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USHA Hosts Silambam Championship In Puducherry's Nonankuppam

USHA Hosts Silambam Championship In Puducherry's Nonankuppam

It's a congregation of silambam players from across Puducherry. The meet, supported by USHA, drew around 100 passionate children, who braved the rain to literally fight it out with their sticks. Silambam player, Sunitha, said,

Everyone has to learn silambam as well as gymnastics to protect themselves from enemies or bad people.

Another player, Pradeep, said,

I want to be a national player. Silambam is also good for your health in addition to being a sport.

 A Class 11 student, Dharaneetharan, is battling it out to win the Silambam championship in the senior category. After several rounds, the player lost the championship to Nanda Govind , another Class 11 student.

I like this because our forefathers played this. I've been practising this for several years, and that's why I could win a gold and become a champion, Mr. Govind said.

Also Read: USHA Organises Tug Of War Competition In Bachgaon Village, Kurukshetra

Mr. Dharaneetharan said that he learns from other players and is motivated by their dedication. Besides, two young women, S. Bhagyalakshmi and R. Arulvizhi, slugged it out for top honours. Ms. Bhagyalakshmi, who wants to become a mathematics professor, struck gold in Silambam, while the IAS aspirant, Ms. Arulvizhi, said it was worth the fight and she would pursue it with more vigour. Ms. Bhagyalakshmi said,

We should revive a dying art form. For girls, this is not like any other art form, but a self-defense art, and this can be learned at any age.

Ms. Arulvizhi said,

I love the offensive part of this sport because I am also able to use and display my full energy in this. During my childhood, I've seen my father and grandfather perform this, and I used to love it so much.

Silambam, a self-defense martial art involving the use of a cane or a stick, was practised as early as the fourth century bc in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and had even become a part of the ancient military.However, over the years, it lost its charm as modern sports caught the public's fancy, and now the sport is making a comeback. Silambam veteran N V Gobalousamy stated that the sport was critical in combating germs that cause diseases rather than people.

We need to learn this as there is no other exercise like this.

Also Read: Through Silai School, USHA And Rourkela Steel Plant Are Providing Skill Development To Women In Odisha

The matches are held in two rounds. The first round, which is 90 seconds, consists a solo demonstration, where players are judged on the basis of their style, posture, and speed. In the second round, a three-minute clash takes place with an opponent, and the players are judged on their technicalities, including touches. Dr. Baskaran KC, a physician preparing for his master's degree, spent five years training in Silambam.He pitches in as a referee now even as he practises medicine.

You have to be a quick thinker, be fast on your feet. You cannot stand still, you have to be a sportsperson. You've got to be mindful of time as anything can happen, he said.

The meet drew many from the outskirts, where children face a dearth of silambam coaches. Many want the Puducherry government to follow the Tamil Nadu model, where Silambam is a part of school games and the students are provided with training and practise facilities during school hours, besides incentives for college admissions and job opportunities. R Bhaskar Datchanamourtty, MLA for Ariyankuppam, stated,

We too shall ask Chief Minister Rangasamy to introduce Silambam in schools the way Tamil Nadu has done. It is a traditional Tamil sport.

Joining hands for this revival of women entrepreneurs from the USHA Silai tailoring programme across the former French colony. Many took a day off to pitch in and help with organisational support. USHA Silai School entrepreneur, N Tamilselvi said, "This is our traditional art, it should not go extinct. Through the USHA program, the message will reach many people." Another Silai School entrepreneur, N. Kanchana, said,

I feel very happy. It's about fitness, and in Tamil Nadu, Silambam is a cultural thing and is very beneficial to our body.

A Silai School entrepreneur, J. Muthulakshmi, said,

Nowadays girls develop many health issues. I believe all diseases will vanish if they learn this kind of art.

Porkalai Poorani, an USHA Silai School entrepreneur, said,

This will check depression even if we work on this for two hours a week. Even 12-year-old children are now suffering from heart attacks.I believe this would benefit us both physically and mentally.

Also Read: USHA And Northern Railways Join Hands To Make Jaipur Women Financially Independent

Some USHA Moms, as they are fondly called, also got their children trained in Silambam and sent them to prove their mettle with the stick. Poongathai is excited that her daughter, Yazhini, a Class 5 student, got a chance to learn the martial art form. USHA Silai School entrepreneur, M. Poongathai, said,

In my childhood, people told me that even learning karate was wrong. I would definitely motivate my daughter and take her to the next level.

Silambam player, Yazhini, said,

I feel bold when I play Silambam, and I will never give it up.

Even a local NGO partnered with USHA to give life and shape to its vision. Puducherry Multipurpose Social Service Society (PMSSS) Project Coordinator, Saribha, said,

Most of the children are approaching us and saying they also want to play next time and that we should give them the opportunity. In Ariyankuppam, no one is conducting silambam competitions like this. USHA Silai puts in more effort and this is very helpful for the Puducherry children.

Encouraged by the positive response from Silambam trainers, aspirants, and parents, USHA has drawn up a plan to make this championship a regular part of Puducherry's sporting calendar. USHA International Regional Manager, Vadivelan Perumal, said,

Supporting this kind of one day event will motivate both organisers and participants to see this as a better event, so they will be able to understand the importance. They can pursue further levels—national and other events. We plan to support it once a year, it's a long term journey.

Following a positive connection with the younger generation fostered by their parents, there is undoubtedly a renewed interest in reviving the ancient silambam in Puducherry. USHA hopes they will be able to capitalise on this advantage and that their continued intervention will turn Puducherry into a strong contender in the silambam circuit of India.

Also Read: USHA Organises Its First Yoga Session In Maharashtra's Lakhori Village

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About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Kushalta Ke Kadam, an initiative by USHA Silai School and NDTV has entered its eighth season. The aim is to empower more women across rural India by teaching them sewing skills and helping them open new doors of opportunities for themselves. The initiative encourages rural women to become financially independent and entrepreneurs by taking up sewing and training others in their respective communities.


Since 2011, the USHA Silai School initiative has trained more than 12 lakh rural women through over 33,000 Silai schools, spanning over 20,751 villages across India.


The women earn Rs. 4,000 – 5,000 per month on an average, with the highest recorded monthly earning being Rs. 84,000 in a month. This earning works as a catalyst towards building their self-confidence, reducing gender inequities, and raising their stature within their families and in society at large.


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Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching
Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Rebari girls grow up learning traditional embroidery, which along with their new found sewing skills developed at Usha Silai Schools, is helping them earn a living.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School has empowered many rural women to support their family and send their children to school.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The Usha Silai School, established in a small nondescript village that goes by the name of Kottai, is helping empower people from varied communities.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The all-inclusive Usha Silai School Programme covers the entire nation from hamlets tucked between hills to villages cast by the sea.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Vegetables farmers from the Mizoram hills earn very little given the topography of the area. Usha Silai Schools have played an important part in this region by skilling women to financially contribute towards their households.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School learner Lucy has trained seven other women in her community, helping them to become financially independent.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Women like Kaviben from the nomadic Rebari community are finally laying down their roots as they begin to gain financial independence and thereby stability through Usha Silai School.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, located in the Gujarat's Bhuj village, is enabling rural women to earn as much as Rs. 2,500-4,000 each month.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, in association with a Gujarat based NGO called Kala Raksha, is trying to bring about a Silai revolution in Bhuj.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Besides training other women from their community, many Usha Silai School learners have become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

With sewing becoming easily accessible and lucrative, the silai schools are also helping revive traditional motifs and designs.