Vadakkan Pattukal

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Vadakkan Pattukal ( Ballads of North Malabar or Songs of the North) is a collection of Malayalam Ballads of medieval origin. These songs present sagas of heroes like Aromal Chekavar, Thacholi Othenan, Kannappa Chekavar, Aromalunni and heroines like Unniyarcha. These northern ballads exemplify the heights of folk-poetry. These ballads are also sometimes associated with deities. Almost all these ballads show strong connections with Kalaripayattu. The oldest compositions do not date earlier than 16th century but their idiom and vocabulary seems older. The Malayalam used is devoid of Tamil and Sanskrit, and thus is probably closest to spoken idiom.[1][2] However, like any other oral cultural forms that are sung by communities even today, these songs show great flexibility and a repetitive pattern in their lexicon that is typical of the simplicity of folksongs in general. [3]

The ballads cover a wide variety of themes ranging from the historical exploits of the legendary heroes of non-religious folk mythology to songs of lamentation and mourning. They are narratives full of dramatic tension: the main characters belong to the Chekavar or Nair communities, and are distinguished for their valour, military skill and sense of honour. (Contrastingly there are few songs which do not follow this commonality. “Adirajavinte Pattukatha” has a Muslim hero in it while the hero of “Karumparambil Kannante Katha” uses not his valour but his intelligence and tricks to win over the enemies.) Family feuds often provide the background or foreground of these stories in verse. Odenan, Aromal, Unniyarcha, Komappan, Chandu, Kelu, Alikutty and Kannan are a few of the unforgettable characters who figure in these ballads. Vadakkan Pattukal have been extensively understood and studied and used in popular cinema as female-centric, replete with strong women characters.[citation needed]

Malayalam movies based on Vadakkan Pattukal[edit]


  1. ^ Sujit Mukherjee, A Dictionary of Indian Literature (Orient Longman Publications, 1998, ISBN 81-250-1453-5), page 406
  2. ^ Vadakkan and Thekkan Pattukal.(Sri Rama Vilasom Press, 1967), pages 128–148
  3. ^ Rakhava Warrier, Vadakkan pattukalude Paniyala 1982 Vallathol Vidhyapeedom Press