Monday, February 21, 2011


The pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe. This traditional pleated dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers and salwar kurtas.

IF THE songs, `Pavada prayathil' and `Pavadai davaniyil', were to be written today, the lyrics would not be the same.
For, the pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe.
This pleated traditional dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers, salwar kurtas, midis and skirts.
In Kerala, only the `bold' wore the salwar kurta two decades ago. And then came the invasion of the electronic media and salwar kurtas found their way into the hearts of Malayali girls.
If you want to see Malayali girls in pattu pavada-blouse sets today, then you have to be invited to a wedding. Or you should visit a temple or wait for November 1 (Kerala Piravi Day).
The pavada has its western counterpart: the skirt. What had flowed down over the ankles during the Victorian era has, over the years, transformed itself to the midi, the mini and the micro skirts, all of progressively decreasing length. Micros and minis may be the rage in Indian metros, but Thiruvananthapuram is yet to catch up with this trend.
Traditionalists, however, need not worry. A few still prefer the pavada. "I wear jeans, skirts and salwar kurtas to college," says Saumya, a student of Engineering "But I do wear pavada and half-sari (davani) occasionally. I recently got a pavada stitched. But it's unrealistic to think that pavada will be worn as it used to be 15 to 20 years ago. But things have improved from the way it was five years ago, when the pavada or the half sari was hardly seen."
On a whim, Saumya's mother bought her a Kancheevaram pavada recently.
"Wearing pavada and blouse to college is very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Getting on and off buses, in heavy pavada, is very difficult. It is a decorative outfit, and not a functional one. Hence, it is best to wear it on select occasions. I buy it only once a year, during Onam, and that's the only time I wear it; that is, if there are no marriages to attend," says Siddhi Devi, a B.Com student .
She prefers jeans and salwar kurta, as they are "very convenient to wear". But she is quick to add, "This does not mean I dislike pavada and blouse."
Even mothers don't want to force the pavada on their daughters. Says Usha, mother of 14-year-old Sharada, who studies in Holy Angels Convent, "Of course, the pavada is very beautiful and traditional, but I don't compel my daughter to wear it. And it is not like she never wears the pavada. We get her one for Onam, weddings or other occasions. At times, she herself demands that she wants to wear it to some function."

The success of the Sari

The success of the Sari is attributed to its total simplicity, practical comfort, and sense of luxury a woman experiences when she wears one. A sari is an outfit which reveals as much as it hides. How to wear a sari is an art which require practice. A Sari properly draped transforms a woman to become graceful, stylish, elegant and sensuous. But a clumsily draped Sari brings down the look of the Sari and spoils the whole appearance of the woman.

Malayalee wedding

Malayalee wedding is full of excitement and fun. In a traditional wedding, a search for the right candidate is initiated as soon as girl and boy attain the marriageable age. Horoscope matching is of prime importance. Compatibility for the couple is seen by calculation done by some astrologer. If the horoscope matches, then an auspicious date is selected.
Close relatives and friends participate enthusiastically in every ceremony and share joyous moments. There are no rigidities in the Malayalee wedding.
An engagement ceremony is held where elders make the announcement to the family members and relatives about their ward?s engagement. It is popularly called ?Nishayam?. The prospective bride and groom are not part of this ceremony.
After this, various preparation are started in the house of boy and girl. Special sweets are prepared and decorations are done to give a new face to the house.
On the wedding day, a special feast is organized and served to the guests at the bride?s house. Bride is made to sit facing the east and served a traditional five course vegetarian meal.

Women in Kerala

Women in Kerala are able to be educated and have the opportunities that education affords them such as participating in politics, keeping up to date on news, reading religious texts, etc. Every Kerala girl or woman above the age of six can read and write. Women are largely educated and daughters are thought to be as prized as sons. Christian missionaries also influenced Malayali women in that they started schools available to girls from poor families.
Kerala has been praised for its treatment of women because of characteristics such as these. Kerala's women have become doctors and pilots, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors of India; they have shone in sport, in politics, in the armed forces

The Malayali people

The Malayali people (also spelled Malayalee; Malayalam: മലയാളി) are the inhabitants of Kerala or their descendants. They are not a homogenous group; but are defined by their use of Malayalam. While the majority of Malayalis belong to Kerala, significant populations also exist in other parts of India, the Middle East, Europe and North America. According to the Indian census of 1991, there were 28,096,376 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 96.6% of the total population of that state. Hence the word Keralite is often used in the same context, though a proper definition is ambiguous.



Sugathakumari is an Indian poet - activist, born in 1934, who has been at the forefront of environmental and feminist movements in Kerala, South India. She played a big role in the Save Silent Valley protest. She formed Abhayagrama, aka Abhayagramam, a home for destitute women (Athani) and a day-care centre for the mentally ill. She was the former chairperson of the Kerala State Women's Commission.
Her father is Shribotheshvaran and her mother is V.K.Karthiyayini. Her husband is Dr K.Velayudhan Nair and her daughter is Lakshmi. She was the Principal of Jawahar Balabhavan. She was the Editor of a Magazine Thaliru. She has won several awards.
Kumari was inspired by her father's poetry as well as his strong beliefs: 'He was a freedom fighter filled with the all too rare ideals of patriotism and sacrifice.' His example influenced her deeply and led her eventually to the conviction that the writer has an important obligation as a social conscience. Although she is best known as a poet environmentalist, Kumari is also the founder of Abhaya (refuge) -- an organization which gives shelter and hope to female mental patients. Her work to launch Abhaya was prompted by an off-chance visit to the government-run Mental Hospital in the capital, Thiruvananthapuram. There women were housed in 19th century conditions, sexually abused and regularly prostituted to men in the neighboring police camp. When she visited the hospital she saw 'women's bodies covered with sores and stark naked. They were emaciated and their hair was matted. They didn't even look like human beings.' The horror of this experience was embedded in her mind and she decided on the spot to do something about it, despite opposition to interventions from ngos by professionals in the field. However, recent news reports

paint a totally different picture of the poet-activist and cast doubt on her credentials. The recent expose of alleged rape

of a lower caste woman by Abhaya office bearers within the center premises as reported in a leading political magazine - PATHRAM - and efforts to cover up the act have raised questions over the center which was originally constituted to treat and rehabilitate victims of such acts.



Jayabharathi (Malayalam: ജയഭാരതി) (Tamil: ஜயபாரதி) is a popular Malayalam film actress who started her career in late 1960s. She is a two-time winner of the Kerala State Film Award for best actress.[1] She was born in 1953.

Jayabharathi became one of the most successful Malayalam film actresses and performed with such notable leading men as Prem Nazir, Madhu, Jayan, M. G. Soman, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. She won the Kerala State Film Awards for her performances in various films in 1972 and Madhavikutty in 1973. One of her famous films was Rathinirvedam, directed by Bharathan, in which she played the role of a woman who fell in love with a boy younger than her.[2] She also directed few films in Malayalam.

After being trained since the age of five under Kalamandalam Natarajan, Rajaram (a student of Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai) and Vazhuvoor Samraj Pillai, Jayabharathi entered films as a teenager. Life revolved around film studios, dance rehearsals and stage performances. The actress is busy these days with her dance school, Aswathi Arts Academy, which she runs from home. She is also starting another one in Coimbatore. In 2003, Jayabharathi performed in nine temples in and around Kerala.[3] She is married to Malayalam actor Sathar with whom she has a son named AKS Unni.