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23 Jan 2021, Edition - 2020, Saturday

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Coimbatore

The legend of broken bangles and stolen nose-studs

Irshad Ahamed

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Thanjavur: In a weird village custom, women and girls belonging to the Kallar community in Karukkadipatti village in Thanjavur district’s Orathanadu block have not worn bangles and nose-studs for generations. They fear the wrath of ‘Mazhavappan Sami’, a reincarnation of Ayyanar, the deity guarding their village.

Wearing these ornaments is considered an act of sacrilege by the village elders.

According to 57-year-old Muthu Uthirapathi , a resident of this village, the women of the village used to wear bangles and other ornaments some 400 years ago. But the legend goes that Mazhavappan, who wore bangles and nose-studs himself, forbade the women from doing so.

“Since then, the women and the girls in the village do not wear bangles and nose-studs. If anyone dared to defy the deity’s diktat, the ornaments would get broken or lost. Besides, the deity is so powerful that the women who wore these bits of jewellery will fall ill,” Uthirapathi said.

Sasikala, who now settled in Karukkadipatti after marriage, claimed her bangles broke the moment she stepped into her husband’s home. “I prayed for the mercy of Mazhavappa Sami and also stopped wearing bangles”, she said.

Padma, 32, a native of Thekkur village, who now settled in Karukkadipatti village following her marriage with Karunanidhi of this village some 11 years ago, said that she stopped wearing bangles and a nose-stud the moment she was betrothed to him.

“Some ten years ago, I went to bed after wearing a nose-stud unmindful of the warning by village elders. When I woke up the next day, I found the stud missing. My nose was swollen with unbearable pain. Since then, I have no passion for ornaments,” says 35-year-old Rathidevi.

Even the women from this village who move out after marriage do not wear bangles or nose-studs, says 60-year-old Padmini, wife of Sami Ayyan, of this village.

In another curious custom practised here, girls who attain puberty are kept out of the village till their menstrual period is over. Till then, they are made to stay at the houses of their relatives living in other villages, sources said.

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