THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: First-day celebrations at Malayalam Pallikkoodam here on Sunday witnessed a special initiation ceremony when poet Sugathakumari helped a curious mature student to write on a rice palette. The student was none other than Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar who described it a blessing to feel the affection of the poet whom he respected the most.
It was during the initiation ritual for new entrants that the minister revealed his wish to Sugathakumari. Without any hesitation, the poet asked him to stand by her side and helped him write some alphabets on rice.Spectators, including children and parents gave an admiring applause to the teacher and her special student.
About 150 children attended the initiation ceremony which was marked by folk songs, dance and other cultural programmes. Sunil Kumar inaugurated the event. Other dignitaries present were kathakali maestro Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri, CPM Narayanan MP, Dr George Onakkoor and Vattaparambil Peethambaran.
In his inaugural address, Sunil Kumar urged parents and children to give due importance to their mother tongue. He flayed schools which prohibit students from speaking Malayalam. “This is a violation of a child’s rights. Child Rights Commission can intervene in such cases,” he said.
“A day will come when all schools in the state will have to teach Malayalam. It’s not that far,” he said.According to Sunil Kumar, Malayalam is intrinsically connected with land’s culture and farming.
“Our traditional initiation ceremony for children is to make them write on sand or rice. This shows the connect between the language and agriculture tradition,” he said.
“When language is forgotten, earth and nature are under threat. Issues like wetland reclamation and destruction of nature are linked with the neglect for Malayalam,” he said.Despite Malayalam being declared a classical language the state is yet to give prominence to the language, opined Sugathakumari. First day celebrations included a navarasa demonstration by Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri and a performance by Eramam Kolkali Sangham, Payyannur.