Monday, September 14, 2015

At Raj Nivas, Thalavoor.

Raj Nivas was thrumming with life as usual. It's a leisurely morning. Lekha'd gone to the temple in the morning, after a long wait for the auto rickshaw! Mom and me were at home and we continuously engaged ourselves with the stream of visitors into our house. It's not difficult to realise that the house under lock and key is something that the people are unhappy about! We assured them that we'd come more often and spend time out here - perhaps for about 10 days, every month.

And today was the great day!

70 years back, on this day, the Travancore Library Association(Thiruvithaamkoor Grandhasala Sangham) was formally inaugurated by Sir CP Ramaswamy Aiyer, the then Diwan of Travancore, at a glittering and well attended function at Ambalapuzha. The kingdom of Travancore extended from Kanyakumari, in the south, to N Paravur, in the north - though I must hasten to add that it did not encompass the entire area between the places mentioned as the kingdom of Kochi existed as a separate entity, centred around the present day Thrippunithura, in between. 

The chief organiser was the 36 year old, primary school teacher, PN Panicker. There were about 150 libraries - many functional, a few irregularly functional and yet others, non functional - in the kingdom of Travancore, those days. Invitation letters were sent to all but only 47 were represented at the meeting. The venue was the Sahitya Panchaanan Theater near the PK Memorial Library.

The following were achieved at the meeting:-

    (a) Official registration of the Travancore Library Association. The organisation formed had
          the undermentioned as its executive committee:-
              (i) KM Kesavan                               President.
             (ii) PN Panicker                               General Secretary.
            (iii) Vaayansaala Kesava Pillai        Treasurer.

           The working committee had 11 other members. 
     (b) A group of six were to co-ordinate with the government regarding assistance, both                            administrative and financial.

Accordingly, around 1730h, the leaders of the local 'Sanmaarga Sandayani Library' - the library started by my paternal grandfather, NK Panicker - had arrived at our place so that we could plant two saplings, that of a mango and a jackfruit, in memory of NK Panicker and PN Panicker. This was followed by the lighting of 70 lamps at the entrance of the library to commemorate the event!


(a) Back into history, the Diwan before getting into his car on return, shook hands with PN Panicker and told him to shift to Thiruvananthapuram to continue with his work and the latter accepted the invitation. The rest is history!

(b) For me it was a great honour to inaugurate the event and come to think of it, I was too small a person to be doing so!

As children, men, women and elders - Kamalamma chechi, all of 79 yrs, was the eldest in the gathering -  lit their lamps from the lamp that I'd lit I realised that I was basking in my grandfather's glory. An accident of birth, remember!?


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