Watch: TM Krishna reclaims the word 'poromboke' and urges to 'Save Ennore Creek'

Last year Kaber and Tenma created a song to reclaim the meaning of the pejoratively used term in Tamil — Poramboke. The word refers to land that is reserved for communities to share and use. Kaber's 'Poramboke Song' from 2016 was intended to be a wake-up call for citizens to be more involved in the environment they live in. In 2017, Chennai Poromboke Paadal with Carnatic doyen TM Krishna stays on point. Perhaps, the message is even stronger.

The new video features TM Krishna sitting at various spots along the East Coast Road in Chennai which have seen rapid 'development' over the years — concrete replaces sand, trees and anything else which is born from the Earth. Published by Vettiver Collective — Chennai's voluntary space that takes action on social and environmental issues — the video, running over nine minutes reaffirms the fact that Poromboke or the community land isn't meant for profit or to benefit one single person — it is meant to simply exist, naturally, unaltered for the sustenance of human life.

Poromboke ennaku illai, poromboke unnaku illai (Poromboke is not for me, it is not for you)

Poromboke ooruike, poromboke bhoomikku (Poromboke is for the city, it is for the Earth)

Accompanied by violinist HN Bhaskar, Praveen Sparsh on the mridangam, and BS Purushottam on the kanjira, TM Krishna laments about how despite the Chennai floods of 2015, there is very little that we have learnt. How is it wise to construct buildings in water bodies, he asks. On the path that the river takes to reach the sea, what is the need for concrete? "The rivers did not choose to flow through cities, rather it was around the rivers that the cities chose to grow," he sings.

The film was conceived by Nityanand Jayaraman, a Chennai based environmental activist who, according to a report in The Times of India, wrote a 10,000-word piece on the issue and gave it to the lyricist Kaber from Tamil rock band Kurangan, who condensed Jayaraman's essay into a song.

Shot at the Ennore Creek and the associated wetlands — areas that are currently being encroached by the Kamarajar Port — 2,000 acres of the wetlands will soon turn into real estate. According to the filmmakers, the creek is being used to dump toxic fly ash by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (Tangedco). The video has been directed by Rathindran R Prasad who also shot the famous Kodaikanal Won't video responsible for Unilever buckling under pressure and providing compensation to those they wronged.


Updated Date: Jan 15, 2017 10:06:03 IST