayat in the capital, where school students were initiated to the ancient methods of farming, where culture and farming remained mutually inclusive.
The theatre was organised by the members of Wide Inspirations and Wide Aspirations (WIWA) who hopes to promote organic theatre and farming, bringing back the glory of farming during the olden times. A movement is brewing under them, where they are trying to restart farming in the barren lands and reintroduce the organic methods of farming and revive cultural artforms associated with farming and harvest.
Traditional instruments accompany the theatre, providing an earthy feel to the music and the play. Instruments such as 'Maram', 'Kadum Thudi' and 'Vadi Mani' are used as accompaniments. “The thrust is on bringing forth the ancient way of cultivation when culture used to be an integral part of farming. We ended up collecting folk songs and are reintroducing what is being lost from our culture,” said Puliyoor Jayakumar, who renders the song and also chips in by acting at the play. The music is by the folk song group Nilavu Thiruvananthapuram. Five artists accompany on the music front.
“We have a rich history with cultural and ritualistic art forms forming an integral part of farming activities. We have created a new cultural icon for farming, a harvest god, the 'Kadamban Moothan' who will be present during the different aspects of farming,” says SN Sudheer, director of WIWA. At first, farming was started off at Vellarada by the group.
The next stop was at Idukki when they were able to make five tribal communities get back to farming. Chenkal remains as the eight plot where the organisation is spearheading organic method of cultivation. The farmers who are cultivating 22 hectares of fields at Chenkal at Neyyattinkara have been introduced to the concept of organic farming, says Sudheer.
As many as 83 students were present at the event. The students were part of the STEPS summer camp organised by SCERT. “This is the first time I am visiting a paddy field and through the play, I could understand the different aspects involved in framing. It has infused in me a spirit to learn more about farming and also try to replicate it at my home. We all need to follow the organic method of cultivation which will provide pesticide-free food to us,” says Harry Biju, a Class VII student of Government UPS, Nellickakuzhi.
Social activist Geetha John who is part of the organisation donned the role of the Kadamban Moothan during the play on Saturday. “The Kadamban Moothan was created to have a god in visible form, an icon who will be part of the farming practices who can explain and interact with the students and the community on the needs to respect the earth and get back to farming the organic way,” she says.