Thang-Ta Calls On Kalaripayattu
Kerala met Manipur on Friday over swords, style and the symphony of Kalaripayattu and Thang-ta, their respective martial art forms.
The venue for the meet was a national-level workshop and seminar on martial arts, Kalarippayattu of Kerala and Thang-ta martial art of Manipur, organised by the International Centre for Kerala Studies , University of Kerala, with the support of Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi. Here, the experts from both the fields sat together, exchanged notes on how their art forms evolved, and thought of how the tradition of the art forms could be preserved for posterity.
Exchanges such as these were but small contributions towards promoting the cultural integration of the country, Kerala University Vice-Chancellor A. Jayakrishnan said, inaugurating the seminar.
This was shown on floor after the morning session, when a lecture demonstration of the two art forms introduced their basics, history, ethical principles and use of weapon systems.
The 10-member Manipuri team backed this up by a performance in Thang-ta, incorporating all the elements shown in the demonstration class.
A brief introduction what is Thang-ta was given to the audience by Ranjeet Chingtham of the Kanglei Shaktam Langba Kanglup, Manipur. According to him, the art of Thang-ta was handed down from generation to generation, and also survived the government efforts to eradicate its practice. He also explained the different styles and various weapons that are used for fighting.
Kalaripayattu was explained by M.B. Vinod Kumar of the VKM Kalari Sangham in Thrissur, who presented a paper on the art form—its ancient traditions, the different styles and its relevance to the modern society. Experts from both the fields then together spoke of the need to preserve the art forms for future. While Thoi from the Thang-ta team feels it the duty of the younger generation to carry forward the indigenous culture and traditions of the past, K.K. Ambareesh, a two-time State champion in Kalarippayattu said such programs in schools and colleges provided a platform to explore and learn about the culture and traditions of the State.