The Kuttippuram Bridge: A Poem by Edasseri Govindan Nair
The Kuttippuram Bridge is a poem written by the eminent Malayalam poet and playwright Edasseri Govindan Nair, and translated to English by A J Thomas. The poem was originally published in the Mathrubhumi weekly in 1954, and was later included in his collection of poems Karutha Chettichikal (1955). The poem is an expression of the poet's anxiety and uncertainty about the process of modernisation that is slowly invading the rural world around him.
The bridge here symbolizes modernity, which threatens to destroy the natural and cultural harmony of the village life along the banks of the River Nila/Perar. The poet is nostalgic about a pre-industrialized agrarian past when he used to play with the river as his playmate. He worries that all that constituted the village life, such as the kavu (sacred grove), the pipal tree, the songs of the ploughman, etc., will be wiped out by the advances of urbanization. He also warns about the consequences of human alienation from nature and turning into machines.
The poem is one of the most anthologised of Edasseri's poems, and has been adapted into various media forms. An experimental film, Kuttippuram Palam (Kuttippuram Bridge), directed by Prathap Joseph, is based on the poem. The film was screened at various national and international film festivals, and won several awards. A PDF version of the poem in Malayalam and English can be downloaded from here. The poem can also be read online at here.
The Kuttippuram Bridge is a poem that reflects Edasseri's concern for the agrarian crisis and the problems faced by the common man. It is also a poem that questions the meaning and value of progress and development at the cost of nature and culture. It is a poem that resonates with the contemporary issues of environmental degradation and social change.
Edasseri Govindan Nair was born in 1906 in Kuttippuram, a village in Malappuram district of Kerala. He was a self-taught poet who started writing at the age of 14. He worked as a teacher, journalist, editor, and publisher. He wrote more than 20 books of poetry, four plays, and several essays and short stories. He is considered as one of the pioneers of modern Malayalam poetry, and one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. He died in 1974.
Edasseri's poetry is marked by his social consciousness, humanism, and realism. He wrote about the plight of the peasants, the workers, the women, and the oppressed sections of the society. He also wrote about the cultural heritage and history of Kerala, especially the Valluvanadan region. He used simple and colloquial language, rich imagery, and musical rhythm in his poems. He experimented with various forms and styles of poetry, such as sonnets, ballads, elegies, epics, etc. He also translated poems from other languages into Malayalam.
Some of his famous poems are Poothapattu (Song of the Grasshopper), Karutha Chettichikal (Black Cherries), Oru Thulli Velicham (A Drop of Light), Njayarazhcha (Sunday), Kavile Pattu (Song of the Grove), etc. His plays include Koottukrishi (Cooperative Farming), Ezhuthachan (The Teacher), Njanapeedam (The Throne of Wisdom), etc. His essays and short stories are collected in books such as Edasseriyude Prabandhangal (Essays by Edasseri), Edasseriyude Kathakal (Stories by Edasseri), etc. aa16f39245