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Life Writing as Plant-Writing: Arboreal Encounters in Kallen Pokkudan’s Kandalkaadukalkkidayil Ente Jeevitham

Varna Venugopal    Indian Institude of Technology Madras, India    

Swarnalatha Rangarajan    Indian Institude of Technology Madras, India    

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abstract

Kallen Pokkudan, known as the ‘mangrove man’ of Kerala, devoted his life to the restoration of mangrove forests across the state. Pokkudan’s autobiography, Kandalkaadukalkidayil Ente Jeevitham (2002), is as much a life narrative of the mangrove habitats in the Kannur district of Kerala as it is of the Dalit Pulaya community to which he belongs. Reading Pokkudan’s arboreal activism in the light of recent critical approaches to vegetality, we argue that his autobiography can be read as an instance of ‘Phytography’ (Ryan 2020) or plant-writing, where the very act of writing the self evolves into writing with and listening to vegetal subjects.

Published
Dec. 15, 2022
Accepted
Oct. 21, 2022
Submitted
June 7, 2022
Language
EN

Keywords: PhytographyMangrovesKallen PokkudanLife writingPlant writing

Copyright: © 2022 Varna Venugopal, Swarnalatha Rangarajan. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.