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 ‘Marangalum Naattile Kathakalum’ traces fascinating tales woven across the grand outdated bushes in villages in Palakkad, together with the banyan the place OV Vijayan’s novel Khasakkinte Itihasam begins. At the moment is World Heritage Day

 ‘Marangalum Naattile Kathakalum’ traces fascinating tales woven across the grand outdated bushes in villages in Palakkad, together with the banyan the place OV Vijayan’s novel Khasakkinte Itihasam begins. At the moment is World Heritage Day

A grand outdated banyan is the delight of Payyalur, a perennial hub of actions within the picturesque, tiny village nestling beneath the Themmala Hills in Palakkad, Kerala. Chronicling the tales that villagers affiliate with the banyan is among the main goals of ‘Marangalum Naattile Kathakalum’ (Timber and the area’s tales), a mission initiated by the Palakkad chapter of the Indian Nationwide Belief for Artwork and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). 

‘Marangalum Naattile Kathakalum’ goals at figuring out heritage bushes in villages throughout Palakkad district and documenting the tales and recollections that villagers related to the bushes. 

Arun Narayanan, convener of the INTACH chapter says: “It’s to remind individuals of our inexperienced heritage. In our busy, commercialised and technologically-driven areas of the fashionable world, we’re quick dropping our hyperlinks with nature and the world round us. We are attempting to revive these recollections and remind a youthful era of the great tales that was once woven round bushes and nature.”

Tree tales

Launched in February 2022, the mission has been documenting the heritage bushes in three taluks in Palakkad — Palakkad, Alathur and Chittur. The movies on the bushes have been uploaded on  www.naattumaram.com.

Within the first part, volunteers of INTACH visited villages within the three taluks, talked to senior residents and gathered info. The documentation takes time and planning. As soon as the volunteers determine the individuals to speak to, the workforce visits the village once more to doc the data as a video story.

The iconic banyan tree at Thasrak, Palakkad

The enduring banyan tree at Thasrak, Palakkad
| Photograph Credit score: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The primary one to be documented on this method was the banyan tree in Thasrak, a village 12 kilometres from Palakkad. Thasrak fashioned the backdrop of OV Vijayan’s Khazakkinte Ithihasam.  “The protagonist Ravi arrives on the village and alights at a bus cease close to the banyan tree. Former Malayalam professor Dr P Murali shares with viewers his recollections of the writer and the place. He remembers how the wind that blows from the hills by way of the tall karimpana (palms) of Palakkad seeped into the collective consciousness of readers by way of the enduring ebook written by Vijayan.

“We hope that after viewers see the video, they may ship us movies telling us the tales of the bushes of their neighborhood. It must be a individuals’s mission for the plan to succeed,” says Arun.

He factors out how lots of the majestic bushes nurtured so many actions and interactions underneath its benevolent shade.

This banyan tree at Payyalur, Palakkad, has several layered stories woven around it, which  have been documented by the Palakkad chapter of INTACH

This banyan tree at Payyalur, Palakkad, has a number of layered tales woven round it, which have been documented by the Palakkad chapter of INTACH
| Photograph Credit score: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

One such gem was the banyan tree at Payyalur. The eight-minute video captures the vary of actions round its sprawling greenery. A porter’s slab ( chummaduthangi) nonetheless features as a resting place for tribals coming from the hills with forest produce. A number of many years in the past, tribal girls used to gather firewood from the forest and produce it to the village to be bought. The slab was meant for them to relaxation their load and take a break.

Individuals collect on the platform across the banyan to converse and watch the world go by. A senior citizen of the village says how a library was began by social reformer and freedom fighter Tygaraja Iyer to coach  Dalits within the village and its environment and erase the stigma of untouchability. “It was begun underneath the tree, in a thatched shed in 1946. Later, children within the villager gathered funds and the library is now housed in a pucca constructing. When cultural doyenne and freedom fighter Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was documenting the performing traditions and crafts of India, she had come right here to doc Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry).”

A koothumadam (particular stage) the place Tholpavakoothu performances are held even at this time stands in the direction of one nook of the tree whereas in an open area, a vigorous recreation of ball badminton is in progress. “This should be one of many few locations in Kerala the place ball badminton is performed by so many native residents” factors out Arun.

The tree Gandhiji planted

One other video shot on the Sabari Ashram at Akkathethara acquaints viewers with the coconut tree planted by Mahatma Gandhiji when he visited the Ashram in 1927 with Kasturba Gandhi.  Behind it’s maybe one of many early faculties in India that had college students from all communities studying collectively in the identical college, says T Devan, secretary of the Ashram and a former pupil of the varsity.

Sreedevi Olappamanna, one of many volunteers collaborating within the mission, hopes that the villagers get up earlier than the inexperienced wealth of their villages vanishes ceaselessly. “There was an enormous tree close to my home throughout my college days. We used to take the varsity bus from there. Now a grocery store stands as a replacement,” she rues.

Tree documentation workshop conducted by INTACH Palakkad

Tree documentation workshop carried out by INTACH Palakkad
| Photograph Credit score: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

INTACH is partnering with botany departments in Mercy School, NSS School, Ottappalam and Authorities School, Chittur. By documenting the bushes and the layered tales round them, INTACH hopes to encourage individuals to guard the inexperienced cowl and stop individuals from slicing down the bushes or burning plastic underneath them.

“We’re roping in volunteers to clear the rubbish littering these grand outdated bushes and keep it. Finally, we hope firms or individuals come ahead as custodians of the bushes. It’s a long- time period mission that we  hope to maintain with the assistance of sponsors,” says Arun.  

As of now, the documentation is supported by Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML). Sreedevi maintains that an emotional connection must be renewed with nature and bushes. “Solely then will individuals really feel motivated to guard bushes.”

The mission is open to residents in Palakkad to ship of their tree tales to be uploaded on the location or contact INTACH volunteers to doc the story.  

“By way of this mission, we need to ask residents: “Are you lacking the wooden for the bushes? We need to remind people who these fascinating tales exist round them,” says Arun.

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