It is not every day that we hear a song in the melody of Carnatic music, talking about environmental problems. Art knows no barrier, no language, and the end product comes out as a vigorous and insightful message.
The Tamil word ‘poromboke’ originally meant “a land reserved for communities to share”. It has in the course of time, changed to a pejorative term, used to demean a person as useless and of no good.
In his new music video called Chennai Promboke Paadal, Carnatic musician TM Krishna, a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, gives a whole new rendition to the 10,000-word essay of Journalist and social activist Nityanand Jayaram.
The video shot in the backdrop of Ennore Creek in Chennai shows coal-fired power plants have damaged the creek, a decay caused by massive industrialisation.
“Poromboke is not for you, nor is it for me. It is for the community, and it is for the city. It is for the earth,” sings Mr Krishna and the video has been shot by Kodaikanal Won’t fame- Rathindran R Prasad. The video focuses on the encroachments by Kamarajar Port and the rampant fly-ash pollution by TANGEDCO.
The song points out to us that we haven’t learnt much from the Chennai floods in 2015 or the latest Vardah cyclone as pollution from the industries continues engulfing waterbodies. One of the main reasons for such degradation is the Ennore power plant that is spreading its toxicity.
The nine-minute song is a part of a campaign to reclaim the word and restore its worth and ends with an appeal to the National Green Tribunal to help save it.
Within two days of its release, the song has hit more than 50,000 views.