Living in the jungles of Wayanad in Kerala, for K Govindan, better known as Govindan ‘Aashan’, bow and arrows are almost like extensions of his hands. The 72-year-old ‘ancient archer’ continues to teach archery to the younger generation with the intention of preserving the age-old skill.
Govindan hails from the Mullur Kurma community of Wayanad, which considers hunting sacred. The people in his community hunt for food alone, not for business. But some years ago, Govindan decided to turn into a vegetarian to atone for all the animals he and his forefathers hunted.
Currently, he spends most part of his day showcasing his talent to the visitors using the tools he made using bamboo. Their tools are considered so sacred in their community, that when the hunter dies, his tools are put on their pyre.
Apart from coming to watch him, many people from around the world arrive to become his students. While Govindan is happy to see the enthusiasm among these learners, he also feels sad that most youngsters from his own community are not interested in learning their age-old archery techniques anymore.
For Govindan, age is not a barrier. He is agile, energetic and engaged throughout the day. He is determined to spread the word about preserving age-old archery to as many people as he can.
Watch the skills of this legendary ‘ancient archer’:
(Edited by Pranita Bhat)