Category Archives: Education

College brings back its dramatic past

Students attend a lecture on theatre at University College.

Theatre group at University College

University College, the city’s iconic academic institution, is all set to revive its theatrical tradition of the 1980s with the formation of a theatre group.

On Thursday, actor Alancier, one of the members of the college’s 1980s theatre group, kicked off the revival initiative interacting with around 50 youngsters.

On Friday, it was the turn of the students to choose the areas in which they would work as the gathering got down to serious business.

In between, they were treated to lectures and demonstrations on the subtle nuances of theatre and its practices by Raja Warrier, Head, Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, University of Kerala, and Girish Sopanam, Creative Head, Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts, followed by selection of groups of students to handle different departments of the theatre group under the guidance of Satheesh G. Nair, Director, Campus Theatre.

What awaits the student group is a major production during the summer vacation and an inter-departmental theatre festival as early as next month, Krishna Kumar, faculty in charge of the theatre initiative told The Hindu.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by A Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram – October 21st, 2017

Expertise of engineering college to go virtual

Local libraries, reading rooms in Taliparamba constituency to be linked to GCEK’s virtual learning facility

The interactive virtual learning facility of Government Engineering College, Kannur, (GCEK), at Dharmasala here will be linked to the local library-cum-reading rooms in the Taliparamba Assembly constituency for the dissemination of e-contents of expertise useful for the public.

The plan, outlined as part of the entrepreneurship support initiative Samruddhi, launched in the constituency under the leadership of local MLA James Mathew, envisages provision of computers, LED display boards and printers to 164 library-cum-reading rooms in the constituency for linking them with the interactive virtual learning centre of the GCEK started under its Centre for Information, Communication and Educational Technology (CICET). Mr. Mathew had announced the other day that a workshop for five functionaries each of the libraries would be held at Taliparamba on October 20 to discuss activities to be carried out under the Samruddhi scheme using the libraries as centres.

“Once the libraries are connected to the interactive virtual learning facility of the college, the e-content stored in the college’s server can be accessed by them,” GCEK Principal C. Sreekumar said. Another feature is a programme being organised by one of the libraries can be streamed to rest of the others, he added.

The CICET includes a resource studio and a server that would used as a platform for interactive classroom programmes and contents involving the expertise of the colleges faculties in different disciplines.

The CICET was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last month. Under the Samruddhi scheme, this facility is being extended for the benefit of the public through libraries and schools. The e-contents will be created, stored and disseminated under the initiative.

As the Samruddhi scheme envisages dissemination of information on socially beneficial programmes of the government among their beneficiaries, including aspiring entrepreneurs, the facility would function as a common link between government departments and the public.

Mr. Mathew said the funds would be accessed if the clusters of entrepreneurs propose projects that cannot be established on their own. Water conservation, waste treatment and good agricultural practices are being given priority under the scheme, he said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Mohamed Nazeer / Kannur – October 16th, 2017

Kochi gets a comic library

Kochi :

Deep within a by-lane on the Civil Line near Vazhakkala exists probably the only Xanadu for comic book fans in the city , Comic Collective , the city’s first comic book library , boasts of a selection of over 1,000 comic books .

Comic books, unlike novels, are hard to find and buy and almost unavailable in Kochi.

The two key people involved in putting together this large collection of comic books, Tony Davis and San Ramshankar, travelled to multiple book fairs and flea markets across the country in search of books for the library that opened in August.

“You will not find specific comic books that are popular in flea markets because nobody would want to sell them, so those we had to buy online,” said Tony , the library founder.

San, a software engineer who used to review comic books on his Facebook page, Kerala Comic Brotherhood, used to collect them to augment his personal collection.

Later he met Tony , who had been collecting comics to set up a library in the city , on Kerala Comic Brotherhood.

Currently , Comic Collective has stocked popular series from the major western comic book publishers such as Marvel, DC, Vertigo, Image and Dark Horse.

They also have a selection of Japanese comics (manga) apart from those brought out by Indian publishers, illustrators, and writers Bobby Creasman, an American who moved to Kochi for work and is now of member of Comic Collective, said: “I think it’s fantastic that there is a comic book library in Kochi. My kids had borrowed two Flash comics. I borrowed Ramayan 3392 AD, which is the story of Ramayan in a post-apocalyptic setting.”

The house, converted into a library , offers wide seating space. The walls are decorated with art works made by comic fans.

“Comic book fans always tend to artistically recreate what they see in comic books, where two forms of art -writing, and illustration -converge,” said San who is also an active cosplayer (someone who engages in comic book costume play). His cosplay work is also on display at the library .

The library is yet to catch the fancy of comic bo ok fans but Tony believes there is huge potential.

“Last year, we organized a Batman Day gathering and we expected around 50 people. But around 250 people showed up and they were all fans of either the cartoon, the movie or the comic.We even had a quiz and some people answered all the questions. So this year, we are planning to organize Batman Day at our premises on September 23. Hopefully , it will serve a launching pad for the library ,” said Tony , adding that it is difficult to get a sponsor to support comic book events as people consider them childish.

“Some people come asking whether we have Balarama and Tinkle but that’s not the type of comics we deal with. Comics are not just for kids, some of them have great stories, ideas and art.But explaining it is too hard, so we don’t. We’d rather have an organic growth rather than forcing it on people,” said San.

source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Kochi News / by Vikram Vinod, TNN / September 21st, 2017

Blind Football Academy to be opened today

Union Minister K.J. Alphonse at a function where membership of the Blind Football Academy was handed over to C.S. Falhan on Thursday.

First member receives membership

C.S. Falhan became the first member of the Blind Football Academy when he received the membership from Union Minister K.J. Alphons here on Thursday.

Sunil J. Mathew, Indian Blind Football Federation sporting director; Fr. Robin Kannanchira, director, Chavara Cultural Centre; and M.C. Roy, attended the event. The academy, which has been established by Indian Blind Football Federation, will be opened on Friday at Jogo Football arena near Bund Road at 4 p.m.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – September 14th, 2017

Mahatma Gandhi University’s faculty to lead expedition team to Arctic

Kottayam :

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: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News> Schools & Colleges / TNN / July 14th, 2017

How Gundert saved Malayalam

Herman Gundert


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: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation, In other news / by Sabloo Thomas, Deccan Chronicle / July 05th, 2017

Environmental activist P.S. Panicker dead

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: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Palakkad – June 07th, 2017

Fr Gabriel Chiramel passes away

Thrissur :

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: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / May 12th, 2017

When a noisy creature brought laurels to a not too silent campus

A short film on cicada, shot at Maharaja’s College, bags top honours at National Science Film Festival

Kochi :

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: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by M P Praveen / February 26th, 2017

India tops in technology, graft: writer

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: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Staff Reporter / Kasargod – February 16th, 2017