Keepers of history: Onake Obavva family and the dying art of kahale blowing

Keepers of history: Onake Obavva family and the dying art of kahale blowing

Submitted by Kumuda on Sun, 2016-07-17 15:05 Bengaluru: History is incomplete without the mention of Kahale’s significance in any battle, especially in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Blowing kahale is an art and not everyone can blow it. While, the art is almost extinct these days, a small family in Chitradurga has taken it upon themselves to save the dying art.Then Kahale or a trumphet-like object was used to declare a battle or any emergency by rulers. There was always one person designated to blow it, when in emergency. Today, these metal objects are relegated to museums dedicated to history.However, at Navikotsava – organised by the North America Vishwakannada Agara (NAVIKA) – being held in the city, the audience were treated to the art of blowing kahale by a family that has been practising it since ages. “It appeared like as if we were in some bygone era and the aritstes were  about to announce an important event,” said Sahana.The artistes are descendants of Onake Obavva – who crushed Hyder Ali forces trying to infiltrate to Chitradurga with a pestle – and her husband Kahale Madda Hanumanthappa who are passionate the kahale art.The art is now practised sparsely in Chitradurga, the fort town. Anyone can blow the kahale but it needs a special technique – to hold breath for a good amount of time.Hanumanthappa (76), great grandson of Obavva says "My forefathers served the Chitradurga rulers and were assigned to blow kahale.” As is tradition, Hanumanthappa has taught the art to his sons, grandsons and also many in Davangere, Kolar and other places.The artistes are a favourite among cultural programmes, especially conducted by the government. They are paid Rs 2,000 for every programme conducted by the Kannada and Cultural Department.                      While the family is doing its bit to keep the art alive, it has never discouraged younger generation from pursuing study. Somashekar, elder son of Hanumanthappa says, “My son is studying diploma in electronics and communication in Chitradurga Government Polytechnic College." Hanumanthappa's younger son, Kantaraj is a double degree holder.“Although, the kahale art may not have any significance today, it is a matter of pride to our family to keep the art alive,” says Dhananjay, grandson of Hanumanthappa.