A bookstore ‘born of war’

The CICC Book House on Press Club Road turned 60 this month. Late freedom fighter and peace activist V ‘Samadhanam’ Parameswaran had set up this bookstore in 1962.

Published: 16th July 2022 06:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2022 07:28 PM   |  A+A-

 T Jayachandran, owner, CICC Book House

 T Jayachandran, owner, CICC Book House

Express News Service

KOCHI: The CICC Book House on Press Club Road turned 60 this month. Late freedom fighter and peace activist V ‘Samadhanam’ Parameswaran had set up this bookstore in 1962. “That was the time when many in Kerala were part of organisations or movements working for, in simple terms, world peace,” says T Jayachandran, 65, the current owner of CICC bookstore. 

“In 1960, there existed a Centre for International Culture and Cooperation, which aimed to spread anti-war messages. The Soviet embassy used to support it. Many upper-class intellectuals, who were communists but kept away from the party, joined groups such as the Indo-Soviet Cultural Society, Friends of German Democratic Republic, etc.” 

To popularise the anti-war ideology, social luminaries such as Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Justice Subramanian Poti and writer S K Pottekkatt used to spearhead socio-cultural activities as part of CICC. “When the bookstore was started, the same name was given to it. CICC Book House was a major part of the movement — it was the coordination centre.” 

There were at least seven bookstores on the stretch, earlier known as Tourist Bungalow Road. “Even Vaikon Muhammed Basheer had a bookstore here,” says Jayachandran. “Then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru signed a deal with the Soviet Union, and a cultural exchange programme was part of it.

Subsequently, interest in the anti-war movement waned. And then, CICC became ‘just a bookstore’. However, we still see socio-political gatherings and discussions here, especially since the Press Club is nearby.” The bookstore has a treasure of anti-war content, especially works translated into Malayalam. Translations of Russian, German, Bulgarian, and Czech novels, too, are available here. 

Jayachandran’s mother, Subhadra Parameswaran, had translated many of these.  “She was the first woman lawyer in the Irinjalakuda court. However, she died when I was nine due to cancer. But even while battling the disease, she translated many books,” he adds.  Jayachandran took over the bookstore when his father died of heart failure in 1994. CICC Book House, under the leadership of Jayachandran, has already published more than 100 dramas, including indigenous ones, and over 800 novels. 

“We released our first book on June 4, 1962 ‘The Story of a Real Man’ by Boris Nikolaevich Polevoy. My mother translated it,” he says. It was a story about a Russian pilot who lost his legs fighting the Nazis during WW II. “Currently, besides individual buyers and old-time loyalists, we focus on supplying books to educational institutions and libraries.”


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