Ever been to Mahe, the beloved magical land of the Malayalis?
Let’s take a trip through the mystical pages of the renowned writer M. Mukundan’s magnum opus Mayyazhi Puzhayude Theerangalil [On the Banks of the Mayyazhi] in this time of lockdown!
Lit by fireflies and nurtured by age-old customs and culture, Mayyazhi now known as Mahe, a Union Territory part of Puducherry is easily accessible from Kannur district in Kerala. It is the source of inspiration for this masterpiece Mayyazhi Puzhayude Theerangalil.
The novel is a fictional picturisation of Mayyazhi during the time of the colonial invasion. It presents the socio-political background and narrates the life of this sleepy hamlet through the feelings and deeds of some exceptionally inimitable characters. The protagonist is Dasan, a young man who joins the freedom movement. The novel showcases the struggles of a group of men who are determined to free their village from the French colonials. It also presents the culture of peaceful co-existence of the aged natives and the French.
Mahe amalgamates diverse cultures, including French. Even today, you can see the relics of the past like the St Theresa’s church or Mahe Church, Tagore Park that hold some age-old edifices, the old statue of Marianne, ‘the personification of the French Republic,’ erected to commemorate the centenary of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, etc.
In Tagore Park, you can see a series of bronze panels depicting scenes from the novel. The sculptures in high relief almost seem to breathe life into the characters.
Both English and French translations of the novel are available.
Make these lockdown days more memorable by going on a virtual tour of Mayyazhi!
Stay home and experience the magic of The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Ivory Throne by Manu S. Pillai, Chemmeen by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, Khasakhinte Ithihasam (The Legends of Khasak) by O. V. Vijayan, etc., and get a glimpse of the life and history of Kerala.