April 7, 2002  

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Parothu Karunan Gurukkal of Chekor Kalari Troupe, Kadathanadu, Puthuppanam, Kannur

The fellowship awarded by the Central Government for persons of outstanding achievements in the field of arts and culture has been conferred for the first time on a Kalarippayattu guru.  Parothu Karunan Gurukkal of Chekor Kalari Troupe, Kadathanadu, Puthuppanam, Kannur has been conferred the fellowship in recognition of his lifelong dedication to the ancient martial art of Kerala.

Kadathanadu is a place famed in folklore as a fertile land of Kalarippayattu.  As a boy, Karunan Gurukkal learned Kalarippayattu in the kalaris of Kadathanadu.  However his thirst for knowledge made him travel far and wide in search of true masters.  After learning from many such eminent proponents of the art, he decided to come back to Kadathanadu and start a kalari of his own.

In 1957 the Chekor Kalari was formed.  For being fully involved with kalari, he turned down a job in Tamil Nadu.  In the early days Gurukkal used to write and direct dramas for the propagation of Kalarippayattu.

For more than 40 years now, Chekor troupe has demonstrated kalari in many parts of India and abroad. 

Karunan Gurukkal has only 5 cents of land to call his own.  Of this, 2 cents have been given to the Anganwadi and the balance to the Children’s Library and Cultural Centre.

Kalarippayattu has 4 parts: Meythari, Kolthari, Ankathari and bare hand.  Of these, the exercise using bare hand has been taken up by foreigners and converted into Karate, Judo and Kung fu.  If one is injured during Kalari exercise, there is medicine in the Kalari system itself.  However, if one is injured during practice of Karate etc, one has to approach a doctor.

Karunan Gurukkal and his disciples are ever willing to teach this system of healthy exercise to the new generation.  Patience is the essential requirement to learn it.


Courtesy: Biju Iringal, Kerala Kaumudi

Contributed by: Administrator


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