Opposition Leader stays away from Malayalam meet opening

President Pranab Mukherjee has called for efforts to nurture Malayalam using all the available modern means so that it is fully equipped to meet the requirements of the new generation.

“A language, however much it may be enriched with traditional values and heritage, would lose its relevance and popularity if it does not evolve. It is, therefore necessary, while safeguarding our cherished languages, to promote them through all the modern means at our disposal today—while at the same time, taking care to nurture their uniqueness. A language that is ill equipped to meet the requirements of the new generation, cannot be safe in its hands,” the President said at the inaugural of the Viswa Malayala Mahotsavam in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by, among others, eminent writers M.T. Vasudevan Nair, O.N.V. Kurup, Sugathakumari and T. Padmanabhan, film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and writers in Malayalam from within and outside the country. Consequent by his absence was Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan.

Noting that a Malayalam University was all set to start functioning at Tirur on November 1, the President said he had no doubt that the research and activities in the university will positively impact the preservation and propagation of Malayalam. The Viswa Malayala Mahostavam was a very timely initiative in this context, he said and hoped that the conference will set the agenda and the goals to be achieved in the days to come, Mr. Mukherjee said.

Kerala, he said, was rightly referred to as a land blessed with the bounties of nature and a people who have proven themselves to be at the forefront of social and educational reforms. Kerala was the first State in the country to attain 100 per cent literacy. With the development of Malayalam, a ‘Keralite’ identity has evolved which was simultaneously open, tolerant and hospitable to new elements and influences, he said.

Pointing out that this was his first visit to the State after assuming the office of President, Mr. Mukherjee said he was extremely happy that the occasion afforded him the opportunity to meet a cross section of the vibrant literary and academic communities of the State.

Chairing the inaugural ceremony, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj described Kerala as a model State when it came to assimilation of different strands of culture, religion and artistic and literary traditions. Kerala has produced several brilliant diplomats, scientists, technocrats and writers. Kerala, he said, was an extension of India abroad.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy hoped that Malayalam will get ‘classical’ status very soon. The government, he said, saw the conference as a means to showcase Kerala’s culture and literature before the world and proposed to make the Viswa Malayalam Sammelanam an annual event.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Education Minister Abdu Rabb, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal, Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K. Chandrika were among those present. Culture Minister K.C. Joseph welcomed the gathering and Kerala Sahitya Akademi president Perumbadavom Sreedharan proposed a vote of thanks.