STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Remembering city’s glory days

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Nick Caldecott says he is taken aback by the kind of reception accorded to him by the town where his ancestor lay buried, there is seemingly no exaggeration. The Briti

Published: 03rd April 2012 12:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:24 PM   |  A+A-

1-REM

A beaming Nick Caldecott after being honoured with a memento by the Kerala University | EXPRESS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Nick Caldecott says he is taken aback by the kind of reception accorded to him by the town where his ancestor lay buried, there is seemingly no exaggeration. The British actor, who is part of one of the longest-running TV soap operas in Britain, had little

knowledge about his ancestor, who had brought science in a tangible form to a provincial town in India in 1834.

 Nick is the sixth-generation descendent of John Caldecott, who set up the Observatory (‘Thiruvithamcour Jyothishalayam’) in erstwhile Travancore.

 As he stood smiling in front of the microphone below a portrait of John Caldecott at the Senate Chamber of the Kerala University here on Monday, Nick recalled: ‘’There is a similar portrait of him at our house at Southampton where, while munching on her potato chips, my grandmother had told me, ‘’here is a person you should know about.’’ However, it was my uncle who did some research on the man. He came here and went to the Observatory and met many people to collect information about him.’’

 Though a stage personality, Nick seemed at a loss of words to put his emotions across. Upon a query, he replied that he had no link with Physics, or Astronomy for that matter.

 John Caldecott was known as the astronomer of the then Travancore prince, Swathi Thirunal.

 Presiding over the commemorative function, University Vice-Chancellor A Jayakrishnan said that he was filled with grief when political parties called for a nationwide strike on February 28, which happened to be the World Science Day. ‘’The history of science is never taught in colleges or schools, but public enjoy the fruits of science. Academia is not generally respected in this country,’’ he said.  

 Achuthsankar S Nair, head of the department of Bio-informatics, University of Kerala, who was instrumental in bringing Nick to his ancestor’s resting place, recalled how two marble tablets which could be found in the Observatory are evidence to beat the argument that there was no rajah by the name of Swathi Thirunal (a debate which had erupted in the late 1980s).

 He rued how the city, which was once in the  forefront in welcoming modern technology, has now taken on a slumber and forgotten its history of science.

 He said that if the politicians are willing, the building of the Meteorological Department next to Observatory which has been lying idle for the past many years could be handed over to the University and a museum set up there to remember the history of science in the city.

Syndicate member P Rajendran, who was present at the function, promised that he would take up the matter.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp