Academy moots stipend for Yakshagana students at three schools

Mangaluru: , in an effort to encourage students desirous to master the traditional folk art of Yakshagana, has come forward to offer them a . The academy has chosen schools in Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts for this offer, which M A Hegde, chairman of the Bengaluru-based academy, says will spur dedicated students to take up the study of Yakshagana along with their mainstream education.
The academy will roll out this stipend scheme at in , Uttara Kannada. Students at this school of Yakshagana, where the art form is taught regularly for a year, will receive Rs 2,000 per month, Hegde said. The academy will give Rs 500 per month for students at Yakshagana Kendra and Hangarakatte Yakshagana Kala Kendra, both in Udupi. Students here learn the art form after their regular school hours, he said.

Averring that the number of students taking up Yakshagana as a profession is on the downslide, Hegde told TOI that the stipend scheme could help those wanting to take up the art form full-time, to meet some incidental expenses. Apart from encouraging those wanting to learn Yakshagana, the scheme is also a means to assuage natural concerns that parents and guardians have about their children or wards wanting to seek a livelihood in a non-traditional area, he explained.

Although there are many yakshagana melas, they struggle to find artistes to keep the show running, he said, adding the schools chosen for the scheme impart training in the Badagathittu form of Yakshagana. “If we get a school where training is imparted in the Thenkuthittu form, the academy will extend the scheme to such schools as well,” he said, adding the lone school that trained artists in the Thenkuthittu form in Dharmasthala has since closed.

In addition, the academy has also decided to offer a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 for each student who ventures to learn Mukha Veena, a musical instrument used in Moodalapaya, a form of Yakshagana. It is a difficult and dying art, he said, adding that after introduction of the stipend, 5-6 students have come forward to learn the same. “We need young artistes who can sustain this unique art form lest it is lost to posterity forever,” Hegde averred.

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