Friday, March 31, 2006

Indulekha lives, reminisces

Indulekha is a very old, but amazing piece of literature which was every bit controversial in it`s times and yet was read throughout the vast circle of malayalam readership. Written by O. Chandumenon, a radical thinker and reformist who helped in bringing upon great changes in the old nair style of matrilineal inheritance and also fought against the stringent orthodoxy of the Kerala upper caste society to bring across education and literacy to the masses.
Indulekha is the story of love between the beautiful, educated and modern Indulekha and handsome and knowledgeable Madhavan and how they surpass all odds, brought across by the weakness in the society and use their education in the right sense to unite and live happily marking a great transition from the uninitiated old system to the years of modernity. The story is rightly set at the time of the british rule in India, and at the nascent stage of the Indian Congress and makes for an engrossing read.
The whole plot, is in a play form and is hugely decked with beautiful sanskrit verses and poetry.
But above all, the book sheds a lot of light on the little and beautiful state of Kerala. The story ends with how both the lovers get married and go to live in Madras, the present day Chennai.
But nothing can really be stretched as much as imagination. To think and wonder about how Indulekha would have lived in Madras and how she would have reminisced about Kerala makes for an interesting exercise. Because like all lovers, who get married, nothing is more valuable and precious to them than those memories of the times, when they were just lovers and the small fights and split ups they had.
Today there are thousands of Indulekhas, who move out of kerala, with education, knowledge and great spirit to be in union with all modernity and migrate to the cities all over india. But wherever they go, however they live and how much ever they enjoy their lives, before they go their beds to sleep, there are atleast ten minutes for which they reminisce about their homeland, the ancestral houses, the aura and splendour of the serene temples, the rich and lush green of the paddy fields, the calm and beauty of the backwaters.
Kerala, is today a major tourist destination globally and just like all tourist destinations, people come, enjoy, laugh, rest, rejuvenate and leave... Sadly today the very children of kerala`s water, soil and homes are not home. They come, just like all the other tourists, visit and return.
As they turn and go there is some corner in their hearts, which hurts.
There is some voice they hear... "Stay my child... Don`t leave me... "

... And they leave in tears...


Maya Cassis said...

wow...liked the narration on indulekha.i have to read this sometime.
and yes,kerala by its beauty and culture has a lot of appeal but the caste system is disgusting

Lavanya said...

Very well written! Must add Induleka to my list of must-read books list. Less of communism, more of FDIs routed to Kerala and more employment opportunities at home rather than the gulf sector, would make the state far superior than what it already is...

Srijith Unni said...

@maya : The caste system is no more prevalent as it was in those days and that`s a welcome sign.

@lavanya : Yes, you must read this.. I`n sure it`ll appeal to your senses. and as far as kerala is concerned, above all what you have mentioned, I think a proper awakening of the locals there is much necessary.

Thanks for all your comments

Deepak said...

@Maya: The oppression towards the minorities based on caste is still prevalent in North India. Kerala has come out of these.

Maya Cassis said...

srijith: the caste system is definitely there.i suffered a lot for one full year so I know.
but like you said,maybe not as much as in the old days

deepak: It's there.It's still prevalent in Kerala.Infact recently I had touched a pujari's feet and he yelled at me.I never knew that they had to take a bath after a lower caste touches and all that crap!!

Deepak said...

@Maya: Pujari yelled not because of the so called caste problem. He yells at anybody who tries to touch him. I know because this has happened to me also. I was not wearing my shirt and my poonool (sacred thread) was very visible when I accidentally touched him.
I bet you see this only in the temples.

Srijith Unni said...

@Maya : Unlike in the North, touching of the feet is not very popular down south. No one really touches the feet of priests. They have some custom, wherein, they are not to be touched by ANYBODY during their puja. It has nothing to do with the caste.

@Deepak : I second your opinion. However I feel a bit ignored.. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Chandu Menon's upbringing must have inspired his writing of Indulekha because his father was hindu and his mother was christian

Jerril said...

dis narration on indulekha is doing a great a literature student it acted as a god's hand to me for my project on Indulekha...

Syam said...

Anonymous, Chandu Menon's mother was Chittezhath Parvathy Amma, apparently, not a Christian.

scanadith said...

good work...has any one heard of another old book called chakkisankaran written by one ramakurup munshi? would like to hear about it

Rock On said...

When it was publish