The memory of litterateur and social critic Sukumar Azhikode instils in Keralites self-confidence, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.
Inaugurating a function held here on Thursday to commemorate Azhikode on the occasion of his first death anniversary, Mr. Chandy said that even the future generation in the State would see Azhikode and his works as a source of confidence and guidance. The writer would remain a guide for society.
“Azhikode was among the very few the public wanted to hear,” he said. Azhikode was honest, and that made his words powerful.
Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the memorial to Azhikode erected near the Payyambalam beach here. “The people of Kannur have offered a memorial that befits the memory of Azhikode. I thank all those who are behind this initiative,” Mr. Chandy said at the function jointly organised by the Sukumar Azhikode Samskarika Kendram (SASK), Kannur, and the Sukumar Azhikode Trust (SAT), Kottayam.
Reminiscing that he himself had been at the receiving end of severe criticism from the late writer, the Chief Minister said that no one, including those subjected to Azhikode’s criticism, had questioned his honesty.
“Azhikode had affection for me, but he also criticised me harshly,” the Chief Minister said adding that the writer had no enemy. Terming Azhikode a true Congressman, he said that though Azhikode had not spared the Congress, he had acknowledged that his attacks were for correcting the party.
Mr. Chandy announced that the Government Higher Secondary School at Meenkunnu near Azhikode would be named after the writer. He said the move was in response to a memorandum and added that he had already spoken to the Education Minister in this regard. The school would be re-named Dr. Sukumar Azhikode Smaraka Higher Secondary School.
On a controversy
Minister for Rural Development and Culture K.C. Joseph said that the memorial was appropriate for the writer. Referring to a newspaper report that the memorial was ‘unauthorised’ and ‘illegal’, the Minister said that normally the Chief Minister would not have inaugurated something presented as illegal.
The Chief Minister, however, came to inaugurate it to show that he would disregard any controversy on something associated with Azhikode, the Minister said.
Former Supreme Court judge and SAT chairman K.T. Thomas presided. P.P. Lakshmanan, SASK chairman, in his welcome address said that though he had served as chairman of the Kannur municipality in the past, no application was known to have come up before the municipality seeking permission for building a memorial near the cremation ground at Payyambalam.
He, however, added that if there was any lapse in the construction of the memorial, the SASK would rectify it and would abide by any direction from the District Collector and municipal chairperson.
Municipal chairperson M.C. Sreeja; former Azhikode MLA and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M. Prakashan; and SASK secretary A.K. Nambiar were present at the function.