Poromboke Padal: A Song to Save the “Commons”
August 5, 2019
In 2017, Karnatik singer and activist, TM Krishna released a music video of his Chennai Poromboke Paadal. Pormoboke is the Tamil word for the “commons” such as grazing lands, waterbodies and seashores—resources that are exempt from tax. Filmed in these places, the song talks about the need to preserve and take responsibility for these resources. It shows how Chennai’s poromboke areas are treated as common rubbish dumps rather than as shared assets. It also questions the wisdom of building high-rises in marsh areas that are then disrupted by floods when the monsoons arrive. Gently admonishing the city’s collective indifference, Krishna encourages people to go back to the meaning of the word and treat the marshlands, seashores, lakes and rivers of the city with care.
On August 04, 2019, Bharatanatyam dancer Suhashni Koulagi released a video performance to the same song. She danced in the streets, near polluted waterbodies and other poromboke areas in and around Karnataka, that have been turned into wastelands with towering mounds of rubbish. Suhashni's Bharatanatyam mudras have added her own call for public involvement to Krishna’s voice.
Video republished with permission from Suhasini Koulagi
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