Kerala University Youth Festival inauguration: Poet Sugathakumari says the youth should be concerned about environmental degradation

College festivals have off late morphed into glitzy glamorous affairs with a rush of celebrity events and lesser number of events having student participation. The government-funded events remain the only platform for students to express their artistic skills.

But the function marking the inauguration of the Kerala University Youth Festival, held here on Wednesday, gave a disappointing picture in terms of student turnout. The University Senate Hall remained half-empty, even with the presence of a poet and film actor among the guests for the function. The college-goers in the city seem to have been saturated with the surfeit of festivals of various private colleges, which happened in the city in the past few weeks.

Even so, the number of registered students, nearly 5,000 including from nearby districts, gives hope of a better turnout in the coming days.

Poet Sugathakumari, who inaugurated the festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp, chose the stage to voice issues closer to her heart. She also exhorted the students to nurture the artist in them.

“There is a deep schism in contemporary society. All minds are disturbed. The youth have lost interest in politics and poetry. In earlier times, the college corridors used to fill with poetry during breaks. The present generation’s approach to literature is superficial. They are not concerned about the environmental degradation, which could make us go thirsty in the near future. It is time the youth woke up to the realities around them,” she said.

Actor Nazriya Nazeem, who was the chief guest, said that she did not have many opportunities to take part in youth festivals and so enjoyed being a part of such a festival.

The events were kicked off with the Thiruvathira competition at the main venue. At the University College, Kathakali and Kathaprasangam competition were held. The results and other details of the competition will be uploaded in real-time at the website- The other venues are University College open stage and centenary hall, Women’s College main hall and assembly hall, Department of Music, Government Sanskrit College, Ayurveda College, and Fine Arts College. Around 15 new events have been added this year. The list of new events includes spot photography, ghazal, tabla, poster making, and rangoli.