Category Archives: Records, All

Megalithic era sarcophagus unearthed at Viyur

The sarcophagus discovered from a rock-cut cave at Viyur village of Kollam.

A rich culture existed in the region

A rare sarcophagus (stone coffin), said to be 2,000-year old from the Iron Age–Megalithic era, was discovered from a rock-cut cave at Viyur village of Kollam, near Koyilandy, in Kozhikode district on Monday.

The coffin containing bone fragments was found during an excavation. “So far, such a rare finding has been discovered only from two sites in Kerala .  Both these sarcophagi were recovered from Megalithic sites at Chevayur and Atholi, also in Kozhikode district,” K. Krishnaraj of the Archaeology Department, who is supervising the excavation, said.

The bone fragments could be of either a man or a woman. They will be sent for carbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry at the Beta Analytical Laboratory in California, he said. Excavation at the site commenced after a hemispherical rock-cut chamber was discovered in a compound while flattening land using an earthmover. The cave, with an inside pillar, measuring 1.9 metres in diameter, has a height of 90 centimetres.

The entrance of the cave was on the eastern side. “The square-shaped door has equal length of 50 centimetres on all sides. Different types of pottery, mostly four-legged jars and iron implements, were found in the cave, ” he said.

Sarcophagi was found in many archaeological sites in South India earlier. Some are adorned with a sculpture or inscription. But two types are usually found with bovine features or with legs.

“As of now, we have obtained preliminary details about the excavations. However, it can be confirmed that a rich Megalithic culture existed in the region following the discoveries of pre-Iron age civilisation earlier. The excavation will continue for another week,” Mr. Krishnaraj said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Biju Govind / Kozhikode – January 16th, 2018

Kozhikode’s golden reign continues

Thrissur, 10/01/2018, Calicut Team Win Overall Gold Cup in Kerala School Art Festival in Thrissur on Wednesday_Photo_K_K_Najeeb

Pips Palakkad by 2 points to emerge champion for the 12th consecutive year, Malappuram comes third

Kozhikode completed a golden dozen on Sunday. The district lifted its 12th successive Gold Cup at the State School Arts Festival. No mean feat that.

It is truly remarkable that the young artistes from Kozhikode have never let their grip go of the cup that is given to the district scoring the highest number of points at the State festival after they won it at Kannur in 2007. But, Palakkad gave it a very stiff fight here before settling for the runner-up spot.

Kozhikode finished with 895 points, just two more than Palakkad. Malappuram was third with 875, while host Thrissur took the fourth place with 865.

Top school

Palakkad, however, had the consolation that a school from the district, BSS Gurkukulam, Alathur, emerged as the best both in the Higher Secondary and High School categories, overcoming strong challenges from the likes of Silver Hills HSS, Kozhikode, St. Teresa’s, Kannur, and MKNMHS, Kumaramangalam (Idukki).

In the Sanskrit Festival too, Kozhikode emerged champion, with 95 points. Kannur and Palakkad, with 91 points each, finished second and third respectively.

In the Arabic Festival, Malappuram finished on top with 95 points.

Kasaragod and Thrissur, with 93 points apiece, were placed second and third respectively.

The prizes were distributed at the main venue of Thekkinkadu Maidan in front of a packed house. Speaking at the function, Education Minister C. Ravindranath said the State School Arts Festival should evolve into a cultural festival.

Revised manual

“This edition of the festival was held with a revised manual,” he said.

“The process of revision will continue for the next three years. We welcome suggestions from the public about the changes made in the festival, such as the discontinuation of giving the prizes to the top three,” he said.

Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, actor and MP Innocent were among those who attended.

Alappuzha next host

The next edition of the festival will be held at Alappuzha. “It is the home district of our Opposition Leader and it has enough venues to conduct the festival,” Mr. Ravindranath said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by P.K. Ajith Kumar – Thrissur / January 10th, 2018

State’s own daughter is in raptures

Sreeja T., the State’s ‘first adopted daughter’ helping her daughter Meenakshi get ready for the Ottanthullal competition. Vinod Kumar, Sreeja’s husband, is to the left. | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

State’s ‘first adopted daughter’ is at the fete with her ward

Tears rolled down her cheeks as T. Sreeja helped with the make-up of her daughter Meenakshi for the Ottanthullal competition at the Vivekodayam HSS on Monday.

It was but natural for her to turn emotional. For, Sreeja, “the first adopted daughter of the State” was exactly her daughter’s age when fate left her an orphan, leaving her to the mercy of the government.

Twenty-four years ago, on July 20, a giant tree, uprooted in heavy winds, had landed atop her home at Aninja in Kasaragod district crushing her parents, two elder brothers, and a sister. All seemed lost when the government adopted her.

Drawing her daughter, a Class 9 student of Durga HSS, Kasaragod, near, she thanked all those who helped piece her life together.

“It was the then UDF government led by the late K. Karunakaran that took her as the first adopted daughter of the State. P. Mara Pandiyan, then District Collector of Kasaragod, had recommended to the government to adopt her,” said Vinod Kumar, Sreeja’s husband, a teacher at the Govt. High School at Thachangad in Kasaragod.

Sreeja was appointed as clerk in the Revenue Department immediately after she completed pre-degree. She is now working in the taluk office at Hosdurg.

An A grade

“I feel happy when Meenakshi performs. My elder daughter Sreelakshmi, a Plus Two student at Hosdurg HSS, had won the Ottanthullal event in the school arts festival in 2015,” said Sreeja. Meenakshi won A grade in the high school section, in which 23 students participated.

Most of the participants in the Ottanthullal event stuck to the traditional stories. A student from Palakkad said she presented ‘Santhanagopalam’ as it gave ample scope for facial expressions.

Manaloor Gopinathan, noted Thullal artiste, said that his disciples tried something different while narrating a piece from ‘Nalacharitham’ and ‘Sundariswayamvaram.’ Mr. Gopinathan, a sub-inspector with the State Special Branch in Thrissur, pointed out that the contest needed new and interesting stories.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities > Thiruvananthapuram / by G. Krishna Kumar / Thrissur – January 08th, 2018

Valuable folk art recordings remain neglected

Kozhikode :

Video and audio recordings  of the folk art forms of Kerala, painstakingly documented under a project funded by US-based Ford Foundation , are getting damaged at the Calicut University due to lack of proper care and conservation.

The local fund audit wing of the state government in its report has said that the archives at the varsity’s Centre for Folklore Studies is non-functional leading to valuable recordings created under the project getting damaged.

The four-year project, under which the varsity had received Rs 67 lakh grant from the Ford Foundation, had created around 400 hours of recordings of live performances of various folk and ritual art forms of Kerala, including 13 versions of the ancient ritual art form of Padayani and a rich variety of Theyyam performances.

The report said that the archives have around 500 CDs with the video and audio recordings of the live presentations of folk art forms.

“The CDs are lying in a room without proper care and there is no dedicated staff for its upkeep. We do not know how much of the recordings can be retrieved. There are chances that some of it has already got damaged. The Ford Foundation’s folklore project had a special focus on the Kali cult in Kerala. It would be a loss for the posterity if the work is not preserved,” Anil K M, former head of the Centre for Folklore Studies, said.

Experts said that some of the folk art forms documented under the project have become nearly extinct and so rare that it is practically impossible to video document them again.

He said that lack of funds and staff was posing hurdles for the maintenance and upkeep of the video recordings. “We had submitted a project to store the recordings in a cloud storage facility, but it has not taken off,” he added.

The folklore project funded by Ford Foundation was implemented during the 2002-2006 period and aimed to preserve and document the folklore tradition of the state. The project was headed by folklore expert Raghavan Payyanad.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kozhikode News / TNN / January 09th, 2018

Kerala startup finds robotic solution to end sewer cleaning deaths

A municipal workers attempts to unblock a sewer overflowing with human excreta in New Delhi. (HT File Photo )

Manual scavenging, an abominable practice that claims several lives across the country every year, could soon be a thing of the past with a group of young engineers from Kerala developing a robot to do the sewage cleaning job.

The Kerala Water Authority that manages the sewage department in the state has already placed orders for 50 robots, christened as Bandicoot.

To market their invention, the young engineers have started a startup called ‘Genrobotics’. After receiving patent for the robot from India, the company has now applied for the world patent, applicable in 150 countries.

Manual scavenging is a caste-based occupation mainly involving cleaning septic tanks, sewers and gutters.

Despite legal bans, the dehumanising practice continues in the country. According to one estimate more than 1200 people died from manual scavenging related activities between 2014 and 2016 in the country.

The start-up claims the Bandicoot is the tech solution to the social malaise. Genrobotics says it will go global only after “fixing the country’s nagging problem.”

Apart from sewer lines the robots can also be pressed into service for other under-water activities.

Death of three sewage workers on the outskirts of Bangalure two years ago prompted the young techies to think something out of the box to tackle the problem, which is often being called India’s shame, said Vimal Govind, the 24-year-old CEO of Genrobotics. Govind is a mechanical engineer.

“I worked more than one year in the TCS to earn some money to fund the stage one of the project. We all nine classmates of MES Engineering College in Kuttipuram came around quickly and developed the first prototype in six months,” added Rashid K, a software engineer.

Initially they struggled to find fund for the project, but now they say money is pouring in from different sources.

Manufacturing cost of the machine is somewhere between Rs 3lakh and Rs 5 lakh, Rashid said. Their machine weighs 80kg but the main operating part that goes into the hole weighs only 30 kg.

Once installed atop a clogged sewage line, a wire carrying camera goes inside the hole and beams pictures of the problem on the screen atop.

After gauging the problem, the robot dismantles itself from the main machine and goes into the hole taking tools such as a shovel or a jet pipe, depending on the magnitude of the problem, and cleans the system.

Young scientists claim a robot can manage three workers’ three-hour schedule in 30 minutes.

To operate the machine, the Genrobotics wants to engage manual scavengers so that they don’t become jobless.

“Even a small boy can operate our system. We will train these workers. It is their product. We are planning to move a proposal under the Prime Minister’s flagship Swachh Bharat scheme to train them,” said Govind, who recently visited Taiwan for a presentation.

“Our guiding spirit is our former President A P J Abdul Kalam. He always used to say dream, dream. The young India is committed to fulfil his dream of becoming a fully developed nation sans hunger and strife,” said Jaleesh, another member of the team.

He said talks are on to produce these machines commercially.

Kerala’s IT department, which is the first in the country to formulate a start-up policy is upbeat over the achievement of the youngsters.

“The noble product shows social commitment of these youngsters. Many firms including the BPCL promised help to take their innovation to the next stage,” said state IT Secretary M Sivasankar.

In an international conference conducted recently by the American Society of Research, out of 13 papers submitted, a paper on Bandicoot was selected as the best.

The paper was published in the International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / HIndustan Times / Home> India / by Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram / January 06th, 2018

Young scientist awards announced

The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE) has announced the State awards for outstanding young scientists.

V.B. Kiran Kumar, CUSAT (Mathematics); Ajay Venugopal, IISER, Thiruvananthapuram (Chemistry); Sasidharan B.S., NIIST (Chemical Science and Technology); Sumod S.G., Sacred Heart College, Kochi (Physics); Kumaravel S., NIT, Kozhikode (Electrical Engineering); and Pradeepan Periyat, University of Calicut (Chemistry); have been chosen for the award, an official pressnote issued here said.

The award comprises a purse of ₹50,000, the Chief Minister’s gold medal, and a project assistance up to ₹50 lakh as well as financial support to participate in an international science conference. The awards will given away at the Kerala Science Congress to be held at Government Brennen College, Thalassery, on January 28.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent – Thiruvananthapuram / January 04th, 2018

Family contests GI tag for Aranmula mirror, says their formula was leaked

The unique mirror, made of high-tin bronze in a secretive metallurgical formula, has found patrons across the globe.

Kochi :

The geographical indication (GI) of Aranmula mirror  — the first product from Kerala to receive the tag in 2005 — has been contested by a family that claims to have developed its technology. The unique mirror, made of high-tin bronze in a secretive metallurgical formula, has found patrons across the globe.

Members of Thikkinampallil family, hailing from Aranmula in Pathanamthitta, have contested the GI tag given to Viswabrahmana Aranmula Metal Mirror Nirman Society (VAMMNS) by the Geographical Indications registry. “We have moved the Chennai registry to cancel the tag for Aranmula mirror and instead give it to our Thikkinampallil Aranmula mirror,” said M C Sureshbabu, secretary of Thikkinampallil Aranmula Metal Mirror Nirman Family Charitable Trust (Thikkinampallil Trust).

The family also plans to move court against the tag. Sureshbabu said his predecessors were brought from Shankaran Kovil near Thirunelveli by a former Pandalam raja for the construction of Aranmula Parthasarathy temple. “The manufacturing technique of the mirror was developed by one of our family members through trial and error. We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support our claim that our family had traditionally been into Aranmula mirror making. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” he said.

The website of GI registry shows that the application from Thikkinampallil Trust is being examined. “The first sitting on our application is over; we are awaiting the examination report,” James said.

‘ Application from Thikkinampallil Trust being examined’

“We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support our claim that our family had traditionally been into Aranmula mirror making. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” he said.

The website of GI registry shows that the application from Thikkinampallil Trust is being examined. “The first sitting on our application is over; we are awaiting the examination report,” said Febin James, legal counsel to Thikkinampallil Trust.

The immediate provocation for the petition with the GI registry was the opposition from VAMMNS to Sureshbabu’s mother Maniammal opening a mirror dealership near Aranmula temple nearly three years ago. “We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support this. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” Sureshbabu said.

Society founding president A K Selvaraj said it tried to stop the sale of mirrors as Maniammal’s shop had been sourcing them from a relative’s workshop in Cherthala. “When something is GI tagged, it should be produced in that region only,” he said. “A member of Thikkinampallil Trust was the founder treasurer of VAMMNS but the relationship soured after VAMMNS decided to impose holograms on products.”

James said VAMMNS couldn’t insist on manufacturing mirrors in Aranmula. “Unlike the Darjeeling tea, which is very much tied to the locality where it is grown, the Aranmula mirror is a technology-based product and it could be made anywhere,” he said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Shenoy Karun / TNN / January 04th, 2018

Ace guitarist Emil Isaac dead

Emil Isaac, the ace guitarist who accompanied playback singers K.J. Yesudas and Usha Uthup in many of their live shows and who was one of the prominent musicians in the orchestra, died at a private hospital here on Wednesday.

Emil was the eldest son of violinist Joe Isaac and singer Emilda. The 70-year-old guitarist had been bed-ridden ever since he suffered a paralytic stroke.

Emil’s musical journey began with a guitar loaned from Azad Music Club in his formative years.

While Yesudas and Usha Uthup played an important role in shaping his career as a guitarist in their troupes, Emil had quite a few firsts in his right.

First such Western music band

He was responsible for forming the first Western music band in Kochi called the Elite Aces.

He had been part of the Western music group Flamingo before starting his own band. Much of his time was also devoted to devotional music. He had conducted the orchestra for Kalabhavan for three years, leading a group of 60 musicians.

Emil had been the chief guitarist for Usha Uthup for years and he shifted his base to Kolkata to take care of her studio.

Of his 10 siblings, Rex, Eugine, Antony, Efry, Eloy and Eldrige took to music. He is survived by his wife Helen and two children.

The funeral will be conducted on Thursday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Chathiath.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Staff Reporter / Kochi – January 04th, 2018

Joseph Pulikunnel, church critic and reformer, cremated

Kottayam :

Joseph Pulikunnel (85), the renowned Christian social reformer and critic who advocated liberalism in church, was cremated at his residence in Hosanna Mount in Edamattom near Pala on Friday. The funeral pyre was lit by his grandchildren.

Hundreds of people arrived at Hosanna Mount to pay tribute to the person, who, all along his life, fought for the reformation of the church.

Representing the Syro Malabar church, major archbishop Mar George Alencherry and curia bishop Mar Sebastian Vaniyapurackal performed the prayer service. Bishops and priests of various church denominations also conducted prayer services.

Pulikunnel, a revolutionary, used to address issues related to marriages and funerals that got ensnared in the rules of the church.

When his wife Kochurani died in 2008, her body was cremated in his residential premises. In his will, he had written that he should also be cremated in his residential premises. He had also specified the funeral services to be carried out after his death and had distributed it in print among his relatives and friends.

Pulikunnel, who passed away at his residence on Thursday, is best known for his independent and scholarly views on the state of the established church in India.

His main concerns were on contemporary religious and social problems, including the plight of the poor and minority rights. He was also the founder member of Kerala Congress (M).

The newsletter Hosanna, started by Pulikunnel in 1975, was successfully brought out for over 40 years without any break.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / TNN / December 30th, 2017

‘Viswaguru’ aims to set a Guinness record

Pre- and post-production works of film completed in 48 hours

A biopic on Sree Narayana Guru, Vijeesh Mani’s Viswaguru, is all set to create a new record.

Aiming to break the current Guinness world record, all the pre- and post-production works of the film were completed within 48 hours, making it the fastest film ever made. “From scripting to title registration and shooting to censoring, all works were done within 48 hours. It’s an attempt from our part to bring Malayalam cinema to global attention,” says the director.

The production began at 10 p.m. on December 27 with Pramod Payyanur writing the first scene. “I had done my research on the subject as we cannot tamper with historical figures and facts. Though I started writing the script with a clear-cut idea, there were a lot of improvisations as well. When I completed the first scene the filming started,” says the scenarist. Viswaguru portrays the major events in the life of Sree Naryana Guru who spearheaded the social renaissance in Kerala. “Along with him, the film features many historical figures and Guru’s conversations with them make a major part of the film,” says Mr. Payyanur.

The film had its censoring on December 29 at 5 p.m. through special arrangement and was later screened at Nila theatre in Thiruvananthapuram at 11.30 p.m. “A Sri Lankan film holds the current record of the film with shortest script-to-screen time. While it was completed in 71 hours, Viswaguru had its screening within 48 hours,” he adds. Sivagiri Madhom and premises were the main locations of the film.

Following Guinness guidelines, all the production-related activities were recorded on camera. The film produced by A.V. Anoop has Purushothaman Kainakkari, Gandhiyan Chacha Sivarajan, Kaladharan, and Kalanilayam Ramachandran in key roles.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Staff Reporter / Kollam – December 30th, 2017