All human beings are searchers. Each person go forward with their journey different things. Some search for truth. Some search for a creator or God. Some others knowledge. Others may search fore pleasure.Some persons look for wealth. Here may be many persons who search for love. Freedom,salvation,emancipation,etc. We can see persons like animals who search for their daily food. Everyone in immersed in the great ocean of the worldly life knowingly o unknowingly, without having enough time to think about anything, to look backwards or forwards. We are not even concerned with our death which a definite conclusion to all our dreams and calculations. We even think thaw we are immortal.
There are so many schools of thought on our life. Even each and every individual has his or her own philosophy on life, its events, aims and objectives, and means. Everyone may have certain ideas on death and on the
the things we have to reckon or taken into consideration on the life after death. Surely religions have a crucial role in forming our ideas, especially on the purpose of life. A philosophy says life is an experiment. To some others it is a training or exercise. Life is a some total of we have known or experienced. Whatever may be our ideas and concepts of life it must have a meaning and purpose. And it should be to strive for perfection, i.e. to make life the most useful thing for ourselves, our fellow-beings and the whole society. Life has no small or narrow limits. The real limit of human life is the sky. We must make the maximum time available at our disposal. It is our mind which decide everything including. So we must keep our mind positive and open. Such a mind can easily grow and contribute great thongs to make our lie a blissful experience.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
After passing M.A.Degree Examination from the University of Calicut in May 1982 in Second Class I thought of a career in research.In 1982,I happened to visit Dr.A.Ayyappan,eminent anthropologist and former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University.At that time he was Visiting Professor in the University of Kerala and residing nearby the Francis Road Junction.I was a frequent visitor to his house.When he learnt that I am a PG Degree holder in Sociology with Tribal Studies in India as optional subject,he asked me why can''t me pursue research studies on the tribals of Kerala taking one of the areas of investigation.I was a diploma holder in Naturopathy from an institute in Bombay and interested in public health he hinted that I must take health as the subject of study.Thus I decided to do research work on the health habits and health status of the tribals of Attapady.I studies similar studies conducted earlier from the available reference materials and prepared a programme of my study.Though health was the main aspect of the study ,I studied all aspects of the life of the tribals like their ethnic and cultural features,ancestors,history,geographical and environmental impacts,social and economic activities,communicative,recreational,artistic values related to their life,customs and practices,attitudes and approaches,problems and challenges,habits and life style,educational factors,development and the trends of modernisation and their impacts,etc.,etc. The aspects related to heath like their food habits,diseases,treatments,medical care,traditional methods of helthcare and management of chronic diseases,nutritional standards,infectious diseases,sexual factors and problms related to their life,family life,housing and sanitation,drinking water,etc were thoroughly examined.
The methods adopted for the study included collection of secondary as as well as primary data.Seondary data were collected from all available materials like government publicattions,directories,year books,manuels,studies conducted earlier,books and statistical materials published by various authors and publishers for the past several years,etc.Besides original primary data were collected by conducting field work.Questinnaire and interview schedule were prepared and data were collected by observations,Participant observation was one the methods adopted for the study as and when required.I visited the areas of tribla settlement several times and lived there mingling with them and understanding their problems.Whenever I had any doubts or queries I contacted Dr.Ayyappan and discussed with him on it deeply.I also contacted Dr.P.R.G.Mathur,then Dirctor of the KIRTADS (Keala Institute of Research,Training and Development of Scheduled Tribes),a government organisation situated at Chevayur,Calicut.I once appeared for the post of Research Officer in the Institute,but I was not absorbed.I requested the Kerala Government to provide me with the necessary financial assistance for the continuation of my work.Wrote letters on this to the Chief Minister and other concerned ministers.But the government informed me that there was no provision for financial assistance to independent research works apart from the fellowships given by universities and other such agencies.Anyway I went forward with my work.
The experiences and findings of my study put new light on the different aspects of health and development and also of human rights issues.While improvement in the indices of health and development in our country is noteworthy,the denial and denigration of basic human rights to some sections is a painful truth.While working as a researcher in tribal areas,I have experienced and witnessed this side of development.Our goverments (both central and state) have spending crores of rupees for development.but there are remote villages and sections of people who have yet to know what development is,if not what life itself is.It is found that health and development are dynamically interlinked.Even the WHO has argued that health and human rights are inextricably linked.Violation of human rights can have serious health consequences.That is why some experts have argue that we need to apply a human rights-based approach to healthcare.And it is undeniable fact that vulnerability to ill-health can be reduced by taking timely steps to protect basic human rights like the right to pure environment and oxygen,pure drinking water,uncontaminated food,decent and secure housing facilities,and above all freedom of life,communication and movement,and freedom from discrimination of all types.
Later I have worked as an independent researcher in various areas and fields for about 25 years.Among them the one I did in Calicut city was worth Mentionable.For six years I worked as a research investigator on the topic 'The Changing Socio-political Processes and the Youth in Indian Cities : A Study with special reference to the city of Kozhikode(Calicut).Most time spent as part of this study was for field observation.I would come to the city on alternative days in morning and spent about two hours mingling with the youth.Most of them would not recognise me or aware of that I am observing them.I would be with them wherever they were lke the bus stand,the premises of educational institutions,libraries,public halls,cinema theatres,restaurants,etc.The study also investigated into their psychological and behavioural processes since they have related to their interpersonal relationships and activities.I had many strange experiences.Once I could see a very haandsome college student having intimate physical relationship with his beautiful girlfriend,who is also a student.I could see this while I was walking through the veranda of one the colleges.When I noticed that cigarette-smoke was coming out through the half-shut window of one of the rooms of which the doors were closed.I looked though the window and I could see both of them were smoking and lying naked on a make-shift bed by placing two benches together.When I looked they were in hot action which I cannot put in words..Another incident I witnessed was in a cinema theatre where .I could see two handsome college boys masturbating mutually while watching one of the sizzling shots.I refer to such incidents just to admit that the youth have a different view on sex and lovemaking.They want to have thrilling experiences and believe that this life is worth living.And also believe that life is for enjoyment and not a waiting-shed
for a life to come.I have such experiences as part of research and
After leaving the University,I joined as a lecturer in the Chinmaya Mission College,Calicut.College teachers were called Lecturers.Though it was a parallel college,not approved by the government,teachers there also called lecturers.The lecturers were expected to lecture on the topics included in the syllabus,not to coach the students so as to make their appear for the examinations.Students as well as parents expect from a college(especially from a parallel college)that the students are equipped witn the necessary skills for getting them a professional qualification and/or a secure job.None cares for the acqisition of sfficient knowledge and expeiemce to improve and develop their personality and become good and useful citizens.
In the college I took classes(or lectured) for the B.A.Degree classes.Though I have taken tuitions for students preparing for SSLC and Pre-Degree Examinations ealier for a few students,it was for the first time in my life I am stading before a class of matured final year degree students of the strength of 50.The paper I had to deal with was public finance.The topic was taxation.I had done sufficient home work and well-prepared with summary notes just to glance through while lecturing besides the detailed notes to be dictated to the class.
I started early from my house.I wore a dhoti and shirt.I had with me a plasic cover containing my notebook and a pair of my newly-stitched pants.My brother has asked me to put on the pants while starting from the house itself.But I was very reluctant to do so.I have never worn pants and none in my area has seen me in pants then.So I took it in a cover and would change it at a mosque nearby the college before stepping into the college..In those days there were no buses to our village and I usually walk up to the 6th mile busstop near Velliparamba.There were buses every five minutes coming from Mavoor.In those days Mavoor was a thriving industrial centre with the establishment of the Gwalior Rayons unit by Birla.So I need not wait and waste toomuch time for getting bus.However there were no seats available upto the Medical College bus stop.The jampacked bus would be almost empty when the passenges climb domn there.Most of them would be patients or persons coming to see their relatives and neighbours admitted there as inpatients.I would climb down from the bus at the Mananchira bus stop in the heart of the city and walk to Moonnalingal where the college was situated.It was just half-a-kilometre away from the beach.There was the French Bakery and Restaurant nearby our college.The other major buildings in that area were the Calicut Corporation office and a Fire Station.The Calicut studios of All India Radio was only half-a-kilometre distance from our college.Incidentlly,the principal of our college was the wife of the Station Engineer of AIR.There were about a thousand students in our college and 25 staff members.
I remember my first attempt as a lecturer.After the bell rang the Principal sent for me.She asked me to the final B.A.Economics class.The peon showed me the class.When I entered the class,the whole class, half of which were girls stood up and greeted me.After reciprocating I asked them to take their seats.Instead of any introductory pleasantries,I straight away went to the lesson.Usually some teachers ask the students to introduce themselves in their first class and itroduce himself thus:'I am so and so.My native place is so and so.I am going to teach you.the so and so subject,etc.'.It was a suprise for the class to have such a beginning.First of all I just reviewed the syllabus covered so far.Then dealt in detals with necessary suitable illustrations from day-to-day life.The students were much impressed by my class.Even I did not think that I could perform that well. So in the first class itself students could form a positive opinion of me and and my class.All the students and fellow-teachers endeared me .I became very popular within a week.I was very regular,prompt,punctual,systematic and devoted as a teacher.I went to the class well-prepared.So I had never to waver or stand without doing justice to my duty.I never remember any instance when a student question me or want further explanation.Though English was the medium of instruction,I would explain the relevant matter if any in Malayalam also.I was never strict in the class.Not to mention,I was friendly and brotherly to all students outside the class.I continued there for one academic year withut break.There were many extracurricular activies and functons in which I was an attendant.At the annual send-off function I spoke for a few minutes following repeated demands frm the students.And next year I could not continue since I was in Trichur.
After a gap five years I became teacher in a residential high school at Alathur in Palakkad district.There I was a resident tutor attached to the hostel also.The students were small when compared to the college classes.There I took classes from fifth standard to tenth standard.There I remained only for three years. There I served as an examiner also.As it was a private unaided school there were some professional limitations .After the teaching job I came back Calicut where I joined a College where I took classesfor post-graduate classes,the subject being Sociology.I also took classes for M.A.Economics also The particular paper I dealt in was Economic Thought.I also took Sociology for degree students and Managerial Economics for B.Com students besides Politics and History for degree students.Have also taught languages like English,Hindi,French besides my mother tongue Malayalam at various levels.While working as Director of an Employment Guidance Centre at Malappuram I have taken classes in Ceneral Studies and allied subjects to the youth preparing for competitive examinatioons.
Teaching was one of the interesting professions I was engaged in.While doing other activies like research work,social work,helthcare work,etc I have been engaged in teaching on temporary basis.For sometime I ran a tuition centre of my own.But due to preoccupations like field work I was compelled to abandon it.It oe of my greatest pleasure to be a teacher who impart knowledge and wisdom to fellow-beings,young or old,men or women.
I joined the University of Calicut as an office assistant in 1he first month of 1978.I reported for duty before the Controller of Examinations.I was posted in Ex.III Section.My dutties were to maintain some confidential files relating to question paprer setting,valuation of answer papers and conduct of examinaions.I had to pass the D.A.and T.A.bills of the concerned teachers.I took sometime to familiarise with the new environment,arrangements,procedures,files,etc.Prof.I.G.Menon was the controller of examinations at that time and Chandappillai was the Dy.Registrar in charge of our section.I worked there for 32 days.The Vice-Chancellor granted me leave without allowance for 40 days from March 1st.After my examination I reported for duty on May 25th on the expiry of my extended leave.I was posted in Ex.XI Section.I was in charge of tabulation of the marks of the Pre-Degree Examination.of two colleges - P.M.G.College,Chalakkudy and St.Alosyous College ,Elthuruth.One Mr.Chellappan Nair was the section officer.After one year,on19-3-79 I was transferred to Ex.XV Srction.As per the new work distribution,my duties were general correspondence related to all Pre-Degree branches and other general items of works which were not specifically allotted to anyone.On 10-5-79 I was transferred to VI Section with the duty of Afzal-ul-Ulama Examinations.As per a special memo issued on 15-11-79,Ms.Susan Chacko (who later became Dy.Registrar and Secretary to the VC )of Ex.XXV Section and I were mutually transferred.I availed leave without allowance from 15-7-80 to 12-10-80.which was extended to 30-11-80 on medical grounds.That was the service record at the University. I was in the University service only for two years.But it was eventful and marked by new contacts,new experiences,new experiments on life,more opportunities for reading good and rare books and the porsuit of free research and intellectual development. Many VCs and PVCs came and went .Prof.M.M.Ghani has already left and Dr.N.A.Noor Muhammed had assumed charge,but he also left after sometime.Prof.N.Purushothaman and Prof.Sukumar Azhikode were the Acting VCs for a short duration.Prof.K.A.Jaleel came.Prof.T.K.Koshy and Prof.I.G.Menon were the registrars while I was there.Some important officers co-workers with whom I worked were M.Abdul Azeez,V.Radhakrishnan,M.P.Thomas,Paul, A.Rajagopalan Achary, R.S.Panicker,Balagopalan Nedungadi,T.Bhaskaran,C.T.Bhaskahan,K.K.Rajan,K.Ahammed Kutty,Hafis Sarvar,Sreedharan Pappanoor,Charu,Koyakkutty,Syed Kamal,Sethumadhavan,K.J.John,P.O.Zacharia,P.C.Abdulla,K.N.Gopalan,K.P.Muhammed Kutty,Sreekumary, Zuhara,Vanaja and Sadananda Menon.
While working at the University, I stayed at my elder brother's house at Tirurangadi with his family.The University which is at Tenhipalam,is only about 10 kms from there whereas it is 36 kms.from our house and it was more convenient for me to come from there I took the noon meal from a hotel(better say, the only hotel available there at that time)which affected my digestive system adversly and I became a chronic patient suffering from stomach cmplaints.I could not concentrate on my official duty or anything.I strongly felt the meaninglessness of continuing there.I wanted a revolutionary change in my life to help safeguard it and make it more useful and fruitful.I virtually stood at a turning point in my life.Different kinds of confusing and perplexing thoughts have occupied my mind from my childhood itself making my life active and vibrant.
I have to take some bitter decisions in my life,decisions that made me lonely,decisions that made me devoid of worldly comforts and pleasures,decisions that made me unpopular,decisions that made my life difficult,decisions that made me in the bad books of the society,decisions that invited the displeasure and wrath of my family members,decisions that made my future uncertain and insecure,decisions that made me a stranger in the society,decisions that made me a sickman and sorry figure among my fellowbeings,decisions that made me unrecognised and unrewarded,decisions that me unwanted and useless in the eyes of others,and above decisions that made me totally devoid any promising achievement here or hereafter.Anyway I cannot but take such decisions without considering their impact or pros and cons.
Thus I left the University for the time being(or for ever).There was no alternative for me.I was virtually standing at a crossroad in life,but without no serious thoughts of the future.I was subject to strong criticisms from within and without my family.Many accuse that I am taking such decisions out of madness or false pride.Another attitude towards me was that I am not interested in making money without noboody can lead a life worth living.There were people who said that I am Utopian and lives in an imaginary world far away from the real world.Thus everybody began to look towards me and conside me as a person who must be shunned and kept away from.
I still remember the first day I set foot at the college campus with my father.When my name was called,I stepped into the office room of the Principal,Rev.Fr.Columbus.There was Rev. Fr. Joseph Paikada also who was my history lecturer(he became Principal a few years later).The Principal looed into my face for a while and to the papers in front of him on the table for a while and said: 'Study well.Never lose your career joining in bad companies'.I lived upto his valuable advice not only at the college,but wherever I have been.I could go through the college magazines from 1957 as two of my elder brothers were students of the college..
I spent five years at the St.Josephs.I attended the classes of teachers of all the departments of the colege.It was indeed a rare record for a student.In the Pre-Dgree class my optional subjects were history,economics and civics.We have also to study general science as a subject for which teachers from the physics,chemistry,boany and zoology departments took classes.Besides we had English and another optional language.I first opt for Hindi and sat for a few days and then changed to Malayalam.For my B,A.Degree course my main subject was Economcs for which we had a paper on statistics which was takeen by a lecturer from the mathematics department.Thus I could come in contact wth the teachers of all the departments in the college.There was a good library in the college from where I could borrow and read hundreds of books on various subjects During interval and free hours I would spend my time in the library readings periodicals and reference books.It was from here I went through the volumes of the prestigious Encyclopaedia Britannica and the complete works of Shakespeare.Though I never took part in any sports or games items,I would sit on the side-steps of the vast ground at the college and watch the matches and meets going on there.The college ground was a mini sports village having this or that items going on there everytime.Before starting the regular classes we had a bridge intensive course in English.It helped us to improve our English language.Expert teachers took classes on the different aspects of the English language like structure,usage,,comprehension,composition,grammar and communication.There were 80 students in our class.Some of them were day-scholars like me,some others were from distant places staying in the college hostels.There were four hostels in the college campus.At that time only boys were admilled to the college.Though there were students belonging to different socio-econonic strata,we were like a family sinking all differences of communities and religions.We kept a healthy cmpetition among ourselves for excellence in studies and extra-curricular activities.The seating arrangement in the class was so that two students share each desk and bench.I shared my seat with one Balasubramanian from Wyanad.He was a fair,smart boy from a noble family.He was nice,generous and helpful.Students said of him that he would never bite even if a person puts his hand in his mouth.I was happy to be with him for two years.He would lend money If I was in need and sometimes never wanted to return it.
There were many functions held in the college in which I would regularly attend.Many dignitaries and well-known persons from different walks of life would take part in them. It was here I first saw and heared the political leader K.Karunakaran,orator Sukumar Azheekode,jurist V.R.Krishna Iyer,eductionalist Dr. A.N.P.Ummerkutty,singer Yesudas,spiritual leader Swami Chinmayananda,poet G.Sankara Kurup,Geeral K.M.Kariappa,etc.
As a student I was seriously interested in time managment.The limited but precious time at our disposal must be utilised most appropriately.I had prepared a home time table for myself which I followed strictly.Time management is one of the important factors for success in life.We must find time As I have already mentioned,I was a voracious reader of al kinds of books in different languages.I am specially interested in reading biographies and autobiographies of great personalities.I read not only the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi,but his numerous biographies written by many persons,books by Jawaharlal Nehru including his 'Autobiography' and many other Indian authors including Tagore I also went through great religious books of all times,the Bhagavad Gita,the Bible and the Quran.I could the book,'India Wins Freedm' by Moulana Abul Kalam Azad,'The History of Indian National Congress' and books by Dr. Rajendra Prasad,C.Rajagopalachari, Dr.S.Radhakrishnan and Sri Aurobindo.I read many Maiayalam books including Thakazhi,Dev,Basheer,Pottekkatte,K,P.Kesava Menon and others.
It was at this time I became interested in national and international events and affairs.I also interested in Indian and foreign languages.The first Indian language I studied thus was Tamil and foreign language was French.I have already learnt Malayalam,English and Hindi from the school and Arabic from the Madrasa.But my communicative ability is not so good.I was not a good speaker.To be frank,I am reluctant to appear on the stage and address the audience.But as a contradiction in terms,he title given to me by my classmates was 'V.K.Krishna Menon' after the eminent statesman,diplomat and orator(a close associate of Jawaharlal Nehru and the Defence Minister of India during one of the crucial years in the history of independent India).There was nothing common between us except both of us belonged to Calicut by birth.I still wonder what prompted my co-students to call me so.It may be the fact that both were freedom-loving and wanted to be independent.During his last years Krishna Menon detached himself from all political parties.I stood at the college campus without joining any student organisation or working for any candidate at the time of the college elections though there were pressures on me as I am one of the ideal students liked by one and all.
My dress during my college days was dhoti-and-shirt.I did not wear any footwear.I had cropped my hair,but no moustache.My food habit was also simple.Though I was not a pure vegetarian at that time,I preferred vegetatian foods,At the same time I would take whatever is available at home without revealing my likes and dislikes.The financial position of our family was not so good and it was very difficult for my father to met the both ends meet.He had already retired and was getting a small income as pension.My three elder brothers were employed.But they had their expences.However they were regularly giving their 'contribution' to father by which he met the various expences of the house.Father would give me 50 paise or Rs.1 /- daily for midday meal.I would take tea and something which would be cheap.
One of the notable yearly events of the college was the college union election.There were two(sometimes more) contentants for the different posts for which elections wre taken place.There would be a 'notice war' between the rivals.If an organisation distributes a notice,the next day the other one would come the next day with a notice which would impress the voters and so on till the time of election.Elegant speakers,writers and organisers were there when I was studying there.The College day was organised at a grand scale in 1973.General K.M.Kariappa,the first Commamder-in-Chief of Independent India,was Chief guest.It was a thrilling experience to see and listen to him.The General shared with us for an hour his experiences,thoughts,vision and outlook on many things briefly.He was a true embodiment of patriotism,duty,fitness and all such qualities and values.
In 1973,I passed the Pre-Degree Examination conducted by the University of Calicut.I was one of the first to get admission to the B.A.Degree class in the St.Joseph's College itself.There were 50 students in our batch.The head of the humanities department was Prof.Sebastian P.Joseph.He took Political Science.He has thorough and deep knowledge of his subject.His method of conducting class was also unique.He would explain the topic in simple English and Malayalam if necessary so that even the below average student can understand it.He would take appropriate instances and examples from from the contemporary world and everyday life to explain his points.The class would become interesting so that we never knew the passage of time.Sometimes,he would ask questions to students to stuudents who were not attending the class and scold them if they could not answer.He never asked any questions to me since he knew that I was a keen attender of the class and could answer his questions.Political Science was the most interesting subject to me.I was the student who got the highest marks in the examinations also.In Prof.Sebastian's class we had enough scope to laugh also.He was the teacher in charge of the National Cadet Corps(NCC) at the college.He influenced the students much and hold in high esteem.
The other teachers who took classes for me were Prof.Jimmy Andrews,Dr.P.K.Jose.Rev.Fr.Joseph Paikada(all history teachers),Prof.Joseph,Devssia(economics),Prof.Devassia Thakadiyel,K.V.Easwara.Variyar,M.T.Varghese,Job Kattoor(all Malayalam),Prof.V.A..Kesavan.Namboodiri,Alexander Zacharias,Venugopalakrishnan(Hindi)Prof.Moochikkal Padmanabhan(French),Prof.C.A.Sheppard,P.K.G.Vijayaram,R.Viswanathan,Unnikrishnan,T.K.Mani,M.T.Emmanuel,Terrrence Jacob,Rev.Fr.Ivans,P.Jayendran,Balakrishnan,Haridas,P.P.John,Joseph,(all English teachers)Prof.K.T.Vijayamadhavan(zoology),Mathew Thamarakkad(botany),P.P.Skaria(Chemistry)and P.Ahammed(physics).Amohg my classmates were Mr.Nandagopal(who was with me for the post-graduation and who later became lecturer in economics at this college itself),Mr.Krishnadas(who became a bank fficer)and three friends from my native place(Moideen,Balan and Devadasan).There were many others whose names I do not remember exactly.
While studying in the degree class itself I began job-hunting.I appeared for the written tesr of the Railway Service Commission for the post of station master and called for interview in Madras which I could not go due to the financial constraints of the family.I often think that if Igt the job in the Railways,my life and my world would have been entirely different.(and perhaps I would never have written this autobiography ).I also applied for some obs of the Kerala Public Service Commission which would take years to get selected.And one such appointment in Panchayat Dept got while I was a PG student.
The declaration of the emergency by the President in 1975 was one of the crucial events taken place while I was a degree student.It affected every aspects of our life and even the mindsets adversely.As a student of Politics and the Indian constitution,I watched the scenario with deep interest.I could not support any move to curtail the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual.The public protest against the emergency under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan was strong.Though I did not take part in the movement as some of my friends did,I was sympathetic to the movement for restoration of the democratic rights and freedom of expression.
When I passed the B.A.Degree Examination in 1976,the principal enquired about my future programme and suggested that I must better pursue my post-graduate studies in one of the best colleges in the State.At that time there were no post-graduate courses in humanities in the Devagiri College.There was only posrGraduate course in English Literature.Prof.Sebastian asked me to join the PG course in Political Science rather than Economics.The elder members of my family were of the opinion that I should join a college to our house.Devagiri College and Guruvayurappan College were the colleges at walkable diistances from our house..And I got the interview card from the Guruvayurappan College. I went with father and was admitted there.The college was situated at Pokkunnu,far away from a walkable distance of four kilometres.There were 20 students in our batch .Most of them were from different places and stayed at the hostel. Prof.C.Narayanan,eminent economist was the Principal. There were other teachers like Prof. P.K.M. Raja, Prof. P. K. Sarat Kumar,Prof.K.P.Radhamadhava.Menon, Prof.B.K.Abdul Azeez and Prof.P.C.Krishnavarma Raja.Prof T.Sobheendran was also there, but he did not take class for us.Both P.K.M.Raja and P.C.Krishnavarma Raja served as Principal, Our senior batch included persons well-known in various fields like P.M.Suresh Babu,Prof.P.T.Abdul Latheef,Palazhi Premraj and Koyakkutty.My classmates included E.K.Nandagopal,K.V.Pavithran,V.V.Gopinath,Sundaran,C Madhavan,and P.V.Suvarnani (who became lecturer in the college itself),C.E.Sarammabi(from Lakshadweep),My juniors included T. P.Kunhikkannan,K.V.Kunhiraman,N.Mohanadasan and N.P.Hafis Muhammed.Among the teachers the names of Prof.David(statistics)Prof.K.K.Narayanan,Viswanathan Unni(English),Prof.P.C.Ettanunni Raja,V.P.Govindan Namboodiri,Unnikrishnan Chelembra(Malayalam),Prof.I.G.Bhaskara Panicker(maths),Prof.Shiyalikoya(sociology)Prof.Kunhayamu may be made.
There were three papers for the previous and five papers for the final,altogether eight papers.The optional papers were History of Economic Thought,Economics of Developmemt,Agricultural Economics.There were the other papers which were compulsory,viz,price theory,monetary economics,public finance ,planning and statistics.We had to prepare and submit written asignments on select topic as part of the internal assessment.There were seminars and lectures in whch eminent persons participated.A special seminar to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the 'Wealth of Nations'by Adam Smith was held. Prof.Mathew Kurien,economist and member of Parliament,Prof.M.A.Oommen(Kerala University)Dr.Raman(Madras University)and many professors from many universities and colleges.I was a also a participant ,but never presented papers.I often felt ashamed of my reservations.Even at the PG level I was not at all well-developed and matured person.My own critical evaluation of myself was of a sensitive,self-conscious person reluctant to mingle with others or take up any responsiblity due to my commitment to my conscience.I was a distant-looking dreamer who preferred loneliness and freedom.Whatever may be my socio-economic background and pesonality traits,I have a mind that of a deep and vast ocean.I have been considered a book-worm by others.No doubt,I am a collector and reader of books,At college I would simply spend my time reading while my fellow-students taking their meals.Sometimes I would in the transcendent shades the green leaves breathing fresh air and looking at the fitful waves of the Arabian Sea visible at the far end or the green valley full of coconut trees beneath the endless blue sky.Blessed by a blissful environment graced by the golden presence and melodious songs of delicate and colouful birds,I felt that the beauy of the land met at the college campus at Pokkunnu. I am interested in doing something for the good of the society.It was my real state of affairs.Even during my studies I found time for serving the poor,the sick,the weak and the down-trodden.
The two years I spent at the Guruvayurappan College were crucial as far as my intekkectual development was concerned.Though I never became a full time economist or an ideal teacher,it was here my level of consciousness found its true stream of course to destination.My college life was evenful and resourceful,but silent and serene,I never have been in the centre-stage,but once I was nominated as a candidate for the post of the University Union Councillor by agroup,but I declined.the offer.As far as my acadenic performance are concerned,I got university merit scholarship and state merit scholarship
Once I met with an accident when going to the college by walking via the Palazhi route.It was a rainy morning.I fell down while climbing up the hillside-way to college campus - a shortcut.Before exactly knowing what was happening I reached the foothill miraculously without any major injury,rolling and rolling.When my co-climbers were in a fix on what to do I simply rose up and wiped the mud and dirt from the body and went and sat the class as usual as if nothimg happened,ignoring the minor injuries,bleeding and pain.Some co-students cast their sympathetic eyes on me smelling something happened since I was a little bit late.and in a hurry but not so steady as usual.But before nobody could ask anything .the Professor came into the class.I never told of the incident as characteristic of me.There were some teachers and co-students who understood me very well and were very close to me.The late Prof P.K.M.Raja was one such teacher.He was a noble and magnanimous person true to the best royal traditions in all respects.He has a deep and thorough knowledge in many subjects besides a good command in English.His personal qualities are also equally praiseworthy.It was custmary for the PG students to spend some time during the noon interval in his office room listening to him while he was head of the department.One day when he learnt that I never tookany midday-meals,he willingly shared his meals with me ! After retirement ,he worked as the President of he Gandhi Peace Foundation,Calicut.
As a student of economics I was a success.I went through several books and journals published from India and abroad ,available in the college library.I also read many books on Indian and western philosophy including 'Das Capital' by Karl Marx.Though I was not a Marxist I had studied Marxism,its plus and minus points.We had written examination and viva voce for the first and second years separately.I attended them promptly and regularly despite the advese factors from various quarters. But the second year was interrupted by getting an appointment in the University of Calicut.I joined the university and took leave.I had to carry forward two things at the same time: one completion of my course,two,maintanence my job at the university.Besides I had my own personal interests and ambitions ,So there wree clashes of interests whch adversely affected my mind and body and of course my studies and performance at the examination.However.I could complete my course and pass the M.A.Degree examnation.
I was admitted to the Payyadimeethal Lower Primary School in the 1st standard when I completed five years.I went with my eldest brother on the first working of June.It was a rainy day.After the usual formalities the headmaster admitted me.The next day onwards I began to go to school.The school was situated under two banyan trees near the roadside.Hence the school was popularly known as Aalinchuvattil School as the Malayalam words for 'banyan' and under were 'aal' and 'chuvattil' respectively.During the intervals the students would sit under the banyan trees playing with stones or simply sitting watching others play.Sometimes the teachers themselves would take us to under those trees and tell us stories,
I was one of the noted students in my class,not because I am clever or smart,but because I am calm and quiet attending the class regularly and promptly.Let me recall an incident while I was in the second standard which show how timid and reserved I was.One morning the students and teachers found some nightsoil in the class near the teacher's table.Our classroom was in an open shed.People belonging to some nomadic tribes from Karnataka were in our village for works such as deepening ponds and trenching wells,etc.Some of them were in the habit of sleeping in the school building.It may be their residues which we found in the classroom.Everybody stood at the entrance of the class covering their noses by towels or hands.There was no sweeper in our school.The teacher was angry not because it was found in the classroom,but nobody tried to clean it or at least communicate the matter to the teachers at the earliest.I felt guilty as was the first student to come ro the classroom.Besides I was one of the comparatively 'bigger' boys in the class physically.So the teacher asked me to clean the class.I willingly come forward to obey him.If not I knew the cosequences. I have never done such works at our house or watched anybody doing such cleaning worksanywhere.I was of the impression that I need not know such things any time in life.And really I did not know how to start and what to do first.At that time students of the fourth standard came to the classroom What I did was to bring two buckets of water from the nearby well.But I keenly observed how the cleaning process took place.One of the valuable lessons I learnt at schoo was this.
Another incident took place when I was in the third standard.I usually reach a little bit earlier at school,coming straight away from the madrasa.One day when I reached the school I found nobody there.So I placed my bag in my class room and walked towards the urinal which was situated at the western side of the playground.When I was in the middle of the ground,a stone came from somewhere and struck on the back of my head forcefully.When I turned back and looked with excruciating pain I could see two persons, a man and a woman, running from the side of the school towards the road. After that incident I would wait a few minutes after the disposal of the madrasa classes so as to reach school along with ohers,
Still another unfortunate incident took place when I was in the fourth class.I fell down from a rock on the back of the school with some injuries making me absent from the class for a couple of weeks.It occurred on a friday noon when we had two hours' interval.I along with some of my classmates after comng back from home taking midday meals.That day we climbed up a rock situated at the backyard of the school.Almost all boys except two persons climbed it and down easiy.The other boy also braved the task,the only exception being me.So I felt somewhat ashamed of could not climbing it up.Hence I attempted it just before a few minutes before the bell to return to the classes.When I was on the rock,I heared the ringing of the bell.All boys ran to the classes.In my hurry to be down,I tried to jumb .But I fell down.There was nobody to hold me and help me rise up.I somehow managed to be up on the feet and splashed to my classroom.I could sit in my place before the arrival of the teacher.My left knee was bleeding.I tried to cover the wound with the cloth I wore.But it would not do to prevent bleeding.Blood was dripping in the floor.A major portion of my cloth became wet with blood.I sat in my seat without moving for about two hours.The teacher came and took class as usual.I was in the shade of a combination of shame and fear.When the long well rang all except me left the class.It became very difficult for me to walk a single step.Coming out I Simply stood near a shop at the roadside.After some time I could see my beloved father coming .I became shivering with fear.I did not feel the pain in my knee for the time being.My only thought was how to stand there without coming to the eyes of my father.On fridays my father had no work at his school and it was customary for him to go to the road in the afternoons on holidays.Now he was coming towards me.He stood in front of me without asking anything.His face was red with anger and pity.At the sametime a man with bicycle came here and took me on it to a doctor at Palazhi.The doctor dressed the wound and gave me an injection.I was all crying with pain and the awaiting 'treatment' from father and others at home.But when I was back home nobody,mother,sisters or workmates asked me anything.I had to confine to my mat for a few days.
The teachers who taught me at the L.P.School were Ramanunni Master,Raman Master,Narayanan Master,Kareem Master and Gopalakrishnan Master.All the teachers knew my father and they had special attention for me.I stood first in the class in quarterly and half-yearly examinations.I readily studied everything taken in the class daily and did the homeworks regularly.There were many boys who copied not only from my notebooks but from my examination answer-sheets and presented to the teachers as their own.Though this created some problems I never earned the displeasure of my mischievious classmates by divulging the truth to the teachers.As a students ,I had some inhibitions and limitations.I never asked anything to anyone or resorted to any kind of malpractices even though I got chances.I do agree that a student must ask the teachers and clear if he has any doubt.It was one of the drawbacks of my life.My father himself has advised me reminding repeatedly that 'ask and ask you can reach at the heaven'.I was very reluctant to tell anything I wanted as part of my studies.Once a teacher had to punish me by asking me to stand iin the class for the whole day for not bringing the transcription book continuously for four days.The true fact was that I had no transcription book with me.If I had one with me I would have promptly written and showed it.Then from the next day onwards I did not go school for two days.Finallly I expressed the matter to mother and brought before the father,got a new transcription book and went school only to face an angry teacher and laughng co-students.
Sometimes other students would try to fool me by taking my towel with which I cover my tonsured head and hiding it somewhere.I failed to find it out.I would run here and there in panic for sometime.Finally someone would take it out from my bag itself.I would wonder how it happened to be in the bag without my notice.
There would be celebrations of Independence Day,Children's Day and School Annual Day.Flag hoisting,cleaning,taking out processions,speeches by teachers would mark the Independence Day celebrations.On Children's Day,there would be sports competitions.School Day would be in the month of March before the closure for the summer vacations and would be in the evening attended by a chief guest.Speeches,prize distribution and variety entertainments like dance.drama,etc. would be there.
I began to read newspapers when I was in the fourth standard.The daily newspapers available in our village were Mathrubhoomi,Malayala Manorama and Deshabhimani.The historic events occurred while I was in the primary classes were the Indo- China war in 1962 and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy of U.S.A.in 1963..The death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ,the beloved first Prime Minister of India occurred on 27h May 1964.All the newspapers published bold headlnes with black borders and his large -size photographs. Profiles of Nehruji along with photographs showing important events in his life were also there.I felt a great loss in the death of Chachaji.Lal Bahadur Shasstri became the second Prime Minister of the country.His death after one and a half year was another sad event.
In 1965 I was admitted to the Puthurmadam U.P.School.It was in this school my father worked as a tacher.So in that school I got a special 'consideration' from the teachers as the son of their colleague.The school was situated at about two kilometres.I walked the distance morning and evening along with others.My experience there on the first day was not happy.I vomitted there ahd had to come back home without attending the cass.My class teacher in the fifth standard was the late C.K.Padmanabhan.He was not only a good teacher,but a person honestly interested in the affairs of the common people.He was a member of panchayat.He taught us English and Mathematics.He would recite and expain the poems of Changampuzha,the great romantic poet of Malayalam.It was from him I heared for the first time the lines of 'Ramanan','Vazhakkula' and 'Spandikkunna Asthimadam'.Our social studies teacher was K.E.Kunhahammedkutty was a close friend of my father.He has good general knowledge and family and social connections.Other teachers who taught me at Puthurmadam included Madhavan Nair(headmaster),Ahammed Master(class teacher of the seventh standard),Kuttan(class teacher of the sixth standard),Pillai,Vasudevan,Nambeesan,Chandran Master and Khader Master.There were two lady teachers,one for Hindi and the other for crafts.It was here I first appeared on the stage for the first time.participating in the monthly 'Sahityasamaiam'.The topic given to me was 'students and discipline'.All the students and teachers were assembled there.When my name was called I went to the stage and spoke two-three words and not getting anything more, stood there some seconds and came back to my seat.While standing on the stage I was shivering nervously.I forgot everything I learnt by heart by days of hard work.The things I said on the stage was not sensible and literally correct.Then I took a decision that never to appear on the stage,if it is such difficult.But later I had to change my decision and spoke on several stages for hours.
It was while studying here I became interested in reading books in Malayalam.I read some of the novels of Uroob,S.K.Pottekkatt,Vaikam Muhammed Basheer,Kesavadev,Mottathu Varkey,Takazhi and M.T.Vasudevan Nair.I also read some of the poems by Kumaran Asan,Vallathol and G.Sankara Kurup.I regularly went through the Mathrubhomi Weekly which my brother brought home for reading.Sometimes I read the Manorama weekly also in which I liked the cartoon story and the humour page.Besides I read all pieces of printed papers I got.At evenings mother would tell us several stories on animals and spirits.Though she never got any formal education she was well-informed and a voracious newsgatherer.
I began writing(better use the word 'scribbling')something on this or that in a smal ntebook made by foldng some sheet of white paper.Later I prepared a manuscript periodical(monthly) entitled 'Vidya' which contained news,articles,stories,poems,etc.A page of it was exclusivly for children.Though I am truly interested in acquiring knowledge I was not a best student of school as per the system of evaluation prevalent at that time. But I got high marks in some subjects.Once I have been beaten by my class teacher while studying in the seventh standard leaving the class without permission.The same teacher (Ahammed Master) later wrote in my English answer paper thus :"very good,I appreciate this paper very much".He was a good teacher and a strict disciplinarian.And it was a rare gesture of appreciation for a student.He was mainly responsible for my base in English. He also took Mathematics in which I am only an average student.The same Ahammed Master patted me on my head once when I visited him a few weeks before his death.He expressed that I will be proved correct by the world in due course when I narrated to him the story of my unique and unparallelled quest in life which none has done.
I had very few friends there.One of my closest friends was a Namboodiri boy who was very bright and handsome..He was the son of a college teacher.II could hear later that he died in a young age.There were some other friends with whom I went school and came back.Some of them were from some wealthy families of Kuttikkattoor.I had to quarrel with one of the walk-mates on the road for which I felt very sorry and ashamed.Though I never liked such incidents,I became involved in unavoidable circumstances.
At school,there were periods for physical training,crafts,work experience,drawing and music which I attended enthusiastically.We had mass drill at the in the P.T.period. besides football and volleyball.During music period,a Bhagavathar would impart training in Karnatic music with the help of a 'sruthippetti'(harmonium).In the craft class we would make something with coir or such materials.In the drawing class I drew pictures of animals like elephants,cow,etc.and flowers and other objects.On rainy days there would not be P.T. and we would remain in the class and the teacher would tell us interesting stories.In rainy season, the road through which I usually go to school would be under water and father would take me through another route
My daily regimen had to be adusted while studying at schools away from the village where our house was situated.I could not come for midday meal.It had to be taken from a hotel nearby the school.I would take tea and tapioca with fish curry.Sometimes there would be 'kanji'(boiled rice in water).After taking the noon meal,I would go to the nearby mosque for performing midday prayers.But I was not happy to take the ablution(the customary wash before the prayers)because into the small pond everybody would gargle and spit as part of the ablution.When the school would be closed for a month in connection wih the Ramadhan fasting I would be very happy The summer vacation for the Puthurmadam school was only for the month of May. While studying in the seventh standard I could not attend the class for about a month due to chicken pox.Besides I could not properly prepare and appear for the annual examination due to sore-eye.One notable event at our school was the annual inspection of the school by the AEO.Elaborate arrangements would be made by th manager,staff and students to make the inspection a success.The officer would assess the functioning of tne school and the quality of teaching.The teachers would do no stone unturned to see that everything was perfect.All the students would be asked to wear neat dresses as early as possible,the classrooms and the premises of the school made clean and tidy,the classrooms would be decorated by hanging charts ,maps,etcThe teachers would come well-prepared and well-equipped,at their best. Above all, a sumptuous feast would be arranged for the inspector at the manager's house.Thei inspector would come to the class and sit in the teacher's chair The teacher would stand.If the inspector asked any question to any student whch he could not readily answer,the teacher would give some clue(not orally,but by poibting to some chart hung on the wall.If the student failed to answer the question ,the inspector would look at the face of the teacher sternly.After the inspector had gone the teacher would scold the student who did not answer the question asked by the inspector .If there were surprise nspections instead of arranged ones,the quality of our schooling would improve much more.
One of the events which was celebrated at our school at a grand was the independence day.All students and teachers would reach the school in the morning.Small flags ands pins would be given to all students.There would be flag-hoisting,speeches,procession and sweet distribution.We would be really proud of our great mation and salute her with great patriotic fervour.I had been leader of one of the classes.But the real leader of the class would be a student detained in the class.He would be the de facto ruler of the class in the absence of the teacher.But the teacher would not recognise him and he would sit silent obeying the teacher.The student whom the teacher punished most would be him.
Poverty and diseaes were familiar to me from my childhood.Besides I had severe and complicated problems in family,and had only very limited freedom of movement,expression and ation.The marriage of my elder sister and that of my eldest brother took place while I was studying in primary classes.Father had major operation at the Medical College Hospital for piles.During my childhood,there was no latrine attached to my house.We went outside to answer the call of the nature.I was very relucant to do so.There may be persons coming and going through the places I usually use for it at day-times(at night no problem).There may be persons cutting grass for their cattles,women collecting wood-pieces and workmen.So on some days when I could not go out for that purpose(due to some reasons beyond me) would go school suppressing the natural urge.till I could be back home in the evening.It was a very difficult which cannot be expressed in words.On such days,I,could not concentrate on my studies,could not concentrate on anything.I had to do so for many years.Only after many years,I could learn that it was extremely harmful to health.Premature greyness and baldness are its visible consequences.It may adversey affect the functioning of the brain,the sense organs and glands.Later some developments took place in the house.The upstairs were modified,a latrine was constructed, the kitchen repaiired and an extension was also done.But we got electric supply only by 1971.Before it we have been listening to the radio programmes with the help of a transister.We would use an ironbox putting burned coconut shells when we wanted to press our dresses,that too only on specal occasions like Id,marriages,shool day,etc.The electricity connection led to spectacular changes in the life of the people of our village.I went Calicut city twice while studying at Puthurmadam school ; once to appear for the Residential School Scholarship Examination and another time to appear for the Upper Primary Scholarship Examination.Both the times I became sick on reaching the city travelling in bus and a vomiting I cannot properly appear for the respective examinations.
I was very poor as far as my health was concerned..I was one of the permanent outpatients of the Medical College Hospital for many years.The hospital was only two kilometres away from our house.I would walk the distancce with some others.I had to make adjustments in accordance with with the changes occurring in the conditions,arrangements and conveniences of the elderlly members of the fanily and the events taking place in my house,neighbourhood,mosque,village or school.Sometimes I felt I was lonely and aloof even in the family or community.My father scolded me severely once when I became going to watch drama staged by a local arts club at Payyadithazham,a nearby village.The same was the response when I attended the anniversary function of our school.
During schooldays I would be back home by 5 pm.After taking the food items available at home,I would go to the roadside shop and stand there waiting for the father.I would bring to his notice the goods to be bought for that day.It was the practice of our house for years.There would be rush at the shop at that time.I would had to wait for an hour on some days.I would go through the newspaper available there if my father is not there.He would always be hot on me and my standing there for buying goods.At the same time if I was not present there he would be angry and it would finally result in a quarrel between father and mother with all its bad consiquences.An helpless mother had to wait without doing anything (not having any edible items,not even rice at home)until she got something.I had to waste my precious time simply waiting at the roadside for father.My could not manage to buy anything because she had no source of income.She would sell one or two coconuts and buy some essential goods like sugar,jaggery,sweet potato or tapioca powder.
After passing the seventh standard, I was admitted to the eighth standard at the Pantheerankave High School.The school is situated on a small hill in a beautiful and salubrious environment,three kilometres away from our house.Looking from there one could see the moving waves of the Arabian Sea at the far western horizon.The functioning of the school was different from the primary school.At the high school,the student wings of some political parties were there.Some of them requested me to attend their meetings.I did attend them,but never joined any organisation.Sometimes I happened to observe whatever transpires at such meetings held at Friday noon when the school had two hour interval in view of the Muslim weekly prayers.The meetings were attended by the leaders of the respective student organisations.I had many classmates who later became active political workers and leaders.Though I had chances to enter politics as the top leaders of our political system did through student organisations,I discarded them due to reasons : firstly,I found no such an exigency to enter active public works at that stage as in the case of the freedom struggle ,secondly none of my family members want me to enter politics at the time schooling.There was justification for our youngsters to leave schools and colleges and rally under the Indian National Congress for the achievement of independence.But after independence the case was entirely different and there is no meed of the students working on political lines whatever may be end-objective.They must study and understand everything on our political processes.Politics must be for some selfless ends.But nowadys politics has degraded to be another business to earn and save something and ensure a safe future for one's own people.
As a student I had the habit of maintaining a news diary as part of my studies.It really reflected the heart-beats of the nation and the society ifrom various perspectives.I began to keep a personal diary also from 1971 which is a solitary youngman's quest for justice and values in life. My teachers at Pantheerankave included the headmaster,P.K.Padmanabhan Nar,K.Sreedharan Nair,Unni Raghava Kurup,Prabhakara Kurup,Jayakaran,Manukkuttan,Choyikkutty,Sadanandan,Saraswathy,Menon, Moosad,Kunhanandan,Thampuran,Krishnan,Namboothiri,James,Narayanan,Velaydhan and Korappan .Among my classmates were persons of all sorts and working in various fields.They included P.T.Moosakoya(Professor ,Farook College)who was killed in a road accident,V.M.Gpalakishnan,teacher poet and science writer,Moosa Pantheerankave and M.Bhaskaran.labour officer.
I appeared for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination conducted by the Government of Kerala in March 1971.Pantheerankave School was not a centre.So we had to appear at the Govt.Ganapath High School,Calicut.I became sick on almost all days after a tedious journey in a jampacked bus.I was standing the whole way from Medical College junction to Palayam buss tand. and began vomiting after getting down from the bus.I could not write the examination properly.It adversely affected ny future career.That year one paper was cancelled and examination conducted later due to leakage of the question paper.The results were published in the last week of May.I passed the examination without the much expected first class.I was extremely sorry and ashamed at this.Anyhow the all-important examination which have far-reaching importance in one's life was over.It was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another eventful one in my life.