Antige-Pantige (aNTige-paNTige) (ಅಂಟಿಗೆ-ಪಂಟಿಗೆ) is a religious, community ritual that is practiced in Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluuru and some parts of North Kannada districts. This is practiced by the communities of okkaliga, hasala, dIva, lingAyata and banT. This activity takes place during the Deepavali festival. (Festival of lights) The word ‘anTige’ is derived from ‘dIpa anTisuvudu’ (lighting a lamp) ‘Pantige’ is associated with paNTagai (Tamil) and ‘panDaga’ (Telugu) both the words meaning ‘festival’. Another interpretation links it to the Tamil and Malayalam words ‘paNTam’ meaning ‘lamp’. Even in Kannada we have the word ‘haNate’, which again means an earthen lamp. Anyway, the combination ‘anTige-paNTige’ is associated with lighting a lamp and taking them around the streets of a village. The songs that are used during this occasion are called ‘aNTike-panTike padagaLu’ (ANTike-PaNTike songs)
In the MalnAD region of Karnataka, DeepavaLi is celebrated for five days and the “ANTige-paNTige’ ceremony begins on the evening of the second day. Young people of a given village assemble at a field called ‘jaTTiga bana’ or at a temple. They worship the deity and then the light is lit from the ‘nandAdIpa’ at the temple..It is a big lamp made of either bronze or clay. Usually it comes with a handle. The troupe carries some oil in an earthen jug to replenish the supply. The troupe consists of five persons. The leader carries the lamp with him. Two singers walk in front of him and the other two follow him. There is no special costume meant for this ritual. They wear simple shirt/jubba, dhoti and a headgear. (RumAlu) The singers hold thick sticks to ward off danger.
They do not even use musical instruments. The lamp is protected from wind so that it is not extinguished. Such an event is considered a bad omen.
The troupe goes from village to village. In every village, they go from house to house lighting a lamp belonging to the family, with the lamp that they have carried with them. Usually, they visit only such families that are above them in the caste hierarchy. Every act connected with this activity has a song associated with it. They sing a song requesting the family to open the door. Another song is presented when lighting the lamp. There are many more songs that follow suit. They move on to the next house, once the lamp is lit and kept in a particular place. (balIndrana kamba)
They sing longer narratives also during their journey from village to village. guNasAgari pada, gOvina pada, gange-gowri pada and shivayOgi pada are some of them. Occasionally there is a touch of ribaldry and the obscene in these songs. They are also known as ‘ballALi padagaLu’ and ‘bingi padagaLu’.
These troupes are bound by certain rules. For instance, paths of two such troupes are not supposed to cross one another. If such an eventuality takes place, they ward off one another by shouting ‘dIpa dIpOLge’. Similarly, if some untoward incident like death or pollution has taken place in the family that has to receive the lamp first, the ritual is suspended for that year and it is not resumed for the next three years. Every family gives something to the singing troupe either in cash or kind. After traveling like this for a number of days, the troupe returns to its village. They assemble at the ‘jaTTigbana’ or at the temple from which point they started their journey. The lamp is left there till the next dIpAvaLi.
‘ANTige-paNTige’ is a typical regional practice and it has enriched the cultural life of these communities.
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