Researching Koti-Chennayya by Vaman Nandavar

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                                     Dr.Vamana Nandavara

I feel very happy and proud to be with you German & Indian Student Scholars participating in the fieldwork training workshop.Congrats to Prof. Peter J. Claus for receiving today the 'Baidyashree'Award of Brahma Baidarkala Adyayana Kendra of Adi Udupi for this academic year. I would like to recall the same indigenous award was received by me for the year 1999 for my research work on Kooti Cennaya. It is also a pleasure to me that during my Presidentship of Karantaka Tulu Sahitya Academy, the first academy Honorary Fellowship had been awarded to Prof. Peter J. Clause for the year 2002.Coming to my research work on the subject Kooti Cennaya, I started it in the year 1988. It is true that pioneer academic works were started in the dawn of that decade especially in the field of Tulu folkloristic study by Rastrakavi Govinda Pai Research Centre and Regional Resource Centre for Folk Performing Arts at Udupi, Mangalore University at Konaje and so on. In fact Peter J. Clause started his fieldwork for research on Tulu Folkloristic study till earlier in the decade of sixty.

Prof. B.A. Viveka Rai did his doctorate in the vast subject of Tulu Janapada Sahitya and published it as a notable volume. Works of scholars like Prof. K.S. Haridas Bhat, Dr. U.P Upadhaya couple, Prof. Amritha Someshwara, Vidwan Venkatraja Puninchathaya etc. gave much inspirations to the contemporary young scholars like me. Being the assistant scholar in the Tulu Lexicon project of Udupi I got enough training and experience in the fieldwork of Folkloristic study. At the same time I had an opportunity to participate in the four phased workshop in International folkloristic seminar held at Udupi RRC, Mysore University, Dharwad and again at Udupi from 18-04-1988 to 10-10-1989. However 20 years before I was a student of folklore among 36 scholars, guided by the team of eminent international research scholars like Alan Dundes, A.K. Ramanujan, Stuart Blackburn, Peter J. Clause, Frank J. Korom, Brenda Beck and so on who taught us the theories of folklore like Structural Theory, Contextual Theory, Performance Theory etc. We scholars learnt the scientific methods of fieldwork, documentation and to develop research articles.

As a result I was able to register my name for the Ph.D. thesis on Kooti Cennaya : a folklorist study (Kooti-Cehnnaya-ondu jaanapdiiya adhyayana) under the family in a village of Tulunadu. I am a writer and publisher both in Tulu and Kannada languages.

So far I didn't know much about the subject Kooti Cennaya except the story of the two twin brothers Kooti and Cennaya. But later on I came to know the subject is a complex yet fascinating folk field of Tulu Culture. According to the University order, I could have been submitted the thesis after two years of registration. But I couldn't even complete by the maximum period of five years. Anyway, I was able to submit the thesis at the end of sixth year.

Usually a thesis submitted to the university may not be published. Since I am a writer and publisher I decided to publish it in our publication called 'Hemamshu Prakashana'. Incidentally in 1998 I participated in a workshop conducted by the Pushthaka Pradikara (Book Authority) of Bangalore for publishers held at Dharward. This workshop gave me a comprehensive scientific outlook and technology regarding how to bring a research volume. Simultaneously a well-known artist Mr. Gopadkar was associated with me. While publishing the thesis I revised and abridged the theoretical parts. Mr. Gopadkar, Mr. Tejpal (Computer Expert) and Mr. Kalloor Nagesh of Aakrithi Computers, Mangalore co-operated with me in the aspect of design, layout and the photos selection. I have also done the re-field work documentation . The artist Mr. Gopadkar was with me for two years. He used to come with me for the field to draw the sketches, line-arts to take the snaps of the performances and spots required.

I have collected many versions of the oral epic Kooti Cennaya and made a comparative study in a separate chapter. But I couldn't keep any version of the epic in the volume since the text is so vast. Kooti and Cennaya generally used in the composite word Kooti-Cennaya, were born twins and trained warriors by profession, seemed to have served a Ballala feudatory subservient to Viajayanagara empire. I made an attempt to take the routes of this oral epic to the times of Viajayanagar empire.

The volume has been brought up in Crown 1/4 (9.5" x 7.5") size with case box binding (hardbound) or Library edition containing 420 pages of natural shade (cream colored) map litho paper, of face value price of Rs. 525 (U.S. $ 50), published in the year 2001.

This book is containing 105 multicolor photos in 29 pages, 165 b/w photos in 22 pages, 72 line-arts in 12 pages, 27 sketches in 8 pages, 10 tables in 27 pages, 21 page of classification, 15 blank pages and 306 text pages. In my fieldwork study I collected the data using Tape Recorder, Camera photos and field notes consulting and interviewing the informants. RRC Udupi, Porlu Karkala Studio, Kalpita Studio and our scholar Mr. S.A. Krishnaiah were contributed required important photos to my publication. For the preparation of thesis and to publish this volume hardly took twelve years. I would like to quote a few lines of the book review made by the critic K.S. Parthasarathy of Bangalore in Hindu a English Daily.

"The author studies the various worshipful forms of Kooti Cennaya, their appearance in the oral and Janapada literature, culture and art, their historicity and geographical spread, and the many variants of Garodis where they are worshipped along with their other gods, the extant Tuluva traditions of martial art, its structural and psychological angle in the light of theories of visual arts, form and context, comparison and value evaluation in the light of international folk scholarship and finally an inquiry into its undying popularity even in the modern times, even as there is no form of the media in which Kooti Cennaya is not presented today.

In spite of the mythological transformation, the story appears real and relevant as though to the present day audience of a Yakshagana performance of this subject as the narration keeps interlacing close with the real life of the other people and their times.

The work will stand out as a testimony to the collective genius of a race as it struggles to evolve its own unique identity. It is a monumental contribution in the form of a critical consolidation of all the works on this subject spread over a century.

The book is a work of art, full of photographs; sketches, drawings, and a wholesome get up. It carries exhaustive index and list of source materials. The volume is a confluence of literary scholarship, consummate artistry and dedicated love. It is a significant contribution to the renaissance that is sweeping the Tuluva people".

It is a great pleasure to me that for this book I have got seven Book Awards by various organizations, and by the Book Authority of Karnataka, the 'Pustaka Sogasu Bahumana' which is meant for the publisher for his unique publication work.

Dr. Vamana Nandavara Project Officer Heritage Village Pilikula Nisargadhama Moodudushedde, Mangalore-575 028

Tel: 0824-2240841/9448252698