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Characterstics and Heritage Strengths of Nadars I

With the physique of the nadars examined at Nazareth and Sawyerpuram in Tinnevelly, and their skill in physical exercises everyone was very much impressed more than one and half century ago.

The programme of sports, which were organised in my honour, included the following events :

Fencing and figure exercises with long sticks of iron-wood (Mesua ferrea).

Figure exercises with sticks bearing flaming rags at each end.

Various acrobatic tricks. Long jump.

Feats with heavy weights, rice-pounders, and pounding stones.

Breaking cocoanuts with the thrust of a knife or the closed fist.

Crunching whiskey-bottle glass with the teeth.

Running up, and butting against the chest, back, and shoulders.

Swallowing a long silver chain. Falconry.

Cutting a cucumber balanced on a man's neck in two with a sword.

One of the good qualities was, his arms reached to his knees, or, in other

words, he possessed the kingly quality of an Ajanubahu, which is the heritage of kings, or those who have blue blood in them.

Those Nadans who are engaged in the palmyra (Borassus flabellifer) forests in extracting the juice of the palm-tree climb with marvellous activity and dexterity. There is a proverb that, if you desire to climb trees, you must be born a Shanan. A palmyra climber will, it has been calculated, go up from forty to fifty trees, each forty to fifty feet high, three times a day.

The story is told by Bishop Caldwell of a man who was sitting upon a leaf-stalk at the top of a palmyra palm in a high wind, when the stalk gave way, and he came down to the ground safely and quietly, sitting on the leaf, which served the purpose of a natural parachute. Wood-

peckers are called Shanara kurivi by birdcatchers, because they climb trees like Shanars.

Bsram B


I am a writer.

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