I recently bumped into DD Malayalam Channel at 11.30 in the night after I reached home after a brainstorming skype session with the client and got hooked on for a good one hour+, watching an interview with Tanzania’s first Indian Ambassador, respected Shree M.A. Vellodi, who’s living his retired life in Chennai. He is officially invited by the President of Tanzania as state guest for their Golden Jubilee celebrations of their National formation.
At first, it was his pure valluvanad diction, which pulled me in, and with the interviewer Dr. Nedungadi also speaking the same lingo, it was a treat to listen on! As he went on, he was passionately talking about the need for youngsters to understand the culture of our state through its history in the formative years so that it gives a better perspective throughout their life.
One more aspect I had noticed throughout the interview was his positive attitude and refinement. While he was critical about the cynicism of looking down upon the state by many of us who live outside Kerala, he was sad about it rather than being angry. The gracefully old man who travelled across the world was sad about people being cynical of the state rather than acknowledging many good achievements. He reiterated that it’s this lack of knowledge of the history and culture of the state which bereaves the pride of being Malayali from each one of us. He insisted to induct ‘Kerala History’ as a subject in the syllabus of 6th or 7th standard in our curriculum just for one year so that young minds adore it through rest of their lives. In fact, he even suggested a book for the same, Shree Krishna Iyer’s ‘Kerala Charithram’, which is a very lean book written in simplest of Malayalam.
At this juncture of the interview, it was a reconnect for me with Pallassana and I realized that even though the education system did not induce the culture in us, the village did! Pazhayakavu, Puthan Kavu, Vettakkaruman, Sabhamadam, Shiva – Vishnu temples of east – west villages respectively did the trick of inducing the culture, traditions and values in each one of us through festivals, when Kanyarkalis, Kathakalis and other folk art forms were performed. Even the remote influence of Iruppakkal, Vaamala, Maariyamma and Chudala Karuppan had a strong influence on all of us, which makes us proud of our small, quiet world within this large, busy World! Even the only mosque near my house was influential to open my eyes towards the sensibilities of other religious practices in a cohesive living environment. During my school days, we have been an integral part of their ‘Ramadan’ month celebrations and I used to get ‘Ramzan Pordridge’ every evening and it was tasty for me with its spicy flavour!
Shree Vellodi was correct in his views and our little Pallassana is a classic example of the his view point. As he said, it’s not just in Kerala, but in every state, there is a need to introduce this system of learning their own culture through their rich history, to re-induce the pride of being Indians.