Valari, Tamil Nadu's Boomerang

Boomerang has always fancied our eyes, the way wooden tool manoeuvre in air and returns to thrower is no easy task to replicate which was in practice historically among the Australian Aboriginals. However, the lesser known fact is much ahead to the times of Boomerangs of Asutralian Aboriginals, ancient Tamil hunters had Valari or Valai Thadi (Throwing Stick) not only for the purpose of hunting but also in warfare. One such centuries old Valari was kept for display to the students and public here as a part of three day long antique exhibition held at the government museum in Town Hall.

Surviving antiques and artifacts of have always been catalysts to induce the interest among students and youths to learn the civilisation that once flourished but now lost to the sands of time, on the heels of such beliefs, in the exhibition featuring antiques as old from Sangam age, Medieval age, and Modern age at government museum here was displayed with a metal made Valari, believed to be used in Sivagangai district of the State. Unlike Boomerang, Valari were not meant to be returned to the thrower but can cause both lethal and non-lethal injuries in warfare. "Famous rulers of Sivagangagi, Periya Marudu Servai, Chinna Marudu Servai, and Thondaiman kings of Pudukkottai were experts in the art of throwing Valari. Not many are aware that Tamil people used a boomerang like weapons as well." Sharmalan Thevar, historical blogger said.

Antique collectors who displayed wooden and metal made Valari said that documentation about Valari and its usage all through the history was not properly maintained, thus limiting the familiarity of ancient hunting as well as warfare tool even among the indigenous people. Researchers said that Valari is a crescent shaped tool with one end being heavier than other, also with the outer edge being sharpened used for hunting in Southern Tamil Nadu. However, experts who have researched the origin of Valari said that the lethal tool had played considerable part in Polygar (Palayakkarar) wars. “There was a period in Sivagangai district during which families of bridegroom would marry off their girls to men who know to throw Valari in proper manner. But now, these ancient warfare tools should be sleeping in the store room of descendants. If not for the antique collectors, Valari would have remained much unknown.” V Raju, an epigraphist from Karur said. Large number of school students particularly the fans of Jungle Book cartoon were seen making enquiries with the antique collectors about the Valari displayed for public in the exhibition.


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