The girls in the community are expected to be a homemaker. Girls are married at a young age in the community. The decision making is largely left with men and not enough space is given to girls to pursue their own interests or careers. The community at vandiyooran kovil theru is predominantly a patriarchal one. Though there is a  relative freedom and respect to the girls playing Silambam now, there is a tendency to adhere to the established societal norms and stereotyping.

The community at vandiyooran kovil theru is predominantly a patriarchal one. Though there is a  relative freedom and respect to the girls playing Silambam now, there is a tendency to adhere to the established societal norms and stereotyping.

 

Kalaithaai students Maha and Keerthi with her Parents © Balamurali Krishnan
Kalaithaai students Ramya and her brother with her mother © Balamurali Krishnan
Kalaithaai student Kokila with her mother © Balamurali Krishnan

Madheswaran strongly believes Women are the future torchbearers of the Silambam.

Madheswaran strongly believes Women are the future torchbearers of the Silambam.There is a growing number of girls learning Silambam now.  What was early thought to be a Self defense martial art is being accepted within the community as a serious art and a vocation to be pursued. Girls playing Silambam earns respect and identity in the community.

Project Eyam is trying to engage people with oral history of people of Tamilnadu and  through the insights of both old and young to question the mainstream perceptions and explore how this could help bring a deeper understanding about our society’s past and present. Photography and Editing by Balamurali Krishnan