Deccan Chronicle

Brennen College to start chair in name of Potheri Kunjambu

Deccan Chronicle| Amiya Meethal

Published on: October 15, 2017 | Updated on: October 15, 2017

Malayalam litterateur from affluent Thiyya family spent his wealth and assets for welfare of lower caste, Dalits.

Potheri Kunjambu

Potheri Kunjambu

KOZHIKODE: The Government Brennen College at Thalasserry has started a chair for the forgotten hero of Malayalam literary world, Potheri Kunjambu (1857-1919)  who fought against caste oppression in the early eighties.  The inauguration of the chair under the Malayalam department will be held on October 20.  Mr Kunjambu rose to limelight through his novel, Saraswativijayam in 1892 which portrayed the life of an oppressed Dalit who scaled heights in life with the help of English education.  The novel begins with the attempted killing of a Pulayan for daring to sing in the vicinity of a proud Nambudiri landlord. "Kunjambu’s name was deliberately omitted from the literary world  then as he fought casteism fiercely. His novel resurfaced as a part of the post modern studies and connected research on the fictions of yesteryears," says Dr Santhosh Manichery, HoD, Malayalam department. 

Potheri Kunjambu and Saraswativijayam adorned a significant position in the Novel Pazhama compilation of fictions, published by Chinta Publications. Saraswativijayam was included in The blindness of insights collection of essays authored by Dilip M. Menon, a reader at University of Delhi. Mr Menon had also translated the novel to English. " "Kunjambu was born to an affluent Thiyya family in Kannur. He had spent his wealth and assets for the education and progress of the lower-caste and Dalit lot," explained Mr Manichery. 

Kunjambu had set up a school in Kannur for Pulaya tribal community and sent his wards to the school. He was ridiculously called as ‘Pulaya Kunjambu’ by the caste Hindus.  The commencement of the chair is a starter towards developing "Thalasserry studies", which envisions documenting the various contributions of Thalasserry to literature and to the other branches of life sciences.  Potheri Kunjambu chair has been set up on the 125th year of both the college as well as that of Saraswativijayam. 

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