The Kerala native had participated in the Quit India Movement
Freedom fighter K.E. Mammen, who had participated in the Quit India Movement, passed away here on Wednesday morning. He was 96. He had been under treatment for age-related diseases at a private hospital in Neyyatinkara for the past three months.
Mr. Mammen had always followed Gandhian principles. He became active in the freedom movement as a college student. He was first jailed for taking an open stand against C.P Ramaswamy Iyer, the then Dewan of the erstwhile Travancore state. After being denied an opportunity at continued studies here, he shifted to Madras Christian College in 1940. He was ousted from there too, following his participation in the Quit India Struggle.
In recent years, Mr. Mammen had been active in anti-liquor struggles in the state.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram -July 26th, 2017
She was the daughter of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, Queen Regent of erstwhile Travancore.
Indira Bayi, daughter of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, who was Queen Regent of erstwhile Travancore, died in Chennai early Thursday. She was 90.
Wife of the late K.K. Varma, founder-chairman of the erstwhile India Meters Ltd, and long-time chairman of the Madras Kerala Samajam, she is survived by son Shreekumar Varma and daughter Shobhana Varma. Indira Bayi was born during the regency of her mother (1924 to 1931). Years later, she would become the first woman from the royal family to enrol for college education. Some of her short stories have appeared in a few magazines and two anthologies of her stories have been brought out.
The cremation will be held at the Besant Nagar crematorium at noon on Friday.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Special Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai / July 21st, 2017
Some of the rare books in Malayalam language would have been lost if Herman Gundert, the German missionary, had not taken the trouble to transport them to his home town Calw. The documents preserved by Gundert, who was also a scholar credited with the first Malayalam-English dictionary, included nearly 80 manuscripts and 150 printed works. Some of the available palm leaf manuscripts run into 42,000 pages. These books have been archived in the Gundert archive of Tubingen University which has also taken steps to digitise the documents. The Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Tirur, established in 2012 to promote Malayalam language, has received access to the documents through an MoU signed with the Tubingen University.
Mr M. Sreenathan, professor of language at the university, told Deccan Chronicle that it all started with Dr Scaria Zacharia, a Malayalam professor who visited Germany in connection with the meeting of the World Malayali Council, visiting the archives of the university in 1986. He published books like Pazhassi Rekhakal, Payyanoor Pattu and Thalasserry Rekhakal from the university. Some of the other books that were discovered from Tubingen included Nalacharitham Manipravalam and Sheelavathy written by Mannan. The first version of the Mahabharatham Killipattu, Krishnagatha, Thulalkadha, Panchathantram and Ekadeshi were brought to the state from the archives. The copy of Meenakshi written by Chathu Nair and published in 1890 was also discovered from Tubingen, Mr Sreenathan said.
Another finding was Keralopakari, an illustrated weekly published in 1870. There has not been much reference about this weekly earlier. A copy of Krishi Pattu was also preserved at Tubingen. The specialty of the copy of Krishi Pattu, an agriculture verse popularly known as Krishi Geetha in the state, is that it was published from Kozhikode before the advent of Chandrakala in Malayalam. Another significant discovery was Kerala Natakam. This book republished by the university was released recently. Many people, including historian M.G.S. Narayanan, have said that they have seen the book. However, the book was not available anywhere in the state. It was also received from the archives of Gundert. Many literary historians, including Ulloor Parameswara Iyer, have mentioned about this work. There are differences among the historians about who wrote the book.
Some believed that this was written by Thunchath Ezhuthachan. However, Ezhuthachan had not written anything other than poetry. The book was published by Basel Mission. Ulloor had disagreed with the theory that it was written by Ezhuthachan. The book was in the handwriting of Gundert himself. The language of the book proved that it was not written by Ezhuthachan. However, it has many similarities with another work of the period named Keralolpathi. But there is one major change. This is in the chapter Kulakrama Vivaranam which in Keralolpathi was based on Sankaracharya’s Kulakrama Vivaranam. However, the Kulakrama Vivaranam chapter in Kerala Nadakam dealing with the origin of caste was more in the nature of folklore, Mr Sreenathan said.
The documents in the collection of Gundert can be classified into three: printed books; books that had been transcript by Gundert himself or using the service of a scribe; and books in Thaliyola. Many books related to subjects like Manthravatham and on Christianity, including Puthiyaniyamathile Lekhanangal and Sathyaveda Ethihasam, are at the archives. The university is the only one in Europe that teaches Malayalam as an optional. It has also set up a Gundert chair. “I visit Tubingen as a faculty of the university and Mr Scaria Zacharia goes there as an outside academic. The Malayalam and Tubingen universities also have student exchange programmes,” Mr Sreenathan said. He will visit Tubingen soon to identify the original version of the works of Ezhuthachan, including Adhyadhama Ramayanam. Mr Scaria Zacharia said that the access to Gundert archives had begun in 1986. Many books like Pazhassi Rekhakal, Payyanoor Pattu, Thacholli Pattu and Thalassery Rekhakal were published from the archives. However, it was only recently the efforts were noticed in the state, Mr Zacharia said.
Christian missionary turned linguist
Herman Gundert, who left Germany at the age of 23 for missionary work, had planned to go to Calcutta and gained working knowledge in Bengali, Hindustani and Telugu even while travelling by sea. However, he landed in Madras in 1836 instead of in Calcutta. Gundert learnt Tamil while working in Chittoor, Andhra, and Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. During his work in Mangalore, he had a chance trip to Thiruvananthapuram where he had an audience with Swathi Thirunal, the ruler of Travancore who himself was a scholar. Gundert was attracted to Malayalam and became a scholar in the language in a short span of time.
Born in 1814, Gundert is the grandfather of 20th century Nobel prize winning novelist Hermann Hesse. Gundert had studied theology and Sanskrit in Tübingen University before completing his doctorate in theology in 1835 and joining the Bassel Mission in which he worked in Thalassery from 1938. Apart from authoring the first Malayalam-English dictionary, he translated the New Testament into Malayalam. He left India in 1859 due to illness. Most of his Malayalam books, including his Malayalam-English dictionary and hymn book, were written when he was in the south western German town of Calw.
He worked primarily from Thalassery where he compiled a Malayalam grammar book, ‘Malayalabhaasha Vyakaranam,’ published in 1859. He lived at Illikkunnu near Thalassery for 20 years spreading the gospel among the natives and writing 13 books and a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew and New Testament from Greek. He attempted a systematic grammar of the language based on non-Sanskrit-based approaches to Indic grammar as he considered Malayalam as a branch of Proto-Tamil-Malayalam, or Proto-Dravidian. It was Gundert who used punctuation marks like full stop, comma, colon and semicolon for the first time in Malayalam. In recognition of his contribution to Malayalam, a statue of Gundert has been erected at Thalassery.
source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation, In other news / by Sabloo Thomas, Deccan Chronicle / July 05th, 2017
A former professor, he was part of many human rights movements
Environmental activist P.S. Panicker, who took up the cause of victims of groundwater exploitation in Plachimada by Coca Cola and campaigned relentlessly for the protection of Bharathapuzha, died late on Tuesday. He was 75.
A former college professor, Mr. Panicker hailed from Arookkutti near Cherthala and had worked in the Political Science departments of NSS colleges at Pandalam, Changanassery, Ottappalam, Mattannur, and Cherthala. He retired from NSS College, Nenmara.
He then settled at Sekharipuram in Palakkad to actively engage with various civil society movements. A long-time associate of the late environmentalist Indyanur Gopi, Mr. Panicker was the coordinator of National Green Corps and president of Bharathapuzha Samrakshana Samithy.
He was also president of the human rights organisation Janajagratha and chairperson of Plachimada Struggle Solidarity Committee.
He is survived by wife B. Saraswathi, daughter Sudha, and son Rajkamal. Cremation was held on Wednesday evening.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Palakkad – June 07th, 2017
Educationist, administrator and founder of several institutions, Fr Gabriel Chiramel CMI passed away at Amala Bhavan here on Thursday.
He was 103-years-old. Fr Gabriel, who was conferred with the Padma Bhushan in 2007, was the founder principal of Christ College (1956-1975), Irinjalakuda.
Known for his administrative acumen, he served as the provincial of Devamatha Province, Thrissur. It was during this time the Amala Cancer Hospital was established.
He was also instrumental in establishing several other institutions such as St Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda; Carmel Higher Secondary School, Chalakudy; Bharat Matha School, Palakkad; Catholic Centre Irinjalakuda and Deepthi Cultural Centre, Kozhikode.
Fr Gabriel’s funeral will be held at noon on Saturday.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / May 12th, 2017
In the days of the monarchy, a royal procession used to make its way to a Siva temple in Sasthamangalam
‘Radhapura Kunnu Lane’, a nondescript signage near Sasthamangalam junction may have caught your attention as you travel along Vellayambalam-Sasthamangalam road. However, if you are planning to explore the lane hoping to find the ‘Radhapura’ or at least the remains of an old chariot house, you will be disappointed. The lane now leads to a well-laid out residential area with no trace of any built structure to substantiate the name of the lane.
Radhapura Lane was in olden times known as Radhapura Kunnu, a hill that gradually descends to the banks of the Killi River. Senior citizens from Vellayambalam and Sasthamangalam regions still remember vivid images of a state procession that linked the region with a royal past. When the city cherishes the Arattu procession and related rituals, of the area recall the state processions that once came to Sasthamangalam.
Sasthamangalam Ezhunnalathu, a regal procession to Sasthamangalam, culminated at the ancient Sasthamangalam Mahadeva temple, where the sovereigns offered prayers and rested in the ‘palace’, a double-storied structure located near the western gateway of the temple. According to popular history, it was customary of the Travancore rulers to visit ‘Sasthamangalathu Madhom’, the abode of Koopakkara Pottis, and the Siva temple soon after the Tirunal (royal birthday) celebrations. Even though the origin of this practice remains unknown to this day, some historians are of the opinion that the practice could be dated to the eighteenth century, to the turbulent days of Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma.
It is said that the Koopakkara Potti had helped the King on one occasion and in gratitude the King and, later his successors, made it a custom to pay their respect, once in a year, to the Koopakkara family at their residence.
V Narasimhan Thampi presents a vivid portrayal of the procession to Sasthamangalam: “… the Maharaja rides to Sasthamangalam in his golden chariot, drawn by six white horses and behind him follow a train of horse drawn carriages of the royals and the various officials. The Elayarajas, Koil Thampurans, and the Chief Justice can be seen riding in carriages drawn by two horses, whereas the other officers ride in simple carriages. The state procession starts from the Fort at four in the evening and proceeds to Sasthamangalam via Pazhavangadi, Puttenchandai, Palayam, and Vazhuthacaud. At Sasthamangalam, the King worships at the temple and visits the Potti at his residence and returns to the Fort by six O’clock.”
On the way to Sasthamangalam, the procession first halted at Vellayambalam, from where the King went to the temple with a few select attendants and high officials. The royal chariot was stationed at Radhapura Kunnu and the royal party walked down to Pipinmoodu to the temple premises.
The temple, located between Sasthamangalam hill and the nearby elevated Oolampara region, claims antique origins. Old records mention ‘Thiru-chatta-mangalam’ (later Sasthamangalam) and the temple there. Old timers believe that the temple has its origins from a small sacred grove on the banks of the Killi River. A small fragment of the grove can still be seen right in front of the eastern gateway to the temple.
With the end of monarchy, the age-old custom of the Sasthamangalam procession passed into the annals of history, but the temple remains popular among the city dwellers.
(The writer is a conservation architect and history buff)
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by Sharat Sunder Rajeev / Thiruvananthapuram – May 05th, 2017
The 122nd Maramon Convention has honoured the Metropolitan Emeritus of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Philipose Mar Chrysostum, who will be celebrating his 100th birth anniversary on April 27, at a function held at the traditional convention venue on the sand bed of the river at Maramon near Kozhencherry on Saturday.
The supreme head of the Mar Thoma Church, Joseph Mar Thoma, felicitated Mar Chrysostum on behalf of the Church as well as the Maramon Convention which is billed as Asia’s largest week-long annual congregation on the occasion.
The Metropolitan further announced that the new mission project undertaken by the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association in Andhra Pradesh would be named after the Metropolitan Emeritus as `Mar Chrysostum Birth Centenary Mission Project’.
Yuyakim Mar Coorilos Episcopa presided the meeting. Bishop Mar Aprem of the Chaldian Church, Cyril Mar Baselius of the Thozhiyur Syrian Christian Church, the Rajya Sabha Deputy Speaker P.J.Kurien, and Mathew T.Thomas, Water Resources Minister, were among those who attended the meeting, besides all bishops of the Mar Thoma Church.
Addressing the congregation, Mar Chrysostum said he firmly believed it as a great privilage and God’s blessings to be a part of the Mar Thoma Church at different stages. “It was nothing but sheer Blessings of the Lord Almighty that has made me what Iam,’’ he said.
Mar Chrysostum invited two children who were sitting in the front row to cut the birthday cake. The Metropolitan Emeritus and the Mar Thoma Metropolitan also shared sweets each other on the occasion.
The renowned evangelist, Lord Griffiths from United Kingdom, delivered the religious discourse on the occasion.
Yuyakim Mar Coorilos Episcopa del addressed the afternoon session of the Maramon Convention.
The century-old annual Christian retreat will come to a close on Sunday afternoon. The Mar Thoma Metropolitan will deliver the valedictory message.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Pathanamthitta – February 18th, 2017
Saraswathy Kunjukrishnan, senior Congress leader and the first woman District Congress Committee (DCC) president in the State, passed away at her house here early Monday. She was 92.
She had been ailing owing to age-related problems. The body has been kept in the mortuary of a private hospital here and will be taken to the Kollam DCC office at 4 p.m. on Tuesday for the people to pay their last respects. The body will then be taken to her house where it will be kept till Wednesday. The funeral rites will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Mulangadakam public crematorium.
Saraswathy Kunjukrishnan is the widow of the two-time MLA and former Kollam DCC president Kulangara Kunjukrishnan. She was elected KPCC general secretary in 1978 and served as Kollam DCC president from 1982 to 1986.
She is survived by a son and two daughters. Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran and Congress leaders A.K Antony, Vayalar Ravi, V.M. Sudheeran, Oommen Chandy, C.V. Padmarajan, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, and Sooranad Rajashekaran condoled her death.
The president and members of the Travancore Devaswom Board too condoled the death of Saraswathy Kunjukrishnan. A holiday has been declared for all offices under the board on January 4. She had served as a member of the board for 10 years.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Kollam – January 02nd, 2017
The sleepy, landlocked village of Vazhoor, about 20 km from here, has a special interest in the Congressional elections in the U.S. ‘Local lad’ Anu is taking on a veteran in the polls on November 8.
Indian American Democrat Peter Jacob, candidate for the 7th Congressional district of the State of New Jersey, is ‘Anu’ for the relatives and neighbours of Puthuparambil House here. They remember him as an affable young man who made annual trips to the village and ‘spoke Malayalam with an American accent’.
Mr. Jacob’s father, Jacob P. Peter, migrated to the U.S. in 1986 chasing the American dream, taking along with him his wife, Sheela, and six-month-old Peter, named after the patron saint of the home parish. The family now owns a successful security systems business in the U.S. Talking to The Hinduover phone, Mr. Peter said: “Right from a young age he has been very focussed and bent on community work. I had suggested a future in medical profession for him, but he said ‘no’ and I agreed,” he added. “After taking a Master’s in Social Work from a prestigious university here, he had many offers from corporates, but he chose to return to his hometown and work among the poorest of the poor,” Mr Peter added.
“Whenever Anu came here, he wanted to learn about Indian mythology, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Sree Buddha, etc.,” said his uncle Elias P. Peter, a former PIB officer who leads a retired life at Vazhoor. “I had, in fact, introduced him to my friends from different faiths during such trips,” he said. “My only grouse is that he is 31 and still unmarried,” his uncle laments.
Mr. Jacob lives with his parents at Union, NJ. “Yes, the values taught by my parents have shaped my world view and influenced the political stance,” he said over telephone .
The Bernie Sanders’ endorsement has brightened his prospects against the veteran Republican opponent Leonard Lance. “After the latest endorsements, we have received over $1,15,000 in funding. And this is from common people like you and me. Not from corporates and interests groups,” he said pointing to the effectiveness of his grassroots level “People over Politics” campaign.
Democratic candidate hailing from Vazhoor Peter Jacob fights elections on ‘people above politics’ plank.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / by George Jacob / Kottayam – November 09th, 2016
The judgment in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala, whose 40th anniversary falls today, was crucial in upholding the supremacy of the Constitution and preventing authoritarian rule by a single party
Exactly forty years ago, on April 24, 1973, Chief Justice Sikri and 12 judges of the Supreme Court assembled to deliver the most important judgment in its history. The case of Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala had been heard for 68 days, the arguments commencing on October 31, 1972, and ending on March 23, 1973. The hard work and scholarship that had gone into the preparation of this case was breathtaking. Literally hundreds of cases had been cited and the then Attorney-General had made a comparative chart analysing the provisions of the Constitutions of 71 different countries!
All this effort was to answer just one main question: was the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution unlimited? In other words, could Parliament alter, amend, abrogate any part of the Constitution even to the extent of taking away all fundamental rights?
Article 368, on a plain reading, did not contain any limitation on the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution. There was nothing that prevented Parliament from taking away a citizen’s right to freedom of speech or his religious freedom. But the repeated amendments made to the Constitution raised a doubt: was there any inherent or implied limitation on the amending power of Parliament?
The 703-page judgment revealed a sharply divided court and, by a wafer-thin majority of 7:6, it was held that Parliament could amend any part of the Constitution so long as it did not alter or amend “the basic structure or essential features of the Constitution.” This was the inherent and implied limitation on the amending power of Parliament. This basic structure doctrine, as future events showed, saved Indian democracy and Kesavananda Bharati will always occupy a hallowed place in our constitutional history.
SUPREME COURT V INDIRA GANDHI
It is supremely ironical that the basic structure theory was first introduced by Justice Mudholkar eight years earlier by referring to a 1963 decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Chief Justice Cornelius — yes, Pakistan had a Christian Chief Justice and, later, a Hindu justice as well — had held that the President of Pakistan could not alter the “fundamental features” of their Constitution.
The Kesavananda Bharati case was the culmination of a serious conflict between the judiciary and the government, then headed by Mrs Indira Gandhi. In 1967, the Supreme Court took an extreme view, in the Golak Nath case, that Parliament could not amend or alter any fundamental right. Two years later, Indira Gandhi nationalised 14 major banks and the paltry compensation was made payable in bonds that matured after 10 years! This was struck down by the Supreme Court, although it upheld the right of Parliament to nationalise banks and other industries. A year later, in 1970, Mrs Gandhi abolished the Privy Purses. This was a constitutional betrayal of the solemn assurance given by Sardar Patel to all the erstwhile rulers. This was also struck down by the Supreme Court. Ironically, the abolition of the Privy Purses was challenged by the late Madhavrao Scindia, who later joined the Congress Party.
Smarting under three successive adverse rulings, which had all been argued by N.A. Palkhivala, Indira Gandhi was determined to cut the Supreme Court and the High Courts to size and she introduced a series of constitutional amendments that nullified the Golak Nath, Bank Nationalisation and Privy Purses judgments. In a nutshell, these amendments gave Parliament uncontrolled power to alter or even abolish any fundamental right.
These drastic amendments were challenged by Kesavananda Bharati, the head of a math in Kerala, and several coal, sugar and running companies. On the other side, was not only the Union of India but almost all the States which had also intervened. This case had serious political overtones with several heated exchanges between N.A. Palkhivala for the petitioners and H.M. Seervai and Niren De, who appeared for the State of Kerala and the Union of India respectively.
The infamous Emergency was declared in 1975 and, by then, eight new judges had been appointed to the Supreme Court. A shocking attempt was made by Chief Justice Ray to review the Kesavananda Bharati decision by constituting another Bench of 13 judges. In what is regarded as the finest advocacy that was heard in the Supreme Court, Palkhivala made an impassioned plea for not disturbing the earlier view. In a major embarrassment to Ray, it was revealed that no one had filed a review petition. How was this Bench then constituted? The other judges strongly opposed this impropriety and the 13-judge Bench was dissolved after two days of arguments. The tragic review was over but it did irreversible damage to the reputation of Chief Justice A.N. Ray.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS SAVED
If the majority of the Supreme Court had held (as six judges indeed did) that Parliament could alter any part of the Constitution, India would most certainly have degenerated into a totalitarian State or had one-party rule. At any rate, the Constitution would have lost its supremacy. Even Seervai later admitted that the basic structure theory preserved Indian democracy. One has to only examine the amendments that were made during the Emergency. The 39th Amendment prohibited any challenge to the election of the President, Vice-President, Speaker and Prime Minister, irrespective of the electoral malpractice. This was a clear attempt to nullify the adverse Allahabad High Court ruling against Indira Gandhi. The 41st Amendment prohibited any case, civil or criminal, being filed against the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister or the Governors, not only during their term of office but forever. Thus, if a person was a governor for just one day, he acquired immunity from any legal proceedings for life. If Parliament were indeed supreme, these shocking amendments would have become part of the Constitution.
Thanks to Kesavananda Bharati, Palkhivala and the seven judges who were in the majority, India continues to be the world’s largest democracy. The souls of Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar and all the founding fathers of our Constitution can really rest in peace.
(Arvind P. Datar is a senior advocate of the Madras High Court.)y
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Opinion> Comment / by Arvind P. Datar / April 24th, 2013