Adilabad: Adivasi gudems in the districts of Adilabad, Mancherial, Asifabad, and Nirmal are already gripped with Gussadi or Dandari fever, much before Diwali festival.
While many elders are busy making Gussadi caps with peacock feathers, Adivasi youth and teenagers are practicing Gussadi and Kolatam dance in the evenings.
Diwali is an important festival for the Adivasis. It is an occasion when some Adivasi youth become ‘Gussadis’, wearing a cap made of peacock feathers, and perform traditional dances to the tune of traditional musical instruments tudumu, dappu, vetti, parra, peti, gummeta and kodal.
On Bhogi, four days before the Diwali festival, these Gussadis will visit neighbouring villages on invitation as part of their tradition, while Adivasi women visit the villages after Diwali and fix matches for prospective brides and grooms in their villages.
The Adivasis venerate the Gussadi as ‘Ethmasarpen’ (god) and special poojas are performed to the Gussadi at Padmalpurikako temple on the banks of river Godavari at Gudirevu in Dandepalli mandal in Mancherial district.
Adivasis purchase peacock feathers these days from local shops in Kerameri, Jainoor, Utnoor, Asifabad and Adilabad towns. Earlier, they used to collect peacock feathers from jungles, but things have changed with deforestation. A bundle of 100 peacock feathers costs `300-500 and the demand increases during Diwali days.
Kanaka Venkatesh of Marlavai of Jainoor mandal in Asifabad district said a group of youth were busy practicing Gussadi and Kolatam dance and also doing a rehearsal of funny Tamasha (skits) on different subjects and these would be performed as part of Gussadi or Dandari cultural programme in connection with Diwali festival.
“Some elders, who are experts in making Gussadi caps, are giving training to the youth to carry forward the tradition,” he said.
Jugunaka Latchu, an expert Gussadi cap maker, said: “Every year, we add 100-500 new peacock feathers to old caps to make them big and replace damaged feathers. There are nearly 1,500 feathers in a big cap and 700 in a small one.”