When nations observe the World Rivers Day on the fourth Sunday of September, the Vayali folklore group in the district is pushing ahead with a project of intellectual nature for the revival of the Bharathapuzha.
The project named Nilayolam tries to restore all the poems written about the Bharathapuzha by tapping the potentials of the new media. Every week, one poem on the Bharathapuzha is resurrected in digital form and podcast in an appealing manner.
“We are not only finding and compiling the poems, but also getting them rendered with suitable voices in our weekly podcasts. We could thus generate a renewed interest among the new generation for the river that cries for conservation,” said Vayali founder Vinod M. Nambiar.
As many as 26 episodes are over. And the project is gaining popularity with some forgotten poems of renowned poets being resurrected through Nilayolam. As many as 72 poems with references to the river Nila (Bharathapuzha) are in the Vayali archives. “At 8 p.m. every Tuesday, one poem is being released through ViMA Podcast channel. We have collected poems that can sustain this project at least for a couple of years,” said Mr. Nambiar.
Many have volunteered to render the poems with their unique voices. When Sreevalsan J. Menon rendered Vallathol Narayana Menon’s famous poem Bharathapuzha, Fr. Benziger rendered Emily Thomas’s poem Nilayunde Nombarangal’.
“We could observe an interesting shift in poets’ outlook towards the Bharathapuzha. When earlier poems described the beauty of the river Nila, the modern-day poems are bewailing the degeneration of the river,” said Mr. Nambiar.
Inaugurating the Nilayolam by rendering one of his poems in March, orator-poet Alankode Leelakrishnan said the Nila had influenced the Malayalam literature monumentally.
“For poets, rivers are not mere flowing water bodies. They are a ‘Saraswati pravaham’. Kalidasan was influenced by the Ganges. Tagore was influenced by the Padma river. From the first Malayalam poet Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan to the modern day poets, the Bharathapuzha has had a seminal role in shaping their writings,” said Mr. Leelakrishnan.
The Nilayolam has unearthed many poems of writers such as Kunhiraman Nair and Edassery.
“We have plans to publish the poems as an anthology in digital form with QR code. The visualisation of the poems is also in the pipeline. We are planning it in the second phase,” said Mr. Nambiar.