Kole Basava

Kole Basavas (Kannada: ಕೋಲೆ ಬಸವ) are ceremonial bulls that are used for street performance led by one–two folk musicians. The musicians generally play a double-reed aerophone called nādasvaraṁ, and perform skits. As part of the skit, the musician would ask questions to the bull, and it would respond by nodding its head. This has led to creation of a Kannada-language idiom with the same name kole basava which means someone who nods to everything without even thinking though! The bull in this video could be a basava (a non-nodding normal bull) that can turn into a nodding kole basava when the time comes.

Kole Basava, also known as Gangireddu in Telugu, is a decorated ox (also known as basava) with its master (gangireddollu in Telugu) in a Bengaluru (Bangalore) street in Karnataka, India. Gangireddollus are people of nomadic castes like jangam from the Andhra-Karnataka region who receive old oxen from farmers after the oxen become unfit for farming. The gangireddollus walk from door to door begging for old used clothes. They blow trumpet to entertain to the people whose house they visit. In Andhra Pradesh and Telegana they visit houses where people would come out to offer food to the ox and take blessings as the oxen and cattle as a whole are regarded as holy. The gangireddullus after receiving the oxen take out the metal shoes (used to protect their foot from wearing down) and sell them. They take care of the oxen until the death of the animal and then sell them to the brahmins (priests) and chamars (castes who tan animal skin).

Special thanks to Dr. U.B. Pavanaja and Shruthi.J. 2017. Subhashish Panigrahi, O Foundation. CC-BY International 4.0


Documentation details Recording/shooting details
Documentation type Audio-visual Recording content Nādasvaraṁ being played by a Kole Basava performer
Performance type skit, instrumental Recording location Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Performance by Unknown male aged 45 Recording date January 10, 2018 at 9:29 AM
Wikipedia Recordist(s) Subhashish Panigrahi
Scholarly citations on Google Scholar here Video recording hardware iPhone 6S for recording, DJI Osmo Mobile gimbal for stabilization
Bibliography here Audio recording device iPhone 6S built-in microphone
Wikidata here Software Audacity (audio editing)
Lighting Natural/daylight
#files 1
Video format(s) .mov (original), .mp4 (edited), 23.98 frames per second
Audio format .wav (stereo), 48 kHz
Total audio length (HH:MM:SS) 00:02:23

About the author(s)

Subhashish Panigrahi is one of the founding members of O Foundation, and founded OpenSpeaks which won him the MJ Bear Fellowship and a grant from National Geographic to digitally-document threatened languages.

As an educator and community manager he has led many research, campus, and community outreach and catalyst activities across Asia Pacific at Internet Society, Mozilla, Centre for Internet and Society, and Wikimedia Foundation.

Winner of the 2015 Opensource.com People’s Choice Award, and awarded as "Wikimedia Advocate and Expert" by Opensource.com in 2016. Speaker at TEDx and many international Open Source/knowledge conferences across 11 countries. Author of "Rising Voices: Digital Language Activism" “Digital Activism in Asia Reader”, and a few hundred posts on major global blogs.

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