Noted linguist, pioneer of cultural studies in Kerala, Dr. Scaria Zacharia no more

Dr. Zacharia was known for his part in recovering and compiling the Thalassery Manuscripts — Hermann Gundert’s research materials from his two-decade stay in Thalassery during nineteenth century

Updated - October 19, 2022 08:35 pm IST

Published - October 19, 2022 11:37 am IST - KOCHI

Dr. Scaria Zacharia

Dr. Scaria Zacharia | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Dr. Scaria Zacharia, noted linguist and scholar, died at his residence in Changanassery on Wednesday. He was 75.

He served as Head of the Department of Malayalam at S. B College, Changanassery, and Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, for long. Dr. Zacharia had carried out research along with linguists and cultural researchers in the country and abroad, and pioneered the branch of cultural studies as a discipline in Kerala.

Dr. Zacharia, along with scholar Albrecht Frenz, had recovered the Thalassery Manuscripts — Hermann Gundert’s works in his own long hand during his two-decade stay in Illikkunnu Bungalow in Thalassery — from the library at the University of Tubingen, Germany, in 1986. He was also the first Hermann Gundert Chair Professor at the University.

Moreover, he had done extensive research on the evolution and development of Malayalam language. His select research publications were published under the title Malayalavazhikal in two volumes. Some of the other works include Karkuzhali, a bilingual book on Jewish Malayalam folksongs published by the Hebrew University, and the series on Hermann Gundert. Dr. Zacharia had presented papers at Oxford and Cambridge universities.

He was presented with honorary D. Litt by the Thunchath Ezuthachan Malayalam University and Mahatma Gandhi University, and have won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Dr. Zacharia is survived by wife, Marykutty, and two children. The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday at the Valiyappalli in Changanassery. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Minister for Higher Education R. Bindu have condoled his passing.

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