Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Telangana’s Tribal Fair: Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

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From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

Mains level : Not Much

Medaram, a tiny village in Telangana’s tribal heartland of Mulugu district, is getting ready to host the Sammakka-Sarakka jatara, billed as the country’s biggest tribal fair.

Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

  • The mega four-day jatara, scheduled to begin on February 16 in Medaram. It takes place once in two years.
  • It is perhaps the only tribal fair devoted to pay tribute to tribal warriors who made supreme sacrifices defending the rights of aboriginal tribal people.
  • It symbolises the traditions and heritage of the Koya tribal people.
  • The sacred site in Medaram and its surrounding Jampanna vagu, named after tribal martyr Jampanna, son of Sammakka, comes alive with lakhs of devotees during the four-day jatara.

Why do tribals come to Medaram?

  • This festival commemorates a tribal revolt led by Sammakka and Saralamma, a mother-daughter duo, against levy of taxes on tribal people during drought conditions by the then Kakatiya rulers in the 12th century.
  • Tribals (and others) flock to Medaram during the jatara not just from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but also from as far as Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
  • Sammakka and Saralamma are revered by devotees as tribal goddesses, and devotees make offerings to propitiate them to bestow health and wealth.
  • All the rituals at the jatara site are held in tune with tribal traditions under the aegis of tribal priests.

Features of the celebrations

  • One of the striking features of the tribal fair is the offering of jaggery to the tribal goddess at the altars (bamboo poles).
  • It encompasses common features of tribal fairs – die-hard devotees going into a trance, the sacrifice of fowls and goats, besides pulsating traditional drum beats accompanying folk songs.

 

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