By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Madikeri: The impact of modernisation, globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation has significantly eroded indigenous customs and traditions, leading to their gradual decline. Nevertheless, the establishment of the Kodava Heritage Centre at Madikeri in Kodagu dedicated to preserving these customs and traditions for future generations is commendable, said Dr. M. Nanjaiah Honganur, Head, Department of Studies in Folklore, University of Mysore.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Dr. Nanjaiah Honganur said that in recent times, the cultural heritage of our land is rapidly fading away due to the influence of modernity. It is the collective responsibility of all individuals to safeguard these practices and pass them on to the next generation.
“Kodagu boasts of a unique culture and environment. Establishing a Heritage Centre in collaboration with the Kodava Samaja to safeguard the customs and traditions of the region is a worthy endeavour. It aims to narrate the history of the land through both physical and virtual means,” he said. “Presently, our customs and traditions are being relegated to the pages of history due to various factors and the pressures of modern life. Kodagu takes great pride in its distinctive traditions, making it essential to preserve them. Efforts should focus on conserving customs related to Kodava marriages, festival celebrations, funeral rituals, agricultural practices, farming in hilly regions and heritage handicrafts. These aspects must form the core of conservation initiatives, which need to be undertaken promptly,” he suggested.
Museums, often referred to as ‘material culture house’ exhibits items once used by our ancestors, such as farming equipment, household articles, attire and other objects. These museums play a crucial role in introducing younger generations to our traditions and customs. They serve as a timeless resource for transferring culture to the next generation, raising awareness about historical artefacts. Museums dedicated to culture hold particular significance in society, he added.
Opposition from some quarters to the establishment of the Kodava Heritage Centre is unjustified, he noted. “Educating the younger generation about age-old practices becomes our responsibility. Online museums dedicated to specific topics have gained popularity and a similar demand has emerged in Kodagu. While these digital platforms benefit educated individuals and netizens while creating global awareness, regular museums attract a wider audience,” he added. The opportunity to closely examine and interact with exhibits in person provides a unique experience. The freshness and tactile engagement during a visit to a traditional museum are unparalleled, he noted.
“Regardless of cultural form — be it folk, coastal or any other — all folk practices should be preserved and programmes should be designed accordingly,” Dr. Nanjaiah Honganur added.