In school of life, this village an all-rounder

In school of life, this village an all-rounder

role model

The residents of Dodda Shettykere, a village nestled in the humble locales of
Turuvekere block in Tumakuru district, have made their village a wholesome and prosperous space.

Historically speaking, the village already beams with a 12-century stone inscription installed during the rule of King Narasimha of the Hoysala dynasty.

It says that following the death of this region’s chieftain Ramaiah Naik in a battle, his wife and her bodyguards Ganapi and Balla end their lives.

It’s anecdotally rich, too, in giving itself the name: Two siblings from Mysuru, Dodda Shetty and Chikka Shetty, took a fancy to this place and settled down here. However, following unresolvable differences, the brothers parted ways. Where the elder brother stayed put was named Dodda Shettykere, and the younger brother’s place of choice was Chikka Shettykere.

The village, it’s said, was once fortified. The rugged region, once dotted with stones and boulders, was surrounded by a fort with a 10-feet-high entrance door and 8-feet-high smaller doors. 

The front door fragmented as people abandoned the village following a plague outbreak.

Temples like Kumbara Gudi, Beeradevara Gudi and
Ankanathana Gudi here suggest that potters and shepherds lived in large numbers.

Can faith move mountains?

Legend has it that Gumbaligowda, a village ancestor, installed the temple  idol of Ranganathaswamy, removed from the depths of a well following a visit by the lord himself in his dream.

However, D Thippanna, a resident and an ex-serviceman, begs to differ. According to him, philosopher
Ramanujacharya, after losing the patronage of the Chola Kings in Tamil Nadu, visited Karnataka and installed idols of Lord Ranganathaswamy at many places. 

The one at Bettada Ranganathaswamy Temple in Dodda Shettykere is among them, he says, and adds the fact that statues of Ramanujacharya and poet-saint Alwar were also found here.

Link back

Cultural and utilitarian artefacts are preserved in the village for youngsters’ journey to the past. Experts from Karnataka Folklore University, Haveri have recently studied rare items like naagavasa (a type of lamp), gavakshi (window), boats, grinding stones, pots and utensils, mirror, and mora (sieving pans) etc.

Reviving folklore

Tamboori and tabla are among the musical instruments strummed to accompany the Bhagavantike Mela. A team comprising the village elders Thippanna, Ramachandra and Padiyappa roves to perform. It has taken part in Mysuru Dasara and won awards. They dress up in black coats, a petha (head gear) and anga vastra, and carry along taala, kanaka and tamate — the traditional ensemble. The village has now secured accessories and apparels for other folk forms like Veerabhadra Kunitha, Keelu Kudure, Tamate Vadya, Dollu Kunitha, Karadi Kunitha and Sobana Gayana, and trains youngsters in them.

Saving school 

The residents of Dodda Shettykere have realised the importance of education and come together to save the only Kannada-medium primary school on the verge of closure.

As student numbers began to dwindle, the timely intervention by the Save
Trust saved the school. Village elder Thippanna has donated 17 guntas of land for the school, which now bustles with students.

Vanitha Vedike or the all-woman’s theatre group has kept the theatre culture alive. The plays Shabarigadanu Atithi Dasharathi and Elu Samudradaache based on Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Kuvempu have received applauds.

Bye, bye brew

Gusty residents have ensured that young people and men have given up gambling and boozing, which was once the order of the day!

Persistent civil and social mini revolutions have resulted in the construction of public toilets, a community hall and the formation of a trust to look after the village’s development.

Omnipresent ‘Ranga’

Much to everyone’s amusement, every male in the village bears ‘Ranga’ in his name, after the presiding deity Ranganathaswamy. There’s Rangappa, Ranganna, Rangajja...

Here, most families are related to each other (sodara kutumbagalu). However, they no longer allow alliances within
families and encourage associations from outside.

With farming as the primary occupation, the households are segregated into dodda okkalu, chikka okkalu and sanna okkalu, depending on the quantity of land they till.

Great camaraderie

Dodda Shettykere’s residents source their veggies and greens from a common field located on the village’s outskirts for their lunch and supper.

They toil the field together and
reap the fruits of their labour. As a mark of solidarity, no family grows veggies in its backyard. 

 (Translated by Jyotsna P Dharwad)

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