THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Denuded golden shower trees, emaciated pineapples and mangoes, smallest of all jackfruits, cucumbers and pumpkins sold for unbelievable prices on the pavements - Vishu sure has come a long way from being an agricultural festival. Reminding cityfolks about the roots of this festival is Agrifriends, an agriculturally-oriented cultural organisation based in the city formed by a group of people who still haven’t lost their love for farming and farmers. They, along with the Directorate of Museums and Zoos, will organise a unique Vishu programme on Saturday.
Agrifriends will set up a ‘Paithrukakazhcha’ at the Museum Bandstand on April 14, a day that they use to create an awareness of the art and science of agriculture handed down the generations both verbally, through folk songs and otherwise. A student of class V at Christ Nagar School, Advait, will render a number of ‘nadan pattukal’ associated with agriculture.
The ‘Paithrukakazhcha’ will have vegetables procured straight from the farmers at Tholikode, Nedumangad and Vithura. For the ‘kaineettam’, they will offer not just the traditional coins, but also seeds, saplings and other planting materials. This will be a call for a return to agriculture.
The traditional ‘vishukkanji’ will be served along with ‘chakka puzhukku’. ‘’Our intention is to change the mindset of youngsters towards agriculture. Not all of them have to become farmers, but they need to grow up appreciating agriculture and its value. We would then give them the knowledge and then the skill,’’ said S Jayakumar, agriculture assistant, who is one of the founder members of Agrifriends.
Vishu, say Agrifriends, has an aortic link with the start of the agriculture season and various farming activities. A talk on the significance of Vishu on agriculture, ‘vishusallapam’, is also being organised on the day.
‘Vishusallapam’ will also touch upon the importance of ‘njattuvela’ and the tenth day of the month of ‘Medam’, popularly known as ‘Pathamudayam’, which is very important for agriculture. ‘’It is one of the best days of the year to start cultivation of many plants. Growing up initially in extreme heat, the plants learn to tolerate adversity. The rain in the following month of ‘Edavam’ ensures lush growth of the same,’’ explained Jayakumar.
Planting materials will be provided at the Museum Compound. ‘’We don’t want people to come in, see the ‘vishukazcha’ and then forget all about it when they go back. We would want them to start cultivating a little something at their homes,’’ said Jayakumar.
In a related programme on Wednesday, Agrifriends regaled little children at the vacation camp at Science and Technology Museum with stories about vegetables, fruits and even the golden shower trees, got them to understand the cultivation practices and also how many of them are grown in the State and how many are imported from other states. Children who took part in this ‘kanikonna kinavu’ programme will also attend the April 14 programme on the Museum Compound.