‘Burra katha’ exponent Daroji Eramma passed away
The renowned and one of the last exponents of ‘Burra Katha’ Daroji Eramma (84) passed away.
Ms. Eramma, belonged to the ‘Budaga Janagama’ community, a nomadic tribe (SC), had perfected the folk art form of storytelling based on mythological and social themes. She was a famous personality across the country. Ms. Eramma could render as many as 12 epics by-heart, as per the records of the Department of Tribal Studies, Kannada University in Hampi. In recognition to her contribution to this art, the Kannada University honored her with the Nadoja Award. She was also conferred the Rajyotsava and Janapada Shri awards.
What is ‘Burra katha’?
“Burra” means ‘tambura’, a musical string instrument with a hollow shell. “Katha” is Sanskrit equivalent of ‘story’. Burra means a skull in Telugu. The shell resembles a human skull. It is made of baked clay or dried pumpkin, or of brass and copper.
Burra katha, is a oral storytelling practice in the Katha tradition, performed in villages of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Burrakatha tellers are called as “budagajangalu”. The ensemble consists of one main performer and two co-performers. It is a narrative entertainment that consists of prayers, solo drama, dance, songs, poems and jokes. The theme will be either a Hindu mythological story or a contemporary social issue.
The art is also known by other local names like Jangam Kataha in the coastal region of Andhra, in Rayalaseema is known as Tandana katha or suddulu and in Telangana it is Tamboora katha or sarada katha.
Popular performers of Burra Katha include Pendyala Venkateswarrao, Paruchuri Ramakotayya, Kosuri Punnayya, Kakumanu Subbarao, Mahankali Lakshmi and Moturi Udayam
The art is now on the verge of extinction with people turning to TV and internet for entertainment.
Burra katha a pastime event in villages can be seen even today especially during Dussehra or Sankranti festivals. It is used to narrate narrate events in epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat, etc. Burra Katha played an impressive role in delivering message to people and awakening people throughout the Indian Independence Movement.Since Burra Katha it was a medium to educate the people of the political situation, the British Government had banned Burra katha in Madras and the Nizam Government banned it in Hyderabad kingdom.