Creation and Destruction
It is common that whatever is created has to be destroyed. It could be man-made, natural calamity or the end of the world. For us water is the symbol of both creation and destruction. When sin accrues, water dooms the world to create another system of life. Unusually among Halakki Vokkaligas there is no purana or myth on the destruction or end ofthe world. Even their concept of the beginning of life is not water-based. The myth of anjuga birds egg narrates the creation thus — the bird anjuga created by the god Mahadevaraya lays the egg and that splits into two parts and form the sky and the earth – the upper portion becoming the sky and the lower part the earth. They strongly believe that whatever been created by Madevaraya (Lord Mahadev) should not be destroyed. Similarly heaven and hell concept is not prominent in this tribe. Life after death is not a topic of interest for them. They also do not consider physical richness as richness at all. Hence, they do not bother about life after death. ‘As the fallen tree does not rise or the old tree does not sprout, the dead do not come back.’ In this way their songs totally dismiss the concept of other world. I think this need to be taken as the fundamental element of their world-view. Headman of the koppa would come to the community people annually with a diamond umbrella as Balindra, the prime deity, during Deepavali. Infact they don’t call it deepavali, they call it `Boorehabba’. During that occasion the entire koppa is gathered to receive him. Destruction is not found in their worldview. Their aim is to achieve a creation, which is infa.ct opposite to destruction. When the hegemonic narratives depict Bali as defeated and destroyed, their songs glorify Bali as the symbol of creation. Not only the halakki vokkaligas treat Bali as a symbol of creation; almost all the tribes on the coastal belt of Karnataka look him as a symbol of fertility.
According to them rain is a potential force for the farmers. If it fails, the entire life-scheme collapses. Hence they have invented many festive occasions to pay tributes to Rain-Gods through their dances and folk songs. In the past, in an unspecified forest area the women danced naked to evoke the blessings of the rains. Now, they dance with apparels and it is performed only by women and it is known as ‘tarle kunita.’ This tarle dance depict prosperity in magical beats.
Ruins of Democracy
The social order of this tribe is a model to our democracy. The democratic character, which has disappeared in other tribes, is still predominant here. A number of huts make a ‘Kopp’- a settlement. Three headmen with definite duties and responsibilities oversee the system. They are known as Gowda, Budhuvanta and Kolakara. Gowda is supposed to be ‘supreme’, Budhuvanta is an assistant to the Gowda and in that capacity he extends cooperation to the Gowda. Kolakara is a messenger, he caries the messages of meetings and decisions to the public. A number of koppas are formed into a Seeme. In Seeme, Guru, Arasa and Pradhani are important officers. And seven seemes make one Halakki-Vokkaliga community. Koota or
Chapparakootas are public meetings. Here everyone is equal. All the public and private issues are discussed in chapparkoota. Anyone can express an opinion. After a prolonged hearing Gowda hands out judgement which is final. The main objectives of chapparakoota are a) protection of traditional value b) observance of traditional festival fairs and worship c) community involvement in marriages, death ceremonies etc., d) protection of the disabled and weaker section and e) punishment to the guilty. Their administrative order is quite simple. As advocated by Verrier Elwin, we need to strengthen the tribal law and justice. Malinowslu also subscribes to this concept of law and justice.
My intention here is to give a bird’s view of the worldview of hallaki vokkaligas. Whatever I have right now discussed are just representative and I don’t say that they are exhaustive explanations in themselves. I am of the view that literature and music of hallaki vokalligas stand unique when compared with that of other tribes of Karnataka. The observations right now I have made would be more meaningful only when we are exposed to their historically formed folk literature.
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