KOLLAM: Agraharams once were the centres of learning - vedas, music and mathematics. But the glory of these Brahmin settlements have been fading fast. The replacement of tradition with modernity has jolted the agraharams - many have been demolished or struggling in the vicious grip of time.
Some agraharams in Kalpathy (Palkkad), Paingatteri (Mananthavady, Wayanad) and East Fort (Thiruvananthapuram) have escaped the rush of destruction after finding a place in the Kerala tourism map. But many other settlements have been on the verge of extinction.
Considering this sorry state, the Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities Ltd (KSWCFC) has decided to undertake the ambitious project ‘Renovation of Dilapidated Agraharas.’ K Ambadi, the Managing Director of KSWCFC, said the pilot project would be carried out in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad and would benefit 150 families.
“The total outlay for the project is `3 crore. The government has sanctioned `50 lakh for the first phase and a maximum of Rs 2 lakh will be spent on an agraharam.
"The beneficiaries of this project will be selected by a committee drawn from the director board of KSWCFC. We had already invited applications. Once the list is prepared an engineering team will visit the agraharams to prepare the estimate,” said Ambadi. “Some of the agraharams are severely dilapidated, and some of them use tarpaulin as a makeshift roof,” said Ambadi.
Karimpuzha Raman of Kerala Brahmana Sabha said the disintegration of agraharams was set off by the Land Reforms Act, 1963.
“The settlement broke into pieces after the Act came into effect as some severed their roots to go outside the state to earn a living. The condition of agraharams reduced the five-member team, which visited the settlement, to tears. In the initial phase of the KSWCFC programme, 2,000 families will be benefited and the case of 150 families will be taken care of immediately,” said Raman.
Officials said former minister R Balakrishna Pillai set in motion the programme when he was the chairman of KSWCFC. Pillai was moved by the plight of agraharams in Kalpathy, Thondikulam and Ramanathapuram.