Memorial to pay tribute to co-authors of 'Hortus Malabaricus'

A memorial celebrating the contributions of Ranga Bhat, Vinayaka Pandit and Appu Bhat, the co-authors of the 17th century botanical treatise Hortus Malabaricus, will be unveiled at Mattancherry on November 29 by Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

The memorial will also be a tribute to the famed treatise on the plants of Malabar, which is cited as the first instance of block printing in Konkani and Malayalam.

The memorial is a conjoined bust of the three physicians, cast in silica cement by artist Sunil Thiruvaniyoor.

The Konkani physicians were part of a team formed by the Dutch governor Hendrik van Rheede to prepare the compendium on the flora of Malabar coast. Rheede headed the Dutch colonial administration on the coast of Malabar between 1670 and 1677.

Anugraha Charitable Trust, which took the initiative in putting up the memorial, is a voluntary body working for the welfare of the Konkani community. It was inspired by a wish expressed by Sudheendra Theertha Swami in 2012 that the physicians from the community should be honoured with a memorial.

The Trust had, in 2013, organised a national seminar in Panaji on the contributions of the trio of physicians to the treatise. Later, a national workshop on the same topic was also organised in Kochi where several research papers on Hortus Malabaricus were presented, said an official of the Trust.

N. Balakrishna Mallya, who has researched the history of the botanical treatise, says in one of his papers that the trio from the Konakani community along with Kollatt Itty Achuthan from Kadakkarappally, near Cherthala, were the only four persons mentioned as “indigenous physicians” from the group which worked on the Hortus Malabaricus project.

Originally published in Latin

Hortus Malabaricus (Garden of Malabar) was published in Amsterdam in 12 volumes between 1678 and 1693. The illustrated treatise was originally published in Latin.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2022 12:47:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/memorial-to-pay-tribute-to-coauthors-of-hortus-malabaricus/article7910901.ece

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