Culture and legacy have been manifested on river banks all over the world. Be it Harappan, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, or China. The gradual process of emergence of this civilization remains unclear, so does its perennial decline and disappearance. While other river civilizations had successors – Sumerians were followed by the Babylonian empire, the Egyptians finally became a part of the Roman empire, the Chinese civilization persisted under more dynasties – the Harappan civilization made way to a new epoch. But for sure, rivers have been the cradle of refinement from known.
The one and only river in the country which denotes the name of the nation and most probably the river which carries a masculine identity after the Brahmaputra is Bharata Puzha in down south. The river is also called as Nila It is interesting that most of the rivers including Bharata Puzha witness complete cycle of a human life. Rather, it’s the silent spectator of all the attempts of physical and spiritual subjugations made by him and in the end the last rites or homage too! Name any renowned art or cultural forms, artists, laureates, writers; the river has been a stupendous seductress, eternal source of inspiration, imagination and what not. Died are the poets who were ecstatic and yearned to be reborn only to resonate their lust for her. Her banks are adorned with the most adored and proclaimed legacy and pilgrim centres which contributed tremendously to the ethnic evolvement of the region and state. Her lustrous plains were the most preferred place to indulge with self, nature, art and literature for prevalent. Cultural Kerala is indebted to Nila for almost all the triumphs which it can count and transmitted through generations that contributed in making it one of the most liberal, intellectual and progressive states in the country.
Being the second longest river in Kerala, starting from Western Ghats forest, it travels almost 210km before it reaches the Arabian Sea at Chamravattam. Nila’s contribution to Kerala is not limited to culture, trade, irrigation, art, literature or anything else which is material; it is also considered as the river which helps to attain salvation like Ganga. It is widely believed in Kerala that those who are cremated on the banks of Bharatha Puzha achieve salvation. With the holy image bestowed on the river at par with Ganga, it is considered as the Kerala Ganga.
Somewhere in the process of progression over the period, we stumbled over the umbilical cord in our relationship with nature and legacy. We walked away irresponsibly overlooking the rich past congregated through innumerable years with a never-ending hunger to transform. Our rivers have been depleted dramatically in a matter of a few decades. Indus and Ganga are now among the ten most endangered rivers on the planet. Kaveri is maybe 40 percent of what it used to be. Bharata Puzha is also besieged with greedy minds which left the once seductress, ailing, numb and querulous.
Optimistic responses and acts of compassion, have lately become perceptible to rejuvenate and reincarnate the river. An extinct river means an extinct civilization. An end of both, undeniably holds us accountable for the unpardonable grave delinquency on the most literate State.