ART IS ALWAYS REMEMBERED…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ARTIST?
Kerala is well-known for its folk lore and cultural diversity. Kerala is also called “gods own country”. To an extent it is true, but sometimes I feel like it’s not gods own country. To substantiate this statement there has splendid of examples. We all know Kerala is rich with arts and culture. But here I am trying to rise a question; the question is do we give importance to artist?
The historical background of Palakkad is familiar to all the keralites. The hills of the Rayiranellur near Pattambi, is an enigma to all travellers and nature lovers. Rayiranellur is also prominent for the “parayippetta panthirukulam”, the legendary folk lore of kerala. The hill celebrates the legend of Naranath Branthan and to honour this mythical character, a magnificent statue has been created and installed. Naranath branthan was one among the 12 offspring of vararuchi and punjami
Paraya, a lower caste. The couple set out a long pilgrimage. On the way, they were blessed with 12 children. Upon each delivery, Vararuchi enquired whether the baby had a mouth. If the wife said "yes", he would say, "God will appease the one with mouth" and would ask the wife to abandon the baby then and there and proceed. Eleven children were deserted, since they had a mouth. The tale goes that after the 12th birth, when Vararuchi asked whether the child had a mouth, the wife said he didn't have a mouth in the hope that she may get to raise at least that child. But when she looked at child after saying that, the child indeed was seen to have born without a mouth. Vararuchi consecrated the 12th child as a deity on top of a hill, and they proceeded on the pilgrimage. All the children born to vararuchi and punjami are lived in under different caste and religion.
His chief activity consisted of rolling a big stone up a hill and then letting it fall back down. He was brought up in the Naranathu Mangalathu Mana, situated at Chethallur in Palakkad. Naranthu came to Thiruvegappura for mastering 'Vedas'. Thiruvegappura and the nearby Rayiranelloor Mountain, which is known as 'Branthachalam', became his usual abode. Due to his strange behaviour and odd activities, people perceived him as 'mad'. At Rayiranellor Mountain he had the vision of the Devi (Goddess), and later for the benevolence of the people he enshrined Devi in the Mountain and started his worship there. No clear descriptions have yet been received of Naranath's last days.
The most famous facet of Naranath's life is his apparently eccentric habit of rolling big stones up the hill and letting them roll down back and laughing thunderously on seeing this sight. However, this act has been often considered allegorical and has been applied for social critiquing for myriad contexts.
These are the myths and real life story of Naranath Branthan. Everywhere the monument of naranath branthan is mentioned. But nowhere the name and effort of the artist is mentioned. The statue was built in 1994 by the artist surendra Krishnan. He is from pattambi, Palakkad district. He took one and half year to complete the statue's works. Lot of fake news has spread over Kerala regarding the monument. People are believed that the artist has died and the artist of branthan goes mad. It was built in 1994, we are in 2021, and still people believe the fake news.
Basically he is from Rayiranellur, but after the completion of the work he has abandoned his native place due to mental pressure. This is not his first work. But his life changed after the work. He built the statue as his own wish after completion of his art education. In the initial stage one of his friends helped him. But at last he alone completed the work. No one helped him, instead of that everyone criticised him. He heard all the fake news from people from his own ears. He had faced climate changes during the work of the statue. No one can predict the climate in Rayiranellur. The monument is in 19 feet. Now the statue is a land mark and culture of a district. He had built the monument like Branthan is ready to pull the stone. It is not like blessing others. Surendra Krishnan says the art is the language of the artist. It is true, in his words we can feel the efforts and struggles that had taken by him. To decrease the labour burden he has sung the poems of Madhusudanan nair. He has built the statue with lot of efforts. But all the efforts denied by the people.
The people accepted the statue with full heart but the artist is avoided by everyone like people without heart. Naranath Branthan was not mad. He is surrounded by the selfish people. Through his deeds he shows that everything we achieve in our life time will not be last long. One second is enough for destroy all the achievements. In the present scenario it is important. All are self-centred and greedy. The statue has given lot of meanings, but the creator behind this has lost his meaning of life. The people know the fact that the statue was built by Surendra Krishnanan. But they are wishing to believe that he has gone mad and he is not alive. I don’t know what the mentality of the people is. Why they still believe and share the fake news. The irony is that neighbours of Surendra Krishnan also wish to believe this.
Art and artist have equal importance. Accept it or reject it is our choice. But don’t spread fake news. It may damage people. Appreciating art and artist is good manner.so do appreciate and be the reason for some works. Surendra Krishnan gives up his art life for 20 years. After the hardships he regained his life. He started his new mission; it is built 150 statues of Mahathma Gandhi from the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi. With this project he is wish to spread the message of ahimsa or non-violence. People can destroy artist with their words but can’t defeat them, because art is the language of artist. Art will not give up the artist.