Making people fiercely proud of their land is a sure shot way of preserving an area’s culture, tradition and environment. Keerthana Balaji and Pravin Shanmuganandham hope their new magazine The Pollachi Papyrus will do just that

It often happens that we fail to see the goodness in our own backyard. And Keerthana Balaji and Pravin Shanmuganandham want to change that about their home town, Pollachi, and places near about. They are launching a magazine called The Pollachi Papyrus that they hope will instil a sense of pride and ownership in the people of the region.

It is lack of information that is the root of apathy, feels Keerthana. She says, “People should be proud of where they live. They should protect the place, preserve its beauty and allow others to enjoy it too.”

So, The Pollachi Papyrus plans to disseminate information about the place. “We plan to bring out four issues a year talking about the environment, conservation and the culture and traditional identity of our region,” says Pravin. He regrets that few know about the rich bio-diversity of the Western Ghats.

Take, for instance, Top Slip, he says. “There is no sustained effort to spread awareness, there are no interpretation centres, and very often people treat the area as a picnic spot. We want tourism, but we want tourism to be a tool of conservation.”

Keerthana says their initiative will also document the rich flora and fauna of the area. And she hopes from a handful of people now, it will become a larger movement. “We want to focus on children. They are the ones who can make a real impact,” says Pravin.

In fact, one of the key contributors to the magazine is 14-year-old K.A. Dhanuparan who has been in the limelight for some fabulous photographs he has taken. Keerthana, herself a photographer, is anguished, like Pravin, at the lack of sensitivity and respect for wildlife amongst people. “Fostering a sense of ownership, pride and caring is the only way forward. It is sad people do not know the first thing about their environment.”

She and Pravin are also very concerned about misleading media coverage. Man-animal conflicts are often misrepresented and exaggerated and what we read, and the perception and conclusions we draw are often far from the truth, they say.

They want to set this misinformation and misrepresentation right through The Pollachi Papyrus. The idea is first to build up public opinion and awareness about the region in Tamil Nadu, and then slowly take it across the country.

Pravin is from Sethumadai near Pollachi, and immensely proud of it. He says Pollachi has not got its due. There is so much more to it. He has hosted many Couch Surfers and they have all gone away amazed.

Pravin is sad that unlike Kerala that is so hugely successful as a tourist destination, Tamil Nadu is yet to get there. “Not just wildlife, there is so much in our culture and tradition that can be showcased,” he says.

He and Keerthana are determined to do all they can. In their words, they are on a Branding-Pollachi Mission.

The Pollachi Papyrus will

Research and collect information

Document facts and figures

Foster a sense of forest etiquette

Invite environmentalists, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts to contribute to the magazine.

Inspire the locals about their surroundings and instil pride in them.

Pravin and Keerthana hope to distribute the magazine in school and college libraries, send them to travel agents and make them available in places where the young hang out and stock them in fine dining restaurants.

The magazine is available for subscription.

To know more, write to pollachipapyrus@gmail.com or call 083443-30416.