July 8, 2002 

Inspiration for the day

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Kallan Pokkudan, Edakkeel Tharayil, Ezhom Panchayat, Kannur

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Kallan Pokkudan planted thousands of mangroves on the banks of Pazhayangadi river in Kannur district with an aim that is both simple and profound: “I wanted to prevent the river banks from eroding.  Besides, I wanted to protect the school children from the strong winds that blew along the riverside road.  Once the trees grew up, it became a pleasing sight too.”

With this aim this simple man planted many kilometer-long mangrove stretches.  Seeing him collecting mangrove seeds, many fashionable women used to remark: “Poor fellow, he must have gone mad.”

But Pokkudan was undaunted.  He used to think: True, this is an unbalanced state of mind.  But it is a madness that I love.  For I love mangroves so much.

Although this 2nd standard dropout doesn’t know to read or write Malayalam, his autobiography, ‘My life amidst mangroves’, has been published recently.  This book abounds in original observations on Nature’s rhythms and birds and rivers.

Pokkudan was born at Edakkeel Tharayil, Ezhom Panchayat, Kannur.  After dropping out from school, he worked as an agriculture labourer under a zamindar.  He was politically active for sometime, but left off politics and started concentrating on environment from late eighties.

“I like to be known as ‘Kandal’ Pokkudan.  I have planted quite a lot of mangroves.  Some people have destroyed part of it.  But I am not disheartened.  It is those who destroy that must feel disheartened,” he says.


Courtesy: P.Rajesh (text), Babu Kamprath (photo), Mathrubhumi, June 2, 2002

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