Uncontrolled economic development shows its catastrophic consequence in the Indian State of Kerala where the Nila River – once the life line of the southern state – is today a decaying, dying river due to the erosion of its banks, the depletion of its resources – sand taken away to construct houses – and the consequent dilapidation of its traditional culture. To act and try to reverse this dramatic evolution, the Nila Foundation was formed five years ago in Kerala to provide a platform for those who feel for the rivers and its depleting status and for those who want to positively contribute to its conservation. With its creation, the foundation committed a study to historically document the environmental degradation of Kerala rivers. This study authored by C.K. Sujith Kumar and K. Umadevi should be published on June 5, 2010 on the occasion of the UN World Environment Day.
Titled, “Puzha Malayalam,” the 400-page book is looking to an active participation of all people across the world who wants to share their vision about their rivers. Nila Foundation is inviting interested people through a drawing competition from across the world to sketch each of the introductory pages of the fourteen chapters. “My river” is the theme of the competition and could be a reflection of your insights or experiences associated with rivers or environmental degradation. This could be about rivers from any parts of
the world. Out of the sketches, the foundation will select 14 entries in three different age categories (below 10, below 18, and above 18), which will be incorporated into the individual chapters of the book. The winners of 14 entries will also get an opportunity to have an experiential holiday for a week along Bharatapuzha (Nila) river and experience on their own the history, cultures, and ways of life of the people living along the once mighty source of prosperity.
The tour is sponsored by the Blue Yonder, a pioneering responsible travel company to bring attention of the world to River Nila and help raise funds for initiatives similar to this book, with its owner, Gopinath Parayil being deeply involved into the River revitalization. “It started five years ago when I strolled along the river and came across a group of people who had gathered together because of the pain they felt at seeing the once beautiful river dying. They were singing, reciting poems, discussing the past and future. There were teachers, students, poets, environmental engineers, artists, and musicians among them. There was nostalgia about the river, its influence in their lives. There was so much of romance about the whole gathering. The emptiness in their life was so visible in their eyes that I decided to give my next five years to the river,” he explained. The book is just one aspect of the Blue Yonder, which also helps local farmers to redevelop agricultural activities or promote tourism and handicraft as a means to compensate for the ban of sand selling.
A board of experts commissioned by Nila Foundation will be short-listing and selecting the winning entries. Selected entries will also be exhibited at the book launch at Thunjan Parambu literature park in Tirur, Kerala. Sketches must be sent as hardcopy using black ink in white drawing paper (10 inch x 8 inch). Digital work is acceptable with scanned pictures being at least of min 300 DPI quality and no more than 5 MB. Each applicant can send up to three images. A separate note on the background of the sketch in not more than 500 words is appreciated. Deadline to receive the sketch is April 25, 2010. For more details, visit nilafoundation.org/puzha.htm .
Hard copies should be sent to:
Prakash M, Nila Foundation
SMAAS, Kandath Complex Poongottukulam, Tirur – 676101
Malppuram(Dist), Kerala, India
Phone: +91.9446280603 / 9605396238