Friday, November 1, 2019

The Kuttippuram Bridge (Kuttippuram Paalam) by Edasseri Govindan Nair: Essay Questions

Kannur University

Common Course
Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)

1. 'Edasseri's poem "The Kuttippuram Bridge" is a critique of mindless urbanisation.' Explain.
2. 'Edasseri's poem "The Kuttippuram Bridge" conveys its message through a series of strategically placed images and symbols.' Elucidate.
Edasseri's poem "The Kuttippuram Bridge" is translated from Malayalam by A J Thomas. It is a critique of mindless urbanisation. This poem conveys its message through a series of strategically placed images and symbols. Edasseri's poetry is inspired by his childhood experiences. His mother and elder sister inculcated in his a taste for poetry. His poetry and plays are characterised by their portrayal of the nature and culture of Kerala, its environment, vegetation, rituals, and festivals. His poems reflect the problems of farmers, the nationalist struggle, and the agonies of working-class people.
           "The Kuttippuram Bridge" offers a glimpse into the mind of the narrator giving a prophetic picture of urbanization, when he speaks highly about the bridge he was standing upon. Perar is flowing underneath the bridge like a defeated person. The river, according to the narrator, is capable of obliterating its shores with its feral powers. However, with the strength of the bridge, modern humans were able to connect the two sides of the powerful river across which no birds flew or boats crossed while it was swollen and wild with water. Consumed by a proud feeling, the narrator explains the cause of his joy. The poet experiences elation or joy at being so high while standing on the bridge. The kingfisher and sparrows the poet had seen during his childhood only attained this height. The narrator is in awe of the ability of the human being to construct such a powerful symbol of victory over nature. However, this proud feeling is short-lived. Soon the narrator's gaze falls upon the countryside, the "Gramalakshmi", which is receding into oblivion.
           He states that the village is his playmate from childhood. Acknowledging the quickly receding features of the village and its nearing collapse, the poet goes on invoking the lost beauty of the rural countryside. The narrator contrasts these elegant features with the stark reality of modern urbanization. To achieve this effect the poet paints a village where soot, cement, and steel overwhelm the flowery innocence of the village. The night is robbed of its silence and the day is usurped by the fast-moving life of urban individuals.
           The narrator is saddened by the thought of flowers, trees, and traditional 'kavus' going extinct. He wonders if the river would one day turn into a reeking drain. His village used to be a quiet place, full of beauty. Now, it has become noisy with all the vehicles and became less attractive with its paddy fields and flowering meadows going extinct. The gradual loss of the village to the usurping modernization pains the narrator.
           There is a shortage of space as walls are erected everywhere. Days and nights are noisy with vehicles and people fighting with each other. Strangers have started residing in the neighbourhoods. Conflicts between strangers are on the rise. Neighbours are no longer familiar with each other. They have become total strangers to each other.
           The narrator also shares his concerns regarding the river Perar. The fathomless depths such as Malloorkkayam shall no longer be fathomless. The deity of Malloor may soon be a wayside deity. The grandeur of Anthimahakalan Kunnu shall also be lost as an aftermath of the mindless urbanization. The poet invokes the image of a child robot while describing the bleak future of Anthimahakalan Kunnu. He says that the hill may seem like a spinning top hurled by a quick-tempered child robot. The poet suggests a post-humanist scenario of a culture where human beings are turning into machines and their sensibilities are lost.
           Major collections of poetry written by Edasseri are Alakaavali (1940), Puthankalavum Arivaalum (1951), Karutha Chettichikal (1955), etc. "The Kuttippuram Bridge" is taken from Karutha Chettichikal (1955). This poem was first published in Mathrubhumi Weekly in 1954. His major plays are Koottukrishi (1950), Ennichutta Appam (1957) etc. Edasseri's poem "The Kuttippuram Bridge" offers an unsettling view into the changes brought by urbanization.

More Notes: Paragraph Questions (The Kuttippuram Bridge (Kuttippuram Paalam) )

REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

1 comment:

sarath said...

Truly, the words of the poet is prophetic.