Thursday, November 22, 2012


The history of Payyanur can be divided broadly into two.-Before and after the establishment of Payyanur College. But for Payyanur College, several men holding important positions now should have been ended their life worthlessly. Payyanur College nurtured many intellectuals. Earlier it was the last word of all knowledge. Headed by the mighty Dr. K. V. Surendranath, the departments were the abode of veterans in all fields of knowledge- Johncy Jacob in Zoology, MRC in Malayalam, Kunhiraman Master in Hindi, Raman Namboodiri in English, Achuthan master in Chemistry, Narayanan master in Physics, Raghavan nambiar in maths,KHS in Sanskrit- which other college in kerala can boast of such an assembly of academicians?. With the limited facilities available , the college created magic turning everyone who studied there into men of virtue.
            I reached this abode of knowledge quite by chance. My parents decided to end my studies after SSLC as the fee to be paid for higher studies was exuberant   (The fee for PDC admission was somewhere around Rs. 300/- with  Rs. 15.50 as  monthly fees) I had started working in Gramodaya Khadi Sangham as a weaver at that time . I was busily weaving one day when the manager of the Sangam ,Sri. Ramachandran edichery , came to me. When enquired about my future plans I told him about my parent’s plans. He got  infuriated. “You should go to College!” he shouted on the top of his voice. He took a five rupee note from his pocket and asked me to go to the College at the very moment for buying the application form for admission. He assured me that he would make arrangements to meet the expenses for admission from my advance money at the Sangham. Thus it was he who changed my destiny. It was his kindness and insistence which paved an entirely new path to me.
Payyanur College at that time was a heaven. It was beautiful just like a painting. In the back ground of two green hills the College building stood majestically. The winding perumba river and ezhimala could be seen from the front yard. Shrubs of all kind with multi couloured flowers decorated the meadows.  I will never forget my first view of the College. It was raining and small rivulets could be seen emerging from hill tops. The laughter of girls in frocks and boys in mundu  could be heard from a distance.
My five years at the College was eventful. I took a first class Physics degree from the college. Many faces rush to my mind when I remember those five long years. Mr. Kunhikrishnan, now in ONGC, Mr. Balan, now in Court and Mr. Ramakrishnan A K , now in JNU used to form a company. We were all alike. We do not have money to take a proper lunch. Instead we satiated our hunger with mixture and beaten rice from Damodarettan’s shop. We attended almost all functions in the College. The organizers of all functions used to invite our group to their function.                                                                      
                 Physics batch was unique. Even though the classes were a real bore except a few, we  tried to get into the heart of Physics thanks to our friends like late Ramesh chandra babu (Later became a famous chest specialist at Calicut medical College) and Haridas KV (now a top Officer with SBT) What pained us most was the attitude of some teachers who marked a big zero to our answers to questions for deriving some important laws taken from some Russian texts by Krishnan KV. The teachers except a few lacked any interest in the subject and our queries with regards to day to day puzzles in Physics fell to dumb ears. I remember one such incident when Narayanan , now a Professor in America together with us went to the Department in high spirits to know why Skylab preferred to fall down, The teacher sarcastically answered  "If you fear sky lab remain indoors. Don't make us bother".
                There was real poverty outside. We were pray to it. I had to walk some 10 km daily  as I cannot spare the five paise required for the bus pass. We seriously disused  the   turbulent politics of the times. A majority of us were strong supporters of Marxism. A few like Bhaskaran and Baby  were attracted to naxalism.  Bhaskaran used to argue vehemently in support of the working class. When I pointed out that the path of the movement is immature he used to argue that even though his comrades could not see the dawn of revolution the trees they plant will serve as shades for comrades to come.
                Another important event was the beautiful and informative documentaries shown at the Zoology Dept by the environmentalist Johncy Jocob. These short films were the first exposures  to world cinema for us. They also planted a strong base for our environmental concerns. The 16 mm films from Australia and USA opened up new horizons.
 What we loved most was the strikes. The distant noise of slogans always raised our hopes of seeing a matinee without cutting the class ( which was not uncommon). Usually there used to be a fight after that. The college will remain closed for some time then. The friction will reach its climax at election time. The Chairman of the College was Dr. Pavithran (Now HOD, Calicut University).
The college also taught us to live. Many students liked to walk in pairs. Some emotional experts have many friends belonging to the opposite sex. Some were under the impression that they have selected their partners much earlier. Some were quite infatuations. Some stray incidents of quenching the curiosity of adolescence by going up the hill or beneath a stone cut hole became a talk of the College for some time.
Some real villains were interested in other acts. The teachers also were young. There were inter- departmental relations. So when a teacher of Chemistry went to the Botany Department at noon when no one was present there, the villain peeped through a hole and announced to the whole college that something is rotten in the Botany Dept. The same villain once emptied the reagents in the work bench of girls in the Chemistry lab and replaced it with urine. The girl students were later puzzled to observe the strange behavior of the experimental salt when mixed with the reagents. It was the same villain who once remarked in the Physics dark room that a beautiful girl who is troubling with a spectrometer is not getting the spectrum properly because her slit is very wide.
Now the college has completely changed. The campus atmosphere is gone. After the introduction of UGC scales the teachers have become much affluent. The students lack original thinking. One will feel that a mimicry is being enacted. No one is interested in the teaching learning process. Everyone has become a victim of globalised economy.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Murali,

    More than thirty years and still the memories flood in with photographic clarity. The memories had pushed me to embark on an exercise to conjure a get-together at the same place and surroundings (despite the sea change) which taught us the preliminaries of the vagaries of life. Got connection with a number of our batchmates, but again official schedule left me less and less and time to pursue further. May be we will all meet before time runs out.

    Like you said, Physics was like an alien subject when we sat through the motions on the first day in class, made more intriguing by the Teachers who should have waited a while before wading into the heavy subjects. Somehow we survived with unbelievable tenacity, emboldened by the need to survive. It culminated in a dream result with first class for almost all batchmates and distinction for a few.

    The morning ritual of getting squeezed in the bus which invariably carried more than it can hold, more often than not getting just a toehold, hanging on to the doors, life was always on the precipice. Damuettan's 'upmavu' and "Aval and Kadala" had a taste of its own. For me, the Football, Cricket, Shuttle and Ball Badminton District League and Inter Collegiate matches, alongwith local Sevens football tournaments took away a huge chunk of time, but friends like you, Ajayan, Jayarajan, RCK, Rahim , Krishnan, Ramappa and Ramakrishnan and teachers like Karunakaran Mash and Sukumaran Mash who permitted extra practical sessions, nudged me forward. I owe it to my friends for what I am today.

    Thanks Murali for the wonderful piece of writing, which made me young again. Regards, Hari