CT Aravindakumar, a faculty at Mahatma Gandhi University’s (MGU) School of Environmental Sciences, will lead an eight-member team of Indian scientists for an expedition in the Arctic region this month. National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Goa, the nodal agency that coordinates India’s polar research, will organize the expedition, which will last four to six weeks. MGU had recently signed a MoU with NCAOR on joint polar research.
Under this agreement, MGU researchers can take part in Artic expedition every year. India conducts nearly 5 expeditions each year. The team will be studying atmospheric, biological, marine and earth sciences, glaciological and pollution issues. The main research programme is on pollution in the Arctic region which will have a long-term impact. It has already initiated a long-term programme with NCAOR on the study of air and water pollution, fate and transport of pollutants, aquatic organism etc.
India is one of the leading contributors in polar research and had started its Arctic expedition in 2007. India’s first Arctic research station, named Himadri, was inaugurated in 2008 at the International Arctic Research base, Ny-Alesund, located 2,000km north of Norway.
India is the 11th country to set up a permanent research station in the region. Himadri can host 8 scientists at a time under normal conditions. Members of the station are given weapon training to protect themselves from polar bears.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News> Schools & Colleges / TNN / July 14th, 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 These books have been archived in the Gundert archive of Tubingen University which has also taken steps to digitise the documents.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
A short film on cicada, shot at Maharaja’s College, bags top honours at National Science Film Festival
Cicada is an insect that turns an otherwise silent place noisy. In fact, it is its absence that continues to preserve the silence in the rain forests of Silent Valley.
However, it required these noisy creatures to bring laurels to Maharaja’s College campus, which was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, thanks to its fare share of noisy scenes.
Ore Naadam…Ore Thaalam (Same Tune, Same Rhythm), a short film made by Kottarakkara-based Padanakendram of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, in association with the zoology department at the college, has bagged the prestigious Golden Beaver Award for the best science and technology film at the seventh National Science Film Festival held at the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Kolkata from February 14 to 18.
The festival was organised by Vigyan Prasar of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Council for Science Museums.
The 25-minute film was directed by K.V. Sreenivasan Kartha, who had previously won the Golden Beaver Award in 2015 for another short film. C. Lilly, who wrote the screenplay, also received a special jury award.
“The whole idea was the popularisation of science, and the film aims at deconstructing several myths and misconceptions about cicadas and the sound they generate,” said K.S. Sunish, a faculty member of the zoology department at Maharaja’s College.
The film narrates how a group of children from Kottarakkara approaches Maharaja’s College in their quest to know more about cicada and where L.P. Rema, head of the zoology department, and Mr. Sunish take them through the many characteristics and life cycle of the insect.
One of the highlights of the film is a 2.30-minute visual on the moulting of cicada. But as ubiquitous as their sound is, it is equally tough to spot cicadas.
Some portions of the film were shot at Kottarakkara and some at the Kerala Forest Research Institute based on interactions with a scientist, T.V. Sajeev, who also happens to be an alumnus of Maharaja’s College.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by M P Praveen / February 26th, 2017
Off-stage events of Kannur University arts festival begin
India is marching ahead in two fields, technology and corruption, said renowned writer T. Padmanabhan in an apparent hint at the all-round technological advancement especially in the light of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) feat of putting into orbit a record 104 polar satellites through launch of PSLV 37 on Wednesday and the Supreme Court’s verdict in the disproportionate asset case against AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala.
The writer was addressing a function to mark the formal inauguration of the two-day off-stage events of the Kannur University Kalotsavam at Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Engineering College at Povval near here.
Referring to the ongoing Assembly polls in four States, Mr. Padmanabhan alleged that many candidates were accused or convicted in murder and criminal cases and the voters are left with no option but to elect them as their representatives.
Terming former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri a sincere and honest political leader, he said the present generation often failed to remember him. Very few knew that LBS, a leading engineering college which is hosting the five-day event, is named after the former prime minister. Similarly, not many know that the busy MG roads in leading cities in the country are named after Mahatma Gandhi.
Artist Puninchithaya, who hails from the district, left the audience in awe by painting a portrait using a knife at the function. He said the new generation was giving a go-by to the rich and varied cultural traditions of the country. Artists should be given as much importance as poets and writers, P.V. Shaji Kumar, writer, said at the function. Mr. Shaji added that while in Kozhikode, people moved about freely during late hours, Kasaragod wears a deserted look. The situation could be restored only by staging arts and cultural events in the communally sensitive areas in the district.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Staff Reporter / Kasargod – February 16th, 2017
City-based internationally renowned magician Gopinath Muthukad will be conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award along with the title ‘Indrajala Brahma’ and a cash prize of Rs 50,000 by the Indian Magic Academy in Visakhapatnam on February 23.
The award will be presented at a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of Indian Magic Academy. 16 years ago, Muthukad had captivated a sea of people in Visakhapatnam with his great escape art. On the occasion, B S Reddy, the founder of Indian Magic Academy and recipient of Merlin Award for ‘the most original illusionist’ would once again perform the act.
The event will also witness eight female magicians from various places in the country showcasing their talents.
Muthukad’s performances over the last four and a half decades in 50 countries has acquired him a huge fan base. A graduate in Mathematics, Muthukad took magic as a career and left his law course to pursue his passion.
Muthukad established ‘The Academy of Magical Sciences’ the first of its kind in Asia. He has been upholding the torch of science, dismantling superstitions and popularising magic as an art and science. He also serves as an executive director of Magic Planet, the first entirely magic-themed complex in the world – designed for children.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / February 14th, 2017
As many as 572 students who passed out from IIST (Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology) in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were awarded certifications at the fourth IIST convocation convened here on Saturday.
Among the students 378 were BTech graduates, 178 MTech graduates and 16 PhD holders.
The chairman’s gold medal for best academic performer was bagged by Mr. Mithun Neelakandan, Mr.S. Sajin and Mr. Mohit Singh Malik for the year 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The director’s gold medal was presented to Priyanka Natani, Gaurav Harsha and Aditya Duhan for the respective years.
“First degree is like a learner’s licence which allows you to practice as a professional engineer and technologist. Acquiring wisdom is a moral duty and it is not something you do to advance your life,” said V K Aartre, director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who was the chief guest in his convocation address.
“The intimate interweaving and mutual enhancement of science and technology in the past century accounts for the ever escalating pace of both,” he said. IIST Chancellor Prof UR Rao presided over.
IIST under the ISRO is the first institution of its kind in India to offer education in the bachelors, masters, doctoral and post- doctoral levels in areas with special focus on space sciences, space technology and space applications.
The institute conducts its own admission examination, ISAT, based on which students get admission to various UG programmes. The institute also has the MoU with Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and California Institute of Technology in USA.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Thiruvananthapuram / October 16th, 2016
Every student dreams of making something original using the skills that he or she has acquired in their field of study. Disny Pious, a mechanical engineering graduate from Jai Bharath Engineering College, Perumbavoor is one such student who has achieved his dream. The 23-year-old has come up with his own model of a treadmill bike. While the original ones cost more than a lakh, Pious’ treadmill bike cost below Rs 9,000 to make.
A treadmill bike is a combination of treadmill and cycle used mainly for exercise and green transport. The idea came to Pious when he saw a Lopifit, the most popular treadmill bike in a WhatsApp group. The bike caught his attention and an idea germinated in his mind.
While the original product comes with an electric motor and sensor, Pious’s product completely depends on muscle power.
It took him two months to finish a prototype and build his own treadmill bike using materials which he collected from the local market with the help of his father Pious Xavier, who is an iron fabricator. He also used scrap iron to reduce the cost further. “What I have now is a very primitive model. I want to work further on it in reducing the weight and improving the mechanism. Once I succeed in this I think my product will be more user-friendly and also commercially viable,” said Disny Pious sharing his future dreams while jogging on his treadmill bike.
The project has been acknowledged by the Lopifit officials.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Akshay Thomas Kurien / August 15th, 2016
When George Panamkuzha and three of his friends were organising the college fest during their student days, the biggest problem the youngsters encountered was getting sponsorship, and convincing prospective sponsors on the possible benefits they would get on the money spent. After launching Praudyogiki Technolabs, a software development firm immediately out of the college in 2013, the quartet’s second startup ‘Daddyspocket.com’ founded this year is aimed at addressing the issue of sponsorship at events.
The Kochi-based startup found instant recognition when it was recently chosen for Spark10’s Accelerator Programme, a three-month programme held at Hyderabad. The programme is to help early stage startups turn their prototype or a minimum viable product into a scalable, positive and sustainable business. “We were chosen from nearly 500 applicants from all over India,” said George, adding that only nine startups were selected for the coveted programme. Only two startups from Kerala qualified — the second being ‘PaySack’, a mobile wallet for enterprises. DaddysPocket, according to George, is India’s first sponsorship marketplace for college events that helps college groups get easy sponsorship, allowing them to focus on organising a quality event. He said the company has over 20 high-profile brands as sponsors on board as of June 2016, and are the official partner for Techfest 2016 happening at JNTU, Hyderabad.
The other three in the founding team are Karan Radhakrishnan, Akhil Ashok and Jacob Jose Mattom. The three-month programme has helped the startup founders’ access to industry leaders and business leaders, but also ensured funding of Rs 10 lakh. In return, DaddysPocket has shed eight per cent stake to Spark10 Accelerator, said George.
“Right now, sponsors for events can’t measure the tasks. We at DaddysPocket will provide a task-based platform. Funds will be released based on the task,” explained George. George said his focus will be to scale-up ‘DaddysPocket’.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities. Kochi / by Express News Service / August 18th, 2016