Jarithayum Makkalum: A Poem about the Plight of Tribals in Kerala
Jarithayum Makkalum is a Malayalam poem written by Sugathakumari, a renowned poet and activist from Kerala. The poem was published in 1981 as part of the textbook for fourth standard students in Kerala. The poem narrates the story of Jaritha, a tribal woman who lives in the forest with her children, and how they are captured and exploited by the outsiders who encroach on their land.
The poem begins with a description of the forest, where Jaritha and her children enjoy a peaceful and harmonious life. They collect fruits, flowers, honey and herbs from the trees and plants, and worship the forest as their mother. They have no fear of wild animals or natural calamities, as they believe that the forest protects them.
However, their happiness is short-lived, as one day they hear a loud noise that shakes the earth. They see a huge machine that cuts down the trees and destroys their home. They run away in terror, but they are caught by some men who tie them up and take them away. The poem ends with a poignant question: \"Who will save Jaritha and her children from this cruel fate\"
The poem is a powerful critique of the exploitation of tribals and their natural resources by the dominant society. It exposes the injustice and violence that tribals face in the name of development and progress. It also highlights the loss of culture and identity that tribals suffer due to displacement and assimilation. The poem appeals to the readers to empathize with Jaritha and her children, and to respect their rights and dignity.
Jarithayum Makkalum is one of the most popular poems in Malayalam literature, and has been recited by many students and artists over the years. It has also inspired social movements and campaigns for tribal welfare and environmental protection in Kerala. The poem is a testament to Sugathakumari's poetic talent and social commitment.
Sugathakumari started writing poems at a young age, inspired by her father's literary works and social activism. Her first poem was published in a children's magazine when she was 14 years old. She published her first collection of poems, Muthuchippikal, in 1957, which received critical acclaim. Her poems are known for their lyrical beauty, emotional intensity, and social awareness. She often wrote about the themes of love, nature, womanhood, suffering, and spirituality.
Sugathakumari was also a prominent voice in the environmental and feminist movements in Kerala. She was one of the leaders of the Save Silent Valley campaign, which successfully resisted the construction of a hydroelectric project that would have destroyed the biodiversity of the Silent Valley National Park. She also founded Abhaya, a home for destitute women and a day-care centre for the mentally ill, where she provided shelter, care, and rehabilitation for hundreds of women who faced abuse, violence, and discrimination. She also advocated for the rights and welfare of tribals, dalits, prisoners, and other marginalized sections of society.
Sugathakumari received many awards and honors for her literary and social contributions. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2006, the highest civilian honor given to a woman from Kerala. She also received the Saraswati Samman in 2012, one of the most prestigious literary awards in India. She was also honored with several state and national awards such as the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, and the O. N. V. Literary Award. She was also conferred with honorary doctorates by several universities.
Sugathakumari passed away on 23 December 2020 at the age of 86 due to COVID-19 complications. She is survived by her daughter Lakshmi Devi Nair, who is also a poet and activist. Sugathakumari's death was mourned by many people from different walks of life, who remembered her as a poet of compassion and courage, and a champion of human dignity and nature conservation. 9160f4acd4