Survey, Mapping and Documentation of Performing Arts Forms of Lakshadweep

Sangeet Natak Akademi has been engaged for long in the work of mapping, preserving, and promoting the traditional performing arts of India. Creation of a database of the various performing arts of India has now become an essential requirement for creation of a National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). The ICH elements nominated at present are required to be supported by proper documentation including textual and audio-visual materials. Working
towards this end, the Folk and Tribal Advisory Committee of Sangeet Natak Akademi recommended that the mapping, survey and documentation of the performing arts of Lakshadweep should be taken up on a priority basis in collaboration with the Lakshadweep Kala Academy.

The islands comprising the Union Territory of Lakshadweep are located in the Arabian Sea off the Malabar coast. Of these islands, Minicoy is geographically in the proximity of the Maldives and slightly separated from the rest of the Lakshadweep islands. Lakshadweep comprises 35 islands, of which only ten are inhabited. The matrilineal system is followed in Lakshadweep. The majority of the population are Sunni Muslims, while a few are Wahabis and Ahmadiyas. The total
area of Lakshadweep is 32 sq. kms. Though a tiny part of India, Lakshadweep has within its jurisdiction a considerable expanse of water including 4,200 sq. km of lagoons, 20,000 sq. km of territorial waters, and 4,00,000 sq. km of Exclusive Economic Zone. The total population as per the census records of 2001 is 60,595.

The following islands of Lakshadweep were covered by the documentation team from Sangeet Natak Akademi, and the following performing art forms have been documented:

Islands (all distances from Kochi) - Kavaratti 3.60 sq. kms (404 km); Amini 2.60 sq. kms (407 km); Kadmat 3.20 sq. kms (293 km); Andrott 4.84 sq. kms (293 km); Minicoy 4.22 sq. km (398 km); Kalpeni 2.30 sq. kms (287 km).

Performances from Kiltan and Chetlat have also been documented at Amini Island. Forms Daffumuttu, Parichakkali, Kolkkali, Attam, Ulakkamuttu, Obela, Kattuvili, Kaikottipattu, Ratheeb (Dikar), Dolippattu, Mangalyappattu, Arimathi Beru (male and female), Lava, Thara, Bandiya and performance of Jihadhoni.

Method of Documentation Interviews, lecture-demonstrations, live performances and stage performances.

Types of Documentation Video, audio, still photography, and written documentation.