The 12th edition of the Isha Gramotsavam came to a magnificent close as thousands of people at the overflowing Codissia Grounds in Coimbatore joined the extravaganza at the Grand Finale of the rural sport tournament which has gripped the state for over a decade. This is how sports bring a sense of unity in the entire community. Irrespective of religion, caste, gender, everyone team up to participate in this sporting extravaganza.
The Women’s Devrayapuram throwball team and Men’s Vellore Latheri Volleyball team emerged as winners of the Grand Finale and The Women’s Gobi Muruganpudur throwball team and Men’s
Cuddalore Karunguzhi Volleyball team were runner ups.
A total of 10,360 players forming 880 teams participated in Gramotsavam this year. Breaking the caste, religion, community and gender barriers, Gramotsavam has improved livelihood, health, revitalized communities and to date has reached over 42 lakh people from 4,600 villages.
Shri Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and the first sportsperson in independent India to win individual Silver at the Olympics along with Dr Kiran Bedi, Governor of Puducherry and India’s first woman IPS Officer were the Chief Guests and Shri. P. Nagaraj, MP, Coimbatore was the guest of honour at the Isha Gramotsavam Grand Finale on 4 September.
Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation, who instituted Gramotsavam 12 years ago to revive the socio-cultural fabrics and well-being of Tamil Nadu, said, “These 12 years of Gramotsavam have been an evolution. But I want it to be a revolution. It has changed people’s attitudes towards caste, creed, religion and gender. The joy in playing sport is something that every human being should know. We as a nation should become a playful nation. If we are playful then many undulations and hardships will be smoothened out. This is something we have to bring back in our culture. We may not be able to provide resources to our people for a dignified life for a variety of reasons. But we must bring playfulness. The Andhra Pradesh Government has invited us to bring Gramotsavam. We will be taking it to AP in a big way. And soon we will set Puducherry also on fire.”
In addition to the games, the festival was a colourful delight of local delicacies, cultural performances and folk art.
To revive the dying folk arts, 20 ancient folk art forms involving around 200 artists from across Tamil Nadu performed at the Gramotsavam.
Isha Vidhya student Karthikeyan, who bagged a gold medal in archery in Indo-Nepal youth rural games was also felicitated.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, Isha Foundation organized a Volleyball game for the disabled in association with the Paralympics Association of Coimbatore.
Silver medalist at the Rio Olympics PV Sindhu along with ace cricketers sent special video messages to encourage the players of Tamil Nadu, particularly the women teams whose participation in Gramotsavam has doubled since 2015.
Isha Gramotsavam is a celebration of village life showcasing the essence of rural Tamil Nadu through an elaborate display of rural games, art, drama, dance, music and food specialties. The event highlights the role of sports in rural life by featuring the final rounds of a state-wide inter-village sports tournament. The festival is part of Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR), a rural revitalization program under the aegis of Isha Foundation.
Sports empower individuals, transform communities and inspire populations for positive change. For Isha’s Action for Rural Rejuvenation, sport has been the key to inspiring exuberance and oneness in the rural villages. It has become a tool of transformation, weaning villagers away from addiction, breaking caste barriers within the community, bringing women out of the home and empowering them, and reviving spirit and pride in individuals and the village as a whole.