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`Academic writing not given due importance'

Staff Reporter

Keraleeyan award presented to Velayudhan Panikkassery


Thrissur: Academic research and writing are not getting as much importance as literature in Kerala, writer Sukumar Azhikode said.

Addressing a meeting here on Sunday to present the first Keraleeyan Award, instituted by the V.S. Keraleeyan Foundation, to historian Velayudhan Panikkassery, Prof. Azhikode said areas such as historical research and writing developed in Kerala only because of the singular efforts of a few historians.

"Most of these historians have not been supported by any university or research institution. Mr. Panikkassery is an important writer of the lot. Using rural libraries and meagre resources, Mr. Panikkassery built up his research and eclipsed even noted academics. But for Mr. Panikkassery, Malayali students would not have heard of Ibn Batuta or Marco Polo," Prof. Azhikode said.

Proper understanding of history and human values was essential for any community, he said.

Prof. Azhikode criticised the reported statement by Forest Minister A. Sujanapal that he could not be a Gandhian in deed. "This remark is out of tune with the State's best traditions," Prof. Azhikode said.

Abdu Samad Samadani, MP, said that history was a weapon in the hands of divisive forces.

"Knowledge of history should unite people. Why are we averse to highlighting some of the historical truths that spread the message of brotherhood? For instance, do we discuss the statement by the author of the Tulsidas Ramayan that the epic could have been written even in a Masjid? Society needs to be reminded of such truths," Mr. Samadani said.

Among those present on the occasion were T.N. Prathapan, MLA, K.K. Rahulan, executive member, Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Attakkoya Pallikkandi, general secretary, Keraleeyan Foundation, Sharjah, and Ashokan Cheruvil, writer.

One of the senior historians in the State, Mr. Panikkassery has authored about 30 books, including 'Sancharikal Kanda Keralam', 'Portughese Dutch Adhipatyam Keralathil', 'Kerala Charithra Patanangal', 'Ibn Batuta Kanda India', 'Marco Polo Indiayil', 'Kerala Perumakkanmarude Kalathu', 'Cleopatra Malayali Pennanu' and 'Keralam Arunnooru Kollam Munpu'.

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