KERALASAMSKAARAM — Study: A. Sreedhara Menon; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 80.

THE REFINED understanding of the manifestations of human intellectual achievement and the ways of life is generally referred to as culture of a particular society. The culture of a society is passed on from generation to generation, and culture itself is a process of stabilisation tendencies inherent in evolutionary progression.

From this perspective, this book by an ace historian is a sterling contribution in comprehensively presenting the enigma of Kerala society. Kerala’s cultural heritage encompasses elements of ancient Hindu culture, an admixture of both the Dravidian and Aryan elements, and enriched by contacts with the East and the West. Prima facie, the author explains that its rich and diverse culture is an integral part of Indian culture. Historically, it was assimilative and was famed for religious tolerance of the highest order. The author delves into the festivals, arts, architecture, sculpture, paintings, woodwork, handicrafts, and monuments. In the popularisation of culture, he commends the sterling role played by the educational institutions and media. The historical development of Malayalam language and literature formed an important part.

The most major aspect is an objective analysis of the changes in social and economic orders. The contents, originally published in 1978, have generally been updated from a historical angle keeping in view the dynamics of change in Kerala (excepting the media!).