Koodiyattam - Preserve of the Brahminical Chakyar Clans

Q.  Which of the following is/are true regarding Koodiyattam?

1) Koodiyattam was a preserve of the Nair Clan of Kerala.
2) Mizhavu is a percussion instrument that is played by a person of the Ambalavas Nambiar caste in Koodiyattam performance.

- Published on 25 Oct 16

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWER: Only 2
 
  • Koodiyattam, with a known history of around 1,000 years, is no longer the sole preserve of the Brahminical chakyar clans.
  • Between 1949 and 1965, it underwent some radical changes.
  • It was brought out of Kerala‚Äôs temples by Paimkulam Rama Chakyar, and its teaching moved to an institution called Kalamandalam, where it acquired students and practitioners from other castes as well.
  • In the temples of Kerala, however, even today the chakyar has monopoly over the right to perform koodiyattam (adyantara koothu). And only the six remaining chakyar families have the right to act in the plays offered as ritual.
  • Traditionally, the main musical instruments used in Koodiyattam are mizhavu, kuzhitalam, etakka, kurumkuzhal, and sankhu.
  • Mizhavu, the most prominent of these, is a percussion instrument that is played by a person of the Ambalavas Nambiar caste, accompanied by Nangyaramma playing the kuzhithalam (a type of cymbal).

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