Professor recovers Ezhuthachan's monumental work

The treatise at Gundert archives in Germany contains notes on society

Malappuram: A rare book believed to be written by Thunchath Ezhuthachan that sheds light on the society formation and evolution of castes in Kerala was in a German university’s treasure trove of rare Malayalam works. Dr M. Sreenathan of Malayalam University found the book named Kerala Nadakam during his academic visit to the Herman Gundert archives of Tubingen University in Germany last month.

“The 50-page book contains rarest notes on social formation in the early ages and some facts about the evolution of castes. The book is a transcribed version handwritten by Gundert. The author’s name on the book is written as Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, and this work has not been found in any archives in Kerala so far,” says Dr Sreenathan. The academic and historical relevance of the work will be contemplated by the Malayalam University to republish in Kerala.

“Research is needed to assert and authenticate the origin of the work. Because, according to the history of the language, Ezhuthachan has not written anything other than poetry,” he said. A consultation meeting has been planned at the University next month to discuss the academic relevance of the book, and prominent historians and academician will join the discussion. German Indologist Dr Heike Oberlin will also be present at the meeting, Dr Sreenath said.

Many other books have also been found in the archives of the German university. One of them was Nalacharitham Manipravalam written by K.K. Mannan. “This is a work which is entirely blacked out from our history. It was printed in 1875 in Thalassery. Research regarding this work may shed new lights on the Dalit discourses,” he said. Besides these, the Gundert archives in Tubingen has around 200 other works published between 1839 and 1850.

The Malayalam University has access to this treasure through the Tubingen’s Gundert Chair for Malayalam studies, a joint venture between the two universities. An agreement between the two will soon be signed for the rights of the republication of early Malayalam works in the possession of the Tubingen University.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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