Tuesday January 23, 2018

The lost Irish Musical Tradition Found in India

The study shows that Modern Indian horns are almost similar to many iron age European artifacts and unveils the fact that the two regions were culturally linked together 2,000 years ago

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A depiction of horn instrument. A exhibit in Salem district museum, Tamil Nadu, India.
horn instrument , Wikimedia Commons
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By Akanksha Sharma

An archaeologist examining horns from the iron-age Ireland has found musical traditions that were thought to be long deceased, is still alive in South India.

The study shows that Modern Indian horns are almost similar to many iron age European artifacts and this unveils the fact that the two regions were culturally linked together 2,000 years ago, said PhD student Billy Ó Foghlú , from The Australian National University (ANU) adding,”Archaeology is usually silent. I was astonished to find what I thought to be dead soundscapes alive and living in Kerala today.”

Mr. Ó Foghlú said,“The musical traditions of south India, with horns such as the kompu, are a great insight into musical cultures in Europe’s prehistory.”

File:Jakthorn, enligt inskriptionen tillverkat av horn från den sista uroxen i Europa - Livrustkammaren - 102555.tif
An European Horn, Wikimedia Commons

He further mentioned, “And, because Indian instruments are usually recycled and not laid down as offerings, the artifacts in Europe are also an important insight into the soundscapes of India’s past.”

Related Article: The Musical bond between India and Pakistan

This discovery has lead to the idea that Europe and India had a vibrant cultural interchange with musicians from different cultures, and sharing independently has developed technology and musical style.

A carving of a celebration in Sanchi dates back to c300 BC clearly shows a group taking part in the event, playing two European carnyces (a horn with animal’s head).

The musical technique of Kerela explains some of the mysteries surrounding the horns that were unearthed in European iron-age excavations and indicate a very different musical style to the modern age western music, said Mr. Ó Foghlú.

“This was previously assumed to be evidence of shoddy workmanship. But in Indian music, this kind of dissonance is deliberate and beautiful. “Horns are used more as a rhythm instrument, not for melody or harmony in a western sense,” he added.

The research is published in the Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology.

Akanksha Sharma is a student of Journalism in New Delhi. She currently works as an intern in Newsgram. Twitter@Akanksha.4117

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.