Tigresses of Kerala are here to make a statement again

pulikkali preparation
Women tigresses getting ready for dance on Sep 7

As Thrissur prepares to  welcome the tigers as part of the famous Pulikali, this time too the city will witness the roar of a group of tigresses who are set to make a statement on the streets today.

The tigresses are led by a group of feminists and activists who have been motivating the women in Kerala to come out and enjoy their freedom as equally as men do. While last year only 4-5 women came out to perform Pulikali, this time over a dozen of women are dancing to the famous drum beats typical of this dance, which marks the end of Onam celebration in Thrissur.

Majority of the tigress dancers are teachers.

Another attraction of today’s Pulikkali is that it will be accompanied by a women orchestra comprising 30 female artists.

Vinaya, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) at Kerala Police, is spearheading the team under their organization called Wings (Women Integration and Grow Sports), which works for the empowerment of women by encouraging their participation in male-dominated festivities and sports.

Says Vinaya, “For ages, women have been confined by the so-called deity status assigned to her by the male-dominated society. Festivities made no difference for her. While men enjoyed these activities at the fullest with their body and soul, the spirit of women lay dead inside her idolized body.”

“This Pulikkali is yet another reminder that women can incarnate as tigresses in today’s societal conditions as well,” said Deepa, an official at Wings.

This Pulikkali is one of the several steps initiated by Wings team as part of their women empowerment initiatives. The organization has been actively pursuing adventure sports and recreational sports, among other social activities.

Photo: Adv Sudha Haridwar

Rajani Baburajan