Marutham Community Awareness Centre, Alankuppam
Activities in Art, Culture, Heritage, Health and Environment
Balu, one of the founders of the Mohanam Cultural Centre, who also grew up in this village, would drive by the temple everyday. He had a strong personal call to talk with the head village men about using it as a community awareness centre. Balu envisioned a place where local village children could come together to learn about their own Culture, Heritage, Art, Health and Environmental issues in a sacred place, the Temple of Mariamman – the mother goddess. After several months, he was able to talk with the head village men and received permission to use the temple.
As a result, the Community Awareness Centre 'Marutham' was born; it is the first branch of Mohanam Cultural Centre in the vicinity of Auroville, which is located in Alankuppam. This temple may have a history behind it but it is not known so far for the younger generation.
Mari – Amman : 'Mari' means Rain and ' Amman ' means Mother. It means the mother who offers rain for the earth.
Relationship between Marutham and Mariamman
Temple: It is very interesting to see the relationship between Marutham and the Mariamman Temple, Mariamman means the mother goddess of Rain, Marutham means fertile land, without each other neither one could exist. So, one should understand that the name chosen for the centre is appropriate. It may have happened in random in choosing the name, but due to the relationship between these two, it is important for the center to have this name.
Marutham - the inhabitant of life: Since Marutham means fertile land, it can be said that this land holds a place for life. Similarly, this centre keeps the temple alive by means of cultural activities. More than 60 students regularly attend the weekend classes on Saturdays and Sundays. There are nine teachers who offer classes for these students. Most of the teachers were the students of Mohanam Cultural Centre. It is said in the Tamil Literature that the knowledge which one gets through learning will be fruitful only when it is passed to the others. It means the knowledge that one learns must be taught to others by themselves, then only they will get the fulfillment of attaining knowledge through learning. The students of Mohanam Cultural Center stand as a great example of this, since they are teaching their knowledge to their younger peers.
Learning Activities: At present six classes have been offered for the students in the Marutham Community Awareness Centre. The classes include Silambam, art classes such as drawing, painting, crayon, classical dance – Bharta Natyam, folk dance -Kolattam, yoga and Thappattam.
Marutham Team : The Marutham Community Awareness Centre is supervised by Rajeswari, who is from the same village. She has been actively looking after all the classes and organizes the logistics and activities of the department. It is not so easy for a married woman to spend her time in these kinds of activities particularly on Saturdays and Sundays. Her work should be appreciated in maintaining the space allotted by the village Panchayat to start this centre in their village. Apart from that she also gives art classes for the students. The other team members are:
Anandabaskar : He offers drawing classes for about 15 students from the villages of Alankuppam, Pudupakkam, Thuravi and Apparampattu. Anandabaskar, is one of the Mohanam students who learned how to draw in Mohanam. He is from Sanjeevi Nagar.
Anandavelu: He trains the students in Silambam. At present he has only 5 students. Anandavelu, is a student of Mohanam and he is from Sanjeevi Nagar. His students are from Alankuppam and Annainagar.
Jeeva: He offers painting classes for 10 students. The students are from Annainagar and Alankuppam. Jeeva was also a student of Mohanam. He has participated in Mohanam art classes and learned from 'Anbhazhagan' a well-known artist from Pondicherry .
Sivakumar: He specializes in crayon work. He teaches 10 students and his students are mainly from Alankuppam and Annai Nagar. He was a student from Mohanam and has participated in 'Anbazhagan' art classes held in Mohanam. He is from the same village, Alankuppam.
Sandhiya: By her dances and expression she has captivated many audiences, she has now started to give her gifted and fascinating talent in Bharatha Natiyam for the students from Alankuppam, Annai Nagar, Apparampattu and Pudu Nagar. At present she has 10 students in her class.
Suryaprabha: Last, but not the least, this teacher is very good in Bharatha Natiyam dance and now has emerged as a guru to teach her fellow juniors from Alankuppam, Annai Nagar, Apparampattu and Pudu Nagar. She offers classes for 10 students.
Yoga class: Komala was giving yoga classes in Marutham Community Awareness Centre for about four months and now she is committing herself for higher studies at the YMCA college in Chennai. So, Marutham is in search for a new guru.
There are about 60 students from the surrounding villages of Alankuppam, Pudunagar, Apparampattu, Anni nagar, Thuruvai and Pudupakkam attending these classes. From seeing the interests of the students and their participation, this number may increase.
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