Study on a village deity

Charukesi

ARULMIGU KARUPPASAMI— Oru Nadamaadum Deivam: Swami Onkarananda; ‘Onkaram', M-14/2 East Avenue, Korattur, Chennai-600080. Rs. 1500.

THIS 2000-PAGE, photograph-studded book on Arulmigu Karuppasami (aka Karuppannasami), based on elaborate research, speaks about the emergence of the village deity, his miracles and valour. What makes it interesting are the anecdotes connected with the deity. For instance, a British official, Johnson Peter, while riding past the Bhavani Kooduthurai Karuppannasami temple, failed to remove his shoes and instantly became blind. He regretted his mistake, prayed to the deity, and ultimately regained his vision. Since then, people passing by the temple have made it a point to go barefooted.

According to the author, Karuppasami is worshipped as Maha Ganapathi and, in a few places, as Hanuman. There are other centres where the peetam and the spear are believed to be his representations, and in the Kallazhagar temple (Madurai) it is the temple door.

Temples dedicated to Karuppasami are found in Kerala, the Andamans, and Tirupathi apart from Tamil Nadu. The Sangam literature as also Siddhars' works speak about Karuppasami being regarded by the followers of the Saktha and Ayyanar cults as the most powerful guardian deity. Apart from Tuesdays and Fridays, Maharasivaratri, Adi Amavasya, and Panguni Uthiram are reckoned among the most appropriate days for worshipping the deity.

KANNADA

Biography

K. N. Venkatasubba Rao

JYOTI BASU— Adhikruta Jeevana Charitre: Translation of Srurabhi Banarjee's Basu: An authorised biography by RAHU; Pub. by Chitana Prakashana, 1863, 11th Main Road, 38th cross, 4th ‘T' Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore 560041. Rs. 250.

THIS TRANSLATION of Jyoti Basu-An authorised biography in English (1997) is a welcome addition to political literature in Kannada. Its importance, however, lies more in the effort being a reflection of the Kannada literary world's broad perspective in encouraging translations of quality works in other languages that in its political dimension.

The biography tracks the struggle and achievements of Jyoti Basu in his long political career, traversing the several phases of his evolution into a frontline Leftist political ideologue. Basu's childhood days, educational career, social and economic vision, contribution especially to the development of West Bengal, et al have been spelt out in detail.

The hard work RAHU (Prof. R.K. Hudgi) has put in to translate the original is apparent. But his over-anxiety to stick to the structure of the original has taken its toll, as evidenced by the distortions in syntax and semantic patterns of Kannada and the inconsistency in the quality of translation.

In spite of the shortcomings, the publication is worth the while because of the philosophy it projects.

MALAYALAM

A different travelogue

Neela Padmanabhan

PAZHASSIYUM KADATHANADUM:K. Balakrishnan; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 200.

THIS IS a different type of travelogue. It deals with the past and the present, providing minute geographical details and relating mythological stories connected with parts of North Kerala. Already, the author has to his credit three travelogues featuring places from Manjeswaram to Vadakara.

This book covers Peralasseri part of Kannur taluk and most of the places in Thalasseri taluk. The Kottayam kingdom of yore, including parts of Kurumbanadu and Koodali, but excluding Vayanad, is portrayed vividly.

It starts with Kottiyur, famous for the worship of Sivalinga during the Vaishakh festival, and covers the region up to the boundary of Kadathanadu. Mythology has it that this is the place where Sati Devi immolated herself on being humiliated by her father, Daksha Prajapati, who was conducting a Yaga without inviting Lord Siva, her spouse.

Such mythological and folk accounts, religious practices and rituals connected with places of worship he came across during the travel have been recorded faithfully and interestingly by the author, a Left-leaning journalist.

Famous personalities such as Pazhassi King, Brunnan, Gundert, Chandu Menon, Sanjayan, and C.K. Govindan Nair who hailed from these parts of Kerala come in for detailed mention. On the whole, this book has something interesting or new to offer about “God's own land” even to Keralites.