‘Pili Nalike’ is Not Western Dance, Why Not Permit it during Dasara being Tradition…’- Samiti
- ‘Pili Nalike’ (Tiger Dance) is Not Western Dance, Why Not Permit it during Dasara being Tradition, even during Pandemic’- Dasara Shobhayatre Samiti-Mangaladevi Temple, Mangaluru
Mangaluru: Perhaps it is the isolation provided by the string of mountains and dense forests that surround it, or the mythologies that have developed from local epics, but what is certain is that festivities in south coastal Karnataka are filled with unique traditions. So, while Kudla aka Mangaluru followed the rest of the country in turning out at temples during the Dasara season, it also puts ‘pili vesha’ or ‘huli vesha’. Set to the resonating ‘thaase’ (traditional drum), figures painted as ‘pili’ (Tulu word for tiger/huli in Kannada) are a common sight outside homes and on roads. Completely painted in yellow and brown stripes from head to toe, a bunch of professional troupes, all mimicking tigers, will go door-to-door.
Pili Vesha/Pili Nalike in Tulu “Tiger Masque” is a folk dance performed during Navratri to honour the Goddess Durga whose favoured animal is the tiger. Dasara in Mangaluru is one of the festivals during which a large number of enthusiasts participate in this ritual. It originated in Udupi District of Karnataka and initially performed during the Krishna Janmashtami/Mosaru kudike and Ganesha Chaturthi at Mangaluru, Udupi, Moodabidri, Kundapur and many other places in Tulu Nadu.
Typically, young males form troops of five to ten members or more, which will have three to five males painted and costumed to look like tigers, and a band called thaase in Tulu with two or three drummers. This troop is accompanied by the manager of the group. During Navratri, these troops will be roaming the streets of their towns, with the accompanying drum beats of their bands. They stop at homes and businesses or on the roadsides to perform for about ten minutes after which they collect some money from the people who have observed their performance. The troops perform until the last day of Navratri, and almost all of them form part of the Sharada processions organized by various temples such as Mangaladevi, Gokarnanatheshwara and Venkatramana temple.
Samiti Members submitting memorandum to DC Dr K V Rajendra on 8 October
Dasara brought with it the age-old tradition of the pili vesha in coastal Karnataka, of course, now more influenced by reality dance shows!, but due to the Pandemic the District Administration has banned Tiger Dance during this year’s Dasara, which has upset many, and one organization named the ‘Dasara Shobhayatre Samiti, Mangaladevi Temple, Mangaluru on 8 October had urged the district administration to permit token performance of Pili Vesha or Huli Vesha during the Navaratri chariot festivals of Mangaladevi and Mariyamma temples. Samiti president Dilraj Alva and members had submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra in the matter here. It is learnt that the Deputy Commissioner heard them patiently and assured them of considering the demand during a meeting of temple administrations on October 13.
Addressing the media persons during a press meet held on Saturday, 10-10-2020 (a unique date) at Hotel Woodlands, Mangaluru, Dilraj Alva, the president of the Samiti said, ” Pili Vesha was being performed not for pomp and gaiety, but as a Seva (service) to the deities. As such, the administration should allow its token performance during the Rathotsava of the two temples from October 24 to 26. Pili Nalike is not a western dance, so why not permit during the forthcoming Dasara, at least for a short period of time, in order to please the deities. The Pili nalike will be strictly inside the temple premises, and will not be performed anywhere else. So, even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, by following strict Covid-19 rules, the DC should consider our request and allow us to have the tiger dance, only during the traditional rituals”.
Alva further said that the samiti held a meeting on l7 October in view of the restrictions imposed by the administration on the festivities. It decided to deploy one member each from 10 Pili Vesha teams of the region for the token performance, and this was narrated to the DC, but he still insisted on having the discussions on the topic during the temple administrations meet on 13 October. Out of the many teams, the ten Pili Vesha teams selected for this year’s Dasara are- Mulluhithlu Games Team; Mulihithlu Friends Circle; Adhi Maheshwari Friends Circle; Yemmekere Friends Circle; Young Guys Goraksha Dandu; New Yuvaka Mandala- Marnamikatta; Baby Raj Friends-Garodi; Geleyara Balaga -Arekerebail; and Mulihithlu Friends Tigers.
Dinesh Kumpala- Vice President, Girish Shetty-Secretary, Aneesh Bolar- Coordinator and Alwyn Monteiro- member -all of Dasara Shobhayatre Samiti were present on the dais during the press meet.