In a city that will soon bear the heat of the May month, the open courtyard of Attakulangara Central School presents itself as an oasis.
Incidentally, it is also filled with Roshan’s favourite colour — green. Roshan Samson, five-and-a-half years old, is one of the winners of the ‘Organiser’s Choice’ award held as part of an initiative called ‘Hundred trees, hundred paintings’ to save the lush green of the school. The school is now poised to be converted into a bus bay and a commercial mart as part of a TRIDA project.
The painting competition held on April 22 (Earth Day) at the school was organised by its students and teachers along with TreeWalk Trivandrum. The competition was held in three segments — Lower Primary, Upper Primary and High School. Children were asked to sit in the open and illustrate nature in all its candidness in the competition themed around saving trees.
According to a study conducted by naturalist group Wablers and Waders, the school is home to around 30 species of birds and 24 species of butterflies, some of which are considered rare.
“Children have an inherent knowledge of paintings and trees. It is something lost on the IAS officers and bureaucrats of today,” says renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman, addressing the gathering at the prize-giving ceremony.
A hundred paintings depicting creeping vines to dark, barren roads surrounded the school courtyard as a mark of protest. .
“Such events go a long way to show that we care about the environment. It proves that we won’t stand back and watch destruction in the name of development,” says Soorya Gayathri, who won the first prize in the High School section along with Jishnu B. The winner in the Upper Primary section was Sandra Thomas, while eight-year-old Akshay V.A. won the first prize in the Lower Primary Division.
This competition is, however, not the first or only instance of protest. Earlier, a signed petition was submitted to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy appealing to scrap the TRIDA project.
Signatories to the statement included film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan; Prof. B. Hridayakumari; Director of Kerala University’s Centre for Bioinformatics Achuthsankar S. Nair; and sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman.
Speaking of the importance of the school, Attakulangara School Samrakshana Samithi president C.S. Yesudas said the school being at an optimum distance from the entire city, plays hosts to many evaluation and training camps, besides being a venue for all State board examinations.
The school, built 124 years ago, has played host to many a great teacher, the likes of Poet Ulloor S. Parameswar Iyer and the former Chief Minister Pattom A Thanupillai.