Chennai

Volunteer from Chennai creates awareness on ‘Save Soil’ movement

The ongoing Save Soil movement, launched by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, has two strong advocates from Chennai. Since April first week, Thendral Madhusoodhanan, who is in her early 40s, has been leading an initiative to decorate walls in

Chennai with colourful artworks that educate the public about the soil crisis. Her seven-year-old daughter, Devarati, is her biggest support, now often seen with her hands messy with colours.

Thendral has so far completed 20 panels, and if everything goes according to plan, she would touch 100 by the third week of June – the number is in keeping with the Sadhguru’s 100-day soil-conservation awareness programme.

“We run a chain of organic food stores in the city and have 300 farmers in our collective. Organic food is in many ways reviving the soil, but I am appalled to see data on land contamination and this is my small way of creating awareness,” says Thendral, who runs the Dhanyam Organic Superstore.

Thendral confesses that she is not an artist. “In fact, I am doing something on walls for the first time and some of the works might look immature but they are authentic and with a deep message that we need to wake up before it is too late,” she says.

She started with simple kolams on the “walking ground”, which is the pathway adjoining the Muttukadu backwaters and her community, House of Hiranandani Upscale at Egattur. “Some women liked it and that gave me the confidence of trying it out on the wall,” says Thendral.

The outline for most of the panels are done by Thendral and her daughter dabs the paint on them. The wall art has drummed up good support from her community as many children and elders have begun to volunteer their time for it. Shanthi Reddy was inspired by the initiative during her walk got her children to lend their hands to the initiative. Fourteen-year-old Sandhya Girish is waiting to finish her first panel, post it on social media and speak about soil. Another resident, Neeraja T has contributed money towards buying art supplies.

“Some walls need to be scrubbed thoroughly before they are sketched upon. Besides, we need to factor in rain and the heat that can derail our work. Otherwise we can finish a small panel in four hours,” she says.

The walls of the Adyar bus terminus near Gandhi Nagar got beautified with the save soil campaign.

Thendral, however, is desperately trying to extend the reach of this wall art initiaitve. Getting permission has been a huge challenge. “If I call 20 people only two agree to be a part of it. I am looking for walls on arterial roads where the message will be seen by a larger group,” she says.

With every passing week, the panels are getting smarter. “From floral art, I am planning to write some data with the artworks to get people thinking about the issue,” she says.

Meanwhile, Thendral has been promoting the message wherever she goes. On a recent visit to Baroda, she asked her cousin to find space where she could paint the message.

On board a flight, the two designed hand painted messages on book marks to be given to the passengers.

A big part of the initial material cost of this initiative was sponsored by Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO of Bharat Matrimony, who was Thendral’s employer many years ago. “I have also started a fundraiser in Impact Guru, inviting donors to help me buy supplies,” says Thendral. But the biggest help one can offer is finding her a space to paint the message.

For details about the fundraiser, go to https://bit.ly/3GjtxyF


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 10:28:56 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/volunteer-from-chennai-creates-awareness-on-save-soil-movement/article65429823.ece