G.’s Blog

Archive for September, 2009

“Orthu Nokkumbol…” in Mathrubhumi

Posted by G. on September 29, 2009

I’m dating myself here, but for those who haven’t seen this yet, Sarath Krishna writes an excellent nostalgic series on the Kerala of our childhood/youth, in the Pravaasi section of Mathrubhumi online edition. Sharath’s poetic Malayalam describes the sounds/smells/sights of a life in Kerala that has now been lost forever to the passage of time. Go read it!

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On (the Lack of) Regional History in School Curriculum

Posted by G. on September 15, 2009

The Hindu recently carried an article on Maddy’s (of Historical Alleys) work, specifically his posts on the Malabar connection in the Geniza Papers. It is heartening to see a main stream newspaper carrying/recognizing valuable work done by a blogger, on a niche subject that has unfortunately garnered so little attention from the common populace of Malabar – local history.

We have a generation growing up today who knows of Tantia Tope and Nana Sahib but has no knowledge of Edachena Kungan and his association with the Pazhassi Raja. Who knows about the American Civil War but has no clue on what the Maamaankam was. Who has watched Mulan but do not know the story of Mathileri Kanni. And who thinks Perunthachan was a movie starring Thilakan.

We are proud of India’s diversity in culture and customs; unfortunately, the same diversity gets short shrift in the syllabi of our centralized schooling systems (whether they are at the national or state level). If education is supposed to make you a complete person, then we have to admit that our system fails in explaining the historical aspects of one’s ties to one’s immediate society.

Granted it is an impossible task to even attempt to cover all the local legends and histories under a common official syllabus. But this knowledge gap, it should be noted, was filled by grandparents and old naattukaar for the previous generation. I learned the stories of the Vadakkan Paattukal from my Achamma, not through any Navodaya movie. With urbanization and extinction of the joint family system, this is a scenario that is not feasible anymore. And so we are left with the choice of either creating an alternative arrangement for the preservation and transfer of our local history/culture/customs/legends, or face the possibility that a significant chunk of knowledge would be lost forever with the passing of a generation over the next few decades.

A solution, I would think, would be to mandate a special Regional History class (in addition to the existing lessons) for, say, the VII and VIII standards in every school, to be comprised purely of the regional histories and legends of the land…

But while we wait for such a move from the Government, there are always the few blogs that have started documenting little known aspects of our history and heritage for us.

Kudos to Maddy.

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