Thursday, October 31, 2019

About my Race: A Song by Poykayil Appachan Paragraph Questions

Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)

1. What is the nature of "histories" according to Poykayil Appachan?
               According to Poykayil Appachan, numerous versions of history exist in which the downtrodden people of the land are not mentioned. On the contrary, historical narratives about other prominent races or castes are many. In the poem, "About my Race: A Song", Poykayil Appachan problematizes the conspicuous absence of the references to first nation people in the history of our country. It is important to note that the way downtrodden people are portrayed in mainstream history is still a point of debate. Appachan uses the plural term "histories" to denote the existence of parallel narratives. According to him, none of those narratives does justice to the first nation population, the earliest inhabitants of the land.

2. Why was there no one in the ancient world to write the story of the poet's race?
               There was no one to write the history of the poet's race because his race was the earliest inhabitants of this land. Here, the poet is referring to the first nation people, who are the downtrodden today. Poykayil Appachan invokes the analogy of a scribe to invoke the idea of dissemination of knowledge. The earliest inhabitants were ignored because no one wrote their history. This thought grieves the poet because he realizes the importance of written history. The absence of his race from the histories of the present time saddens the poet. Colonial forces have used writing as a tool to construct identities. Such an agenda was never part of the first nation communities, especially in premodern times.    

3. What is the story that the poet wants to write about?
               The poet wants to write a story about how the earliest occupants came to be regarded in Kerala. This thought springs from the understanding that mainstream histories do not mention the race of the poet who inhabited the land before anyone else. The poet decides to write the history of his people in a way uniquely personal. He reveals that he is not ashamed to reveal openly the weaknesses of his race if any. His race has been called "the cursed progeny" by the mainstream society. Poykayil Appachan intends to deconstruct popular notions regarding the marginalized race of the first nation people.

4. Why does the poet dismiss any sense of "shame" associated with the present condition of his race?
               The poet dismisses any sense of "shame" associated with the present condition of his race because he understands that shame is a product of the mainstream culture. He does not see any fault in openly narrating all the weaknesses of his race. The poet expresses his intention to write a story about his race. As part of this process, he plans to use all details of his race, openly stating all its weaknesses. The marginalized first people of Kerala are often depicted as "the cursed progeny", according to Poykayil Appachan. The politics of marginalizing the first people is largely fuelled by the mainstream culture to authenticate its supremacy. Everything that does not fit into the mainstream notions of cleanliness, beauty, and intelligence, shall be viewed as aberrations and blamed. Appachan subverts this discourse by dismissing any sense of shame.

5. How does the poet bring in the concept of divinity or "God" in the poem?
               The poem, "About my Race: A Song" has eight stanzas. The reference to divinity or "God" appears in the final stanza of the poem. The poet asks how God can allow the injustice of racism to continue. The poet refers to the God concept endorsed by creationism. According to this concept, God is a supreme being who created every living and nonliving entity on the earth. The question asked by the poet reflects the hopelessness felt by him on witnessing the reality of racism. It is interesting to meditate on how the poet arrives at the final question. He states that the mainstream forces in the culture of Kerala blame the first nations without any inhibitions. The poet draws on the reality of the racist culture of Kerala by pointing out that his race is often called "the cursed progeny". Before, bringing God into the poem, the poet asks, if racial discrimination would continue endlessly. This question gives the poem a tone of hopelessness, which is cemented by the final stanza.

Next: About my Race: A Song by Poykayil Appachan : Essay Questions


REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Parting from the Path of Life (Jeevitapata) by Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi: Essay Questions:

1. Based on the events described in “Parting from the Path of Life” give a brief description of Kunjammaman’s character and his role in the narrator’s life.
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2. What salient features of Kerala’s past can be identified in the autobiographical sketch of Cherukad?
Parting from the Path of Life (Jeevitapata) is written by Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi. He is popularly known as Cherukad. He was a committed writer and a communist from youth. His novels, short stories, and dramas, written in the manner of social realism, are significant for the insight they provide into the life of the downtrodden in pre-independence Malabar. His major novels are Manninte Maaril (1954), Muthassi (1959), Shanidasha (1959), etc. Mudramotiram (1954), Chekuthante Koodu (1958) and Cherukatinte Cherukathakal: Sampoorna Samaharam (1995) are his major short story collections. His play Nammalonnu (1948) is regarded as an important piece of committed theatre that paved the way for the consolidation of the communist ideal in the minds of the people of Malabar in the post-independence period. Jeevitappata (1974) is awarded the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 1975 and the Sahitya Akademi award in 1976. 
In the excerpt titled Parting from the Path of Life, the author’s childhood is narrated. Cherukad spends his childhood with his maternal uncle. The context of the matrilineal system narrated in the text is evocative of the historical reality that existed in the social scene of Kerala in the pre-independence era. The protagonist of the story is the narrator’s uncle Kunjammaman. 
The uncle is a disciplinarian at home and confronts his nephew with physical punishment. This is usually done with the pretext of giving homeschooling to the narrator. Kunjammaman’s sister, the narrator’s mother intervenes and instructs not to beat Govindan anymore. Kunjammaman was often asked why his nephew wasn’t sent to school. When this question was posed, he would often give a rather illogical excuse. He would say that the child knows reading and writing, as well as astrological calculations. According to Kunjammaman, this much study is enough. On another occasion, when Paruthiyil Krishnan Nair inquires about little Govindan’s education, Kunjammaman says that Nair has a monthly salary. There is no such provision for Kunjammaman. Therefore, it would be impossible to give expensive education to Govindan as Kunjammaman has a wealth of Nieces and Nephews. This was the real reason behind Kunjammaman’s reluctance in sending Govindan to School. The uncle was squirrelling away family income to build a new house and land for his wife. This suggests that Kunjammaman honoured his commitments to his wife disregarding his nephew’s basic right to education. 
Another instance of the patriarch in the social context of Kerala in the pre-independence era is Raghava Pisharodi. Raghava Pisharodi narrates the experiences with his nephew. According to Pisharodi, his nephew steals, lies, and commits adultery. When thrown out of his house, he started stealing kanam rice from the temple also. When caught, the nephew bit his uncle’s arm before running away with the vessel that he stole from the temple. 
Cherukad concludes that the chief enemies of a matrilineal family head are the efficient husband of a woman in the family and a grown-up nephew who bites back. The other two men in the family, husbands of the two sisters of Kunjammaman were not quite a challenge for Kunjammaman. Cherukad suggests that the patriarch is concerned about losing his power and authority in the family. Even though the husbands of his two sisters are harmless, Kunjammaman is concerned about his nephew Govindan. 

Through a humorous and lucid language, Cherukad indicates that the patriarchal system that existed in Kerala undermined the holistic development of individuals. It suppresses outspokenness and attempts to impose the conformist ideology of the patriarchal authority.  

Next: About my Race: A Song by Poykayil Appachan  Paragraph Questions

REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Parting from the Path of Life (Jeevitapata) by Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi Paragraph Questions

Paragraph Questions
Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)

1. What were the explanations given by Kunjammaman for not sending his nephew to school? Are those the real reasons behind his decision? Justify. 
Parting from the Path of Life (Jeevitapata) is written by Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi. The narrator, during his childhood, lives with his uncle known as Kunjammaman. He does not send the child to school. The explanations given by Kunjammaman are many. He would say that the child knows reading and writing, as well as astrological calculations. According to Kunjammaman, this much study is enough. On another occasion, when Paruthiyil Krishnan Nair inquires about little Govindan’s education, Kunjammaman says that Nair has a monthly salary. There is no such provision for Kunjammaman. Therefore, it would be impossible to give expensive education to Govindan as Kunjammaman has a wealth of Nieces and Nephews. This was the real reason behind Kunjammaman’s reluctance in sending Govindan to School. The uncle was squirrelling away family income to build a new house and land for his wife. 
2. What was the experience narrated by Raghava Pisharodi regarding his nephew?
Raghava Pisharodi tells Kunjammaman that he was frustrated with his nephew who tells lies, steals and commits adultery. Bits of Advice has no impact on him. Finally, he throws the nephew out of the house. However, after throwing him out, the nephew commits even more serious crimes. He steals kanam rice from the temple. He eats some of the rice and sells the rest of it and buys beedis and smokes away from his earnings. One day, Raghava Pisharodi hid in the temple to catch the thief. When the nephew laid his hands on a vessel of kanam rice measuring six nazhis, Raghava Pisharodi caught him. However, in his struggle to take away the vessel, the nephew bit Pisharodi on his wrist and the wound started to bleed. Unable to remain inside the temple due to fear of desecration of the temple with his dripping blood, Pisharodi ran outside. 
3. Who, according to the narrator, are the “chief enemies of the matrilineal family head”? How does Kunjammaman deal with these threats?
According to the narrator, the chief enemies of a matrilineal family head are the efficient husband of a woman in the family and a grown-up nephew who bites back. In his own story, the narrator’s father is a meek person who does not challenge the authority of the patriarch, Kunjammaman. The narrator’s sister Kutty Oppol’s husband was leaving the house, breaking the alliance to avoid a quarrel with Kunjammaman. His other sister Malu Oppol’s husband Black Patteri was a fool, according to the narrator. Therefore, there was no immediate threat to his uncle’s power and authority. Kunjamman was fierce in quenching any threat arising to question his authority. 

Essay Question: Parting from the Path of Life

REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Kelu by N Sasidharan and E P Rajagopalan: Essay Questions

Essay Questions: (Answer in not more than 200-250 words)
1. Critically comment on the different attitudes towards Art that the conversation between Kelu and the Poet reveals.
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2. The “mirror scene” in the play brings together reality, representations, visions, and constructed images. Explain.
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3. Attempt a critical analysis of the play Kelu.

The play Kelu dramatises the life of Vidwan P Kelu Nair, a nationalist leader who also became popular as a dramatist in Malabar under the British Raj in the early twentieth century. He was part of the nationalist movement. His plays include Padukapattabhishekam, Lankadahanam, Dhruvacharitram, Pakkanaar Charitam, and Vivekodayam. He juxtaposed mythology and the political scenarios of concurrent times. The play Kelu deals with many nuances of the art of writing. The centre of the play is at the dilemma faced by a writer who faces a writer’s block. His visualization of the characters in the play brings together the present and past generations of writers in one frame. Through the interaction, writer Balakrishnan overcomes the limitations that clutch his process of writing. The beginning of the play is a meeting where the assignment of writing the play is given to Balakrishnan.  
K Madhavan, the chairman of the Vidwan P Kelu Nair Memorial Trust suggests that they should celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of independence appropriately. He was speaking in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Trust. When one of the members suggested that they could enact one of the plays written by Vidwan P Kelu Nair, K Madhavan responded that more significant than his plays is the playwright himself. It is Kelu master that the new generation must know about. K Madhavan acknowledges that the present generation does not know the depth or breadth of the life of Vidwan P Kelu Nair. Balakrishnan Nambiar is chosen to write a play on Kelu Nair. Balakrishnan Nair had written a biography on Kelu previously. It is this experience that prompted the members of the committee to select Balakrishnan Nair to write a play on Kelu. 
As the process of writing unravelled, Balakrishnan confronts his incapabilities to complete the play. He hallucinates that he sees the figure of Kelu and converses with him on the difficulties of the writing process. He acknowledges that he knows very little about Kelu. The capacity of the play to present a person with all the nuances in his or her life reveals itself. In light of this, Balakrishnan finds himself inadequate. Soon, he visualizes the presence of the great poet P Kunhiraman Nair and speaks with him. Kunhiraman Nair consoles Balakrishnan by telling him that a play is not meant to shrink life into a grasp. It is important to acknowledge the difficulty in such an attempt. 
Then the scene shifts and Kelu and Kunhiraman Nair appear. At first, Kelu is unable to recognize Kunhiraman Nair. Once he recognizes him, a feeling of astonishment washes over him. We observe them converse about their place in the play being written by Balakrishnan. They discuss a question of great import: who is an artist? Kelu remarks that life is a deluge. Every individual should possess a mirror of one’s own to have perspective. 
The scene shifts and both historical figures carry a hand mirror. Each of them calls out the epithets given to them by society while looking into the mirror. Gradually, their vision shifts to specific instances of their life, giving them the perspective that the epithets given to them by the society do not completely represent who they truly are. 
Kunhiraman Nair, the great poet concludes that as artists, they do not require mirrors. In other words, the poet acknowledges the importance of shedding all the labels imposed on them by society. From this conversation, the play moves onto a scene from the life of Kelu and Meenakshi. 
Meenakshi fears that if the relatives in Neeleshwaram and Chanderi came to know about the play, they will turn against Kelu. Kelu’s ideas were revolutionary. They are about the removal of untouchability from society. She also worries that if her father finds out that one of the characters, a stubborn patriarch, in the play is modelled on him, he shall be furious. She also reminds him of the play he staged during Lakshmikutty’s wedding. Revolutionary ideas that contradict the traditional dogmas prevalent in the society appear daunting to Meenakshi. 
Kelu Nair becomes emotionally disturbed at Meenakshi’s reminder of how the tentacles of the society would be quick to interfere in the life of the playwright if he goes on to endorse revolutionary ideas. Kelu’s attempt to inculcate opposition against the caste system and untouchability in the society is viewed as a threat by the members of dominant communities. Realizing this, at the end of the play on his own, Kelu looks up at the statue of Pakkanar. Kelu feels that the statue’s eyes are gazing at his defeated self. He threatens the statue of Pakkanar that he shall smear it with kohl. In his emotional surge, Kelu smears the statue of Pakkanar with kohl. However, he is quick to apologize for his action as well. In his delirium, Kelu sees Pakkanar as a representative of the traditionalists who denounce the plays of Kelu. 
Kelu, the play uses strategies of the metatheatre. The characters in the play, such as Kunhiraman Nair, Kelu and Balakrishnan interact by accepting that they are part of the play. Sasudharan and Rajagopalan’s play tries to capture not only the fire and fury of the historical times in which Kelu Nair lived but the inner turmoil of the sensitive individual whom circumstances pushed to suicide at a young age.

Paragraph Questions: Here

Click here for next chapter:

Parting from the Path of Life (Jeevitapata) by Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi Paragraph Questions


REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Kelu by N Sasidharan and E P Rajagopalan: Paragraph Questions

Paragraph Questions
 Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)
1. What are K Madhavan’s reasons for suggesting that a play on Vidwan P Kelu Nair be written and enacted?
According to K Madhavan, Vidwan P Kelu Nair Memorial Trust should celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of independence appropriately. He was speaking in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Trust. When one of the members suggested that they could enact one of the plays written by Vidwan P Kelu Nair, K Madhavan responded that more significant than his plays is the playwright himself. It is Kelu master that the new generation must know about. K Madhavan acknowledges that the present generation does not know the depth or breadth of the life of Vidwan P Kelu Nair. One of the members pointed out that the biography of Vidwan P Kelu Nair is published, so they can use it to know about his life. However, Madhavan is of the view that a biography cannot capture fully the many nuances of a person’s life. That is when he suggests that a play on Vidwan P Kelu Nair should be written and enacted. 
2. What suggestion does Kelu offer Balakrishnan Nambiar for composing the play? 
           Balakrishnan Nambiar is given the responsibility to write a play on Vidwan P Kelu Nair. Balakrishnan Nambiar is seen as struck with a writer’s block while attempting to write the play. Balakrishnan Nambiar sits down on his table to write. However, he is unable to bring to life the character of Kelu in words. When he was engrossed at his desk, Kelu comes to him as a figment of his imagination. Kelu tells him that he too had gone through the same conflicts as a writer. He also tells Balakrishnan that it would be best if he could let contradictions lead the formative process of the play. Kelu identifies contradiction as the link between the individual author and the play. 
3. What reasons does Balakrishnan Nambiar give P Kunhiraman Nair regarding his inability to write a play on Vidwan P Kelu Nair?   
        P Kunhiraman Nair asks Balakrishnan why he was having such a difficulty in completing the play about Kelu when Balakrishnan himself wrote Kelu Nair’s autobiography. Balakrishnan responds that it is the knowledge about the life of Kelu that blocks his path in the process of writing. He states that the play demands a Kelu Nair beyond the Kelu Nair he learned about. Balakrishnan acknowledges that the real life of Kelu must certainly exist beyond the life he recorded in the biography. Confiding the life of a real human being within the pages of a play seems difficult to Balakrishnan. 
4. What are Meenakshi’s fears about the repercussions about Kelu’s play?
Meenakshi fears that if the relatives in Neeleshwaram and Chanderi came to know about the play, they will turn against Kelu. Kelu’s ideas were revolutionary. They are about the removal of untouchability from society. She also worries that if her father finds out that one of the characters, a stubborn patriarch, in the play is modelled on him, he shall be furious. She also reminds him of the play he staged during Lakshmikutty’s wedding. Revolutionary ideas that contradict the traditional dogmas prevalent in the society appear daunting to Meenakshi. 
5. What is Kelu’s attitude towards Pakkanar?
           Kelu Nair becomes emotionally disturbed at Meenakshi’s reminder of how the tentacles of the society would be quick to interfere in the life of the playwright if he goes on to endorse revolutionary ideas. Kelu’s attempt to inculcate opposition against the caste system and untouchability in the society is viewed as a threat by the members of dominant communities. Realizing this, at the end of the play on his own, Kelu looks up at the statue of Pakkanar. Kelu feels that the statue’s eyes are gazing at his defeated self. He threatens the statue of Pakkanar that he shall smear it with kohl. In his emotional surge, Kelu smears the statue of Pakkanar with kohl. However, he is quick to apologize for his action as well. In his delirium, Kelu sees Pakkanar as a representative of the traditionalists who denounce the plays of Kelu. 
6. Comment on the theme of “writing” in the play. 
           The theme of writing appears as a major element in the play. As per the request of K Madhavan on the fiftieth anniversary of Indian independence Balakrishnan Nambiar was chosen to write a play on Kelu Nair. Balakrishnan Nair had written a biography on Kelu previously. It is this experience that prompted the members of the committee to select Balakrishnan Nair to write a play on Kelu. As the process of writing unravelled, Balakrishnan confronts his incapabilities to complete the play. He hallucinates that he sees the figure of Kelu and converses with him on the difficulties of the writing process. He acknowledges that he knows very little about Kelu. The capacity of the play to present a person with all the nuances in his or her life reveals itself. In light of this, Balakrishnan finds himself inadequate. Soon, he visualizes the presence of the great poet P Kunhiraman Nair and speaks with him. Kunhiraman Nair consoles Balakrishnan by telling him that a play is not meant to shrink life into a grasp. It is important to acknowledge the difficulty in such an attempt. Kelu and Kunhiraman Nair are then having a conversation about their place in the play being written by Balakrishnan. This is an instance of metatheatre or metadrama that brings into notice the very nature of the play. Through the dialogues or the interference of a character, the play draws attention towards the play. They hold a mirror at each other. The poet acknowledges that what they see in the mirror are not their real selves. As artists, they do not need mirrors. From this conversation, the play moves onto a scene from the life of Kelu and Meenakshi. The theme of writing is at the centre of the play. Writing as a process challenges writers of different generations such as Kelu, Kunhiraman Nair, and Balakrishnan. Through a meaningful conversation of writings belonging to different generations, the writer of the play Kelu can overcome his difficulties in writing.  

Essay Questions: Here 

REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Eri by Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu: Essay Questions

Readings on Kerala
Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)
I Semester UG Common Course
Essay Questions:

Updated

1. How does Eri question mainstream notions of scholarship and knowledge?
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2. Why is the narrator doubtful about finding sources for writing the history of Eri? Is it because mainstream histories do not document the lives of lower caste communities? Explain.

Eri is a novel written by Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu and published posthumously in 2017. Eri, the character represents the historically downtrodden people in the Parayan community in Kerala. Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu uses the medium of the novel to establish the prehistory of the Parayan Caste. The narrator of the story is a research scholar, who uses memories, memoirs, oral histories, ritualistic performances, gossips, books, and other oral/literary sources. The novel attempts to historicize the making of a Paraya community in its transit to modernity and retells the renaissance of Kerala from a Paraya male perspective.   


Recovery of the history of Eri is important to the narrator because he was impressed as a subaltern linguist by the legend of Eri. However, from the accounts given to him by his father, he is convinced that an unbiased account of the community to which Eri belonged is unavailable. For example, the narrator’s father pictures Eri to be clean in his appearance. The father tells his son that Eri wears a white dress, indicating purity and cleanliness, which is a symbol of upper caste sensibility. According to his father, a rudraksha chain was around his neck. The house in which he lived was a hut, clean and mud-plastered. It was situated on the slope of the Kannambath temple. All such data are coloured by elements of mainstream standardization.


Eri has an inter-caste identity. He is born to a Parayan father and a Malayan mother. Eri lived during the time of the narrator’s father’s father. The text starts with a story narrated by his father about Chaliyan Raman’s confrontation with Eri. From this story, we learn that Eri is a mysterious figure. It is also evident that Eri does not care about the barrier of caste to help others. This view is contradictory to what happens with Antharjanam who seeks Eri’s help to run away from the clutches of her community.


Eri was an educated man. He was educated in the Sanskrit language. In Kurumbranad, a parallel system of education existed several years ago. In those days, some schools taught writing in the sand. There were Ezhuthassanmaar who travelled from one place to another and taught writing. They stayed in a place and taught Amaram (Amarakosham), Kavyam (Manipravalakavyangal), Enjuvadi, etc. to the children there. For the people of the Malaya caste, Mahabharatham was more important. The tales of Mahabharatham may be seen incorporated in their various traditional Prakkal, Theerkkal rituals like Ennamanthram, Tholuzhiya, etc. such a parallel tradition of education existed in Kurumbranad. 


Another instance where the character of Eri is established is in the third section of the text. Contrary to what is expected from the myth of pulappedi, Eri appears to be a helpless human being. Eri stands outside of Antharjanam's house after being invited by her to help her escape the clutches of her existence. She is only twenty and her husband, who was sixty, had just passed away. She implores Eri to help her in God’s name. He rejects her by telling her that he lives his life with a sense of justice and God has no role in it. It can be seen that Eri does not accept the notion of an upper-caste god. He states that it is impossible to live together without love.


Eri explains that the anguish suffered by the Parayan community is the reality of his abode. He asks her forgiveness before leaving her there. This response from Eri is in stark contrast with the propaganda spread by the upper caste about the people of the downtrodden communities. 


The exploration of the narrator, therefore, does not take established methods of research. He does not use the traditional research methodology to unearth the realities of caste in Kerala. The author attempts to establish the prehistory that defies the standardized notions of objective value. The subjective reality of self-implicating research is evident in the work. 



REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ERI by Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu: Readings on Kerala

Readings on Kerala (1A02ENG)
I Semester UG Common Course

Paragraph questions

1. Why is the recovery of the history of Eri important to the narrator?

  

Eri, the character represents the historically downtrodden people in the Parayan community in Kerala. However, the history of Eri is unwritten. Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu uses the medium of the novel to establish the prehistory of the Parayan Caste. The recovery of the history of Eri is important to the narrator because he was impressed as a subaltern linguist by the legend of Eri. The narrator had heard stories of Eri from his father. Eri lived during the time of his father’s father. The narrator’s father had also seen Eri. According to the narrator’s father, Eri appeared clean and was always dressed in white. A rudraksha chain was around his neck. The house in which he lived was a hut, clean and mud-plastered. It was situated on the slope of the Kannambath temple. The narrator is confronted by some conflicting questions such as why his father would describe Eri wearing a white dress. The narrator concludes that Eri was a wise man and decided to investigate the history of North Kerala as a researcher of the evolution of language.


2. Does the text try to address the problems of Namboothiri women? How?  


In the third section of the text, the character of Antharjanam appears. Invited by Antarjanam, Eri stands outside her house. Eri is confused as to why he is being invited to meet her outside the house. That was unusual. Antharjanam comes out of the house and speaks to Eri. She requests Eri to use magic to lure her out of her husband’s house. Her husband, who was sixty, passed away. She is only twenty years old and wants to experience more from life. However, as per the tradition of the Brahmin community, she would be forced to live inside the house without any contact with the world outside for the rest of her life. Such a context foregrounds the plight of the Brahmin women during the early twentieth century and earlier times in Kerala. The text imaginatively captures the scene and helps to spur a discussion on the discrimination of women in upper caste communities. 


3. How does Eri question the practice of Pulapedi?


Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu uses the medium of the novel to establish the prehistory of the Parayan Caste. Pula/Parapedi is a ritual in which men of Pulaya, Paraya, and Mannan castes, the so-called ‘slave castes’, would roam around to defile upper-caste women who strayed alone outside their houses. In the third section of the text, we witness a scene that deconstructs the image of the Parayan propagated through rituals such as Pulapedi. Invited by Antarjanam, Eri stands outside of Antharjanam's house. Antharjanam comes out to meet Eri. Eri moves back from her in the fear of defiling her caste with his nearness. She tells him her story. She requests Eri to use magic to lure her out of her husband’s house. Her husband, who was sixty, passed away. She is only twenty-years old and wants to experience more from life. However, as per the tradition of the Brahmin community, she would be forced to live inside the house without any contact with the world outside for the rest of her life. Antharjanam implores Eri to help her in God’s name. However, Eri states that he lives his life with a sense of justice and God has no role in it. It can be seen that Eri does not accept the notion of an upper-caste god. He states that it is impossible to live together without love. The anguish suffered by the Parayan community is the reality of his home. He asks her forgiveness before leaving her there. This response from Eri is in stark contrast with the propaganda spread by the upper caste about the people of the downtrodden communities. Thus, the novel Eri questions the practice of Pulapedi.


4. What does the story mentioned in the beginning of the text tell about the character of Eri?


Eri, the character represents the historically downtrodden people in the Parayan community in Kerala. The story mentioned at the beginning of the text is about Chaliyan Raman confronting Eri. Chaliyan Raman was returning home after giving clothes in Kannur. It was night and he walked in the light of a choottu in his hand. When he reached Ancham Peedika, he saw someone sitting in the verandah of a tea stall, chewing betel. The person he encountered was robust in his build, short in stature, and resembled Buddha in his posture. Chaliyan Raman requested for a choottu as the one in his hand had already burned out. The stranger inquired where Chaliyan Raman wanted to go. When Raman told him that he wanted to go to Panniyur the stranger replied that there is no choottu. Instead, the stranger offered him the ability to find him a way to reach home. The stranger inquired if Raman had any issues coming nearer to the stranger. There was no way to know the caste of the person as it’s dark and Raman could not see the face of the stranger. The stranger applied a potion to Raman’s eyes and he was able to see in the dark. He walked a short distance and turned to look at the stranger. To his surprise, Chaliyan Raman could not see anyone there. When he reached home and saw the light of his house, his ability to see in the dark was lost. The next day, Raman learned that the stranger he met at Ancham Peedika was Parayan Eri. From this story, we learn that Eri is a mysterious figure. It is also evident that Eri does not care about the barrier of caste to help others. 


5. Describe the parallel tradition of education that existed in Kurumbranad.


In Kurumbranad, a parallel system of education existed several years ago. In those days, some schools taught writing in the sand. There were Ezhuthassanmaar who travelled from one place to another and taught writing. They stayed in a place and taught Amaram (Amarakosham), Kavyam (Manipravalakavyangal), Enjuvadi, etc. to the children there. For the people of the Malaya caste, Mahabharatham was more important. The tales of Mahabharatham may be seen incorporated in their various traditional Prakkal, Theerkkal rituals like Ennamanthram, Tholuzhiya, etc. such a parallel tradition of education existed in Kurumbranad.


  
REF: Multiple Modernities, edited by Board of Editors, Kannur University, Cohin: Hornbill Publishing House, 2019. Print.