sanda seivom
January 28, 2020 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Wow, thank you so much for posting this, for a completely unexpected reason! I read the first article about Arivu and was pleasantly surprised to read about Arivu's Arivoli roots. I have a deep personal connection to Arivoli, which was a pivotal literacy campaign in India because my mother spearheaded the campaign from the government side (in collaboration with Left groups). I can't say much more without destroying online anonymity.
From the article:
“Appa was a professor in government college (he became one only when he was 45) and amma a government school teacher. Both of them were also working with Arivoli Iyakkam (knowledge of light movement – a Left literacy movement). Their’s was an Arivoli marriage. We had no television at home, and we never got to hear the songs from movies.” But there were Arivoli movement songs that shaped Arivu’s imagination and politics. “Even as lullaby, appa or amma would sing only Arivoli songs,” Arivu says, breaking into one.

“Maadu meikka kannu unna naan anuppa maatenda,
Paadupattu naan uzhaichhu pallikoodam serpen da.

(My dear, I would never send you to rear cattle,
I would work hard and put you in a school.)”

This is so mind-blowing for me to read, because I was 5 years old when the campaign began, and 6 years old when it was declared a success. It made an indelible impression on me and I could recite all the lyrics to the Arivoli songs - I probably still have the cassette tape somewhere. I was allowed small roles in the traveling theater troupes, that staged kalajathas, or street plays in different villages, on important social topics, like the giving of dowries and the importance of teaching women and girls how to ride bikes. I marched in the parade that declared the district almost wholly literate. The sheer passion that people felt towards teaching their fellow men and women and the willing sacrifices they made to teach classes after their regular jobs was something inspiring and I feel privileged to have experienced that kind of mobilization once in my life.
posted by peacheater at 10:27 AM on January 28 [14 favorites]

Aaah that is amazing, thank you for sharing!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:36 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

That’s wonderful, peacheater.
posted by Songdog at 6:42 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting ChuraChura, nice to see Ambedkar’s ideas making a comeback, enjoyed sanda seivom, I’ll check out some more of his music.
posted by amil at 11:59 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]

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