Mancherial: Aare Dubba Rajam, a 42-year-old Naikpod artiste is trying to protect Thappetagullu, an ancient form of tribal dance show by presenting it during weddings, festivals and religious affairs of Adivasis.
A native of Singarayapet village in Jannaram mandal, he enthralled the audience at the recent Maisamma Jathara held at the ancient Gandhari Fort near Bokkalagutta on the outskirts of Mancherial town.
“I learned this dance form from my paternal uncle Katra Pocham of Thallapet in Dadepalli mandal. I have been performing it since 27 years. I perform during weddings, Naikpod festivals and congregation of our community members at local temples and religious structures,” he says.
“Thappetagullu is an endangered art form. It contains dance and three acts of imitation of wild animals. The duration of this dance show is somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour. A group of dancers, including women, led by a senior artiste, dance to beats of Thappeta (drum) and music of flute. The artiste guides members of the group,” stated Pasula Buchaiah, a veteran artiste and researcher of Naikpod community from Khammam district.
Artistes prepare Thappeta on their own using the skin of the goat. They play music by beating it instead of using wooden or iron sticks. Barely 40-50 teams can exhibit this art form. They belong to erstwhile Adilabad and certain parts of Jagtial and Nizmabad districts. Veerangam, another dance form of Khammam district resembles Thappetagullu, explained Buchaiah.
Naikpods dwelling in interior parts of Tiryani, Wankhidi and Asifabad mandals would ensure presentation of this dance show when performing marriages of their sons and daughters, and worshipping their deities such as Laxmi Devara and Maisamma. Naikpod is one of the nine Adivasi communities designated by Government of India as Scheduled Tribes.