Though I hail from the land of coconuts, I never really explored the many corners of the fascinating place known as God’s Own Country.
Kerala, is perhaps the most unique of all Indian states. With its lush green paddy fields, forests, green hill tops, vast expanses of coconut palms, the state does deserve to be the most preferred tourist spot for many people. Apart from its scenic beauty, its rich cultural heritage does leave one in absolute awe. The state has over 64 folks dance forms, of which atleast three or four have been showcased on a large scale. But as time passed by, fewer people have taken an interest towards the state’s heritage. This was obvious during my visit to the Hill Palace.
For those of you wonder what the Hill palace is- let me begin by saying that I wished I had lived there. This massive home of the former rulers of Kochi, is constructed on a high platform, therefore the name – Hill Palace. Its interiors made up Italian marble flooring and the aristrocratic wooden constructions does make one feel royal. However, its poor maintenance and the absolute lack of interest displayed by the curators of various sections is most disappointing .I was upset by the way in which neither of them had taken the initiative to explain the various displays that were showcased and the unimpressive arrangement of the rarest of rare artefacts. With old, dirty and dusty velvet pieces of cloth adorning the “bulletin board” structures, items like ancient jewellery, coins and currency were barely visible to the naked eye.
The trip to the ancient palace was an eye opener indeed. For I had realised that very few do care about the state’s history. Could this lack of interest trigger something different? Is this why art forms like Kalaripayattu and Kathakali are gradually becoming less known among the Keralites of today? Sure, the two forms (Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial art, also said to be the mother of all martial art. Kathakali is an ancient classical dance drama) were always dominated by men and that history reveals facts about both that justify the ways in which they are taught. But that is no reason for why arts as unique as these should be mocked in cinema and other forms of visual media.
It is not about banning certain forms and promoting the others. It is about respecting what is ours and trying hard to preserve the essence of something original. Arts are like heriditary property. Some great men and women would have strived hard to construct its foundation and maintain it. But when it is not taken care of, it is often destroyed and converted into something strange so as to earn more. If we do not preserve what is ours, some other great man or woman would try to do so, and would snatch away all that we are entitled to.
Act now for a hopeful and better future.