CHENNAI: It is often believed that lectures can only be delivered by degree holders. The Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha is being organised this weekend to debunk just this theory. Organised by environmental activist Nityanand Jayaram and singer-cum-activist TM Krishna, this event will have lecture-demonstrations under the title ‘Poramboke Lecture Festival’ by people who do not hold glamorous degrees.
One such is Palayam Anna who is a fisherman. “My grandfather’s grandfather was also a fisherman. All of us in the family are into this profession. The art of fishing involves a lot of science which I will explain in my lecture-demonstration,” he says, adding that he will also explain how to keep the caught fish fresh.
Another speaker is shadow puppeteer B Muthuchandran, who will make a presentation on Porombokku ketta varthaiya? (Is Poramboke a bad word?) With nature in focus, self-taught wildlife photographer A Shanmuganandan will conduct a session on wildlife photography. There will also be a session featuring female seaweed collectors from Ramnad. Ramya Rajagopal, a fisheries researcher who will moderate this session feels that this topic is important as it is necessary to highlight the knowledge these women possess especially because women usually do not go to sea.”These people do not harm nature.
They collect seaweed to earn a livelihood. This is unique to these women. That is why they must show,” she says. The organisers of the festival have been toying with this idea for about three years. Krishna says, “This is a social battle. Someone who is a farmer, seaweed diver, or people working in the Poromboke area are not considered knowledgeable. We need to create a platform of learning for people.”
The speakers at this festival come from humble backgrounds and have several credits to their name. “Awards do not equalise anyone. Take Muthuchandran for example. Despite his Kalaimamani award he might not even be recognised by people. If a software company introduces an app, it is innovation but these female seaweed divers who have made their goggles and other apparatus required for diving are not considered innovators,” says Krishna.
Nityanand says, “This festival is to also emphasise that man is causing damage to nature by encroaching Poramboke spaces to build houses. That’s why Chennai experienced a drought.”
Krishna also urges everybody to keep their eyes open for any such activity around them and get in touch with the Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha.
Poramboke Lecture Festival will be held at CurioPlay on October 12 and 13 from 6.20 pm.