A dying art
It is a treat to watch the Araiyar of Srivilliputtur perform the ``Abinaya'' depicting the life of Andal, who was found as a five- year-old child in the garden (``Pancha Varshath, Divyaroopath, Divayapara Bhushithath,'' according to Varaha Puranam) and was
They had to undergo training for at least 18 years to perfect the art of `Abinaya.' But the Government, without realising their uniqueness and importance, declared them temple servants and they would have to retire like others on reaching the age of superannuation. Despite lucrative offers, the Araiyars had not given any audio or video recordings. There were many greener pastures, but the Araiyars of Srivilliputtur, though ``retired'' by the Government, were serving the Lord without expecting any remuneration. The Government and the devout public ought to see that this system which had been in vogue for a millennia, is continued in the temples. The Government spends a lot to preserve folk arts and other forms of dance, so it should not turn a blind eye to the performing art of `Araiyar Sevai.'