Celebrating the past - The New Indian Express

Celebrating the past

Published: 06th November 2012 10:25 AM

Last Updated: 06th November 2012 10:25 AM

What relates the south of the Karamana river and Kanyakumari? Before you think in terms of latitudes and longitudes, just pause. It has nothing to do with geography.  ‘Nanjinadan Nazhi’, a traditional utensil made of bamboo used to measure rice grains was once popular across this region, and which later faded into oblivion with the invasion of modern measuring tools.

 An exhibition of antiques and rare books in the reference hall of the Legislative Assembly library is a real walk down the memory lane, with a number of traditional tools, equipment and rare books on display. Next to the ‘Nanjinadan Nazhi’ can be seen the ‘Palakkadan Nazhi’, which was used in the northern region and differs from the former in size. The ‘Palakkadan Nazhi’  has more diameter and is shorter than its southern counterpart.

 The traditional tools are from the collections of N Ajithkumar, head of the department of Malayalam at M G College in the city. “My collections over the past five years are exhibited here. I had handpicked a good number of them from ancient houses and some others were bought,” says Ajithkumar.

 Another interesting item is a jewel box, ‘Aamapetti’. The name is derived from its resemblance to the shell of a tortoise. Another noteworthy piece is the ‘naalukuzhi pathram’, a popular utensil used for serving side dishes. As the name indicates, it has four sections, and on three, the side dishes are served and one section is left vacant so as to conveniently place it on a plantain leaf, on which food was served.

 ‘Vettilathattu’ is accompanied by a ‘pakku vetti’ to crush arecanut, ‘chunnambu cheppu’ having lime, and a small purse to keep tobacco. The betel leaves are kept on the top spacious circular area of the ‘vettilathattu.’

 A set of books chronicling the language and literature of Malayalam too attracts attention. Venmani writings, Kalidasa’s Meghasandesham, Kumarasambhavam and Raghuvamsham, other pieces from ancient literature like Unniyaadi Charitham, Unniyachi Charitham etc are among this category. The works of Jnanpith award-winning litterateurs, G Sankara Kurup, S K Pottekkatt, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, M T Vasudevan Nair and O N V Kurup can be seen.

 Books are classified under various subjects like presence of women in Malayalam literature, Dalit literature, biography/autobiography, linguistics, Attakatha literature, works by Secretariat employees, proverbs etc.

 The exhibition was inaugurated by Speaker G Karthikeyan on Monday. The three-day exhibition is open to public from 10 am to 5 pm.

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