Kodakkad Sreedharan: Man who popularised science through street theatre

Kodakkad Sreedharan  

Kodakkad Sreedharan, who passed away near here on Monday, was one of the pioneering leaders of the popular science movement in the State who strived to inculcate scientific temper among the masses.

Along with activists such as I.G. Bhaskarappanikkar, K.G. Adiyodi, R.V.G. Menon, A. Achuthan, and C.P. Narayanan, he travelled the length and breadth of the State and attended many meetings for the purpose. Sreedharan was among those who popularised Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad's (KSSP) ‘Sasthrakalajatha’ , a form of street theatre showcasing songs and dance through which scientific facts and socio-political issues were conveyed to the lay audience. The songs penned by him and composed by V.K. Sasidharan are still popular among schoolchildren.

For example, the poem Theeppetti (Matchbox) starts with 'Mattimaram kondundakkum theeppetti, kochukuttikalundakkum theeppetti..' and had a message against child labour. The poem Iniyumurakke gives a solid message on social integration.

Contemporaries recall that it was Sreedharan's oratorial skills that too stood him in good stead often. With a typical cloth bag slung over his shoulders, ‘Kodakkad’, as he was popularly known among social circles, would reach even remote villages by foot and keep the audience in thrall for hours.

T. Gangadharan, current president of the KSSP, told The Hindu on Tuesday that Sreedharan had an innate sense of humour and an ability to present scientific facts in simple Malayalam. “He took the lead in organising campaigns against the anti-people activities of multinational corporations and the ill effects of globalisation,” he added.

Sreedharan, 72, hailed from Payyoli in Kozhikode district. He worked as State president and State general secretary of the KSSP for one term. Author of a dozen books, he was also the managing editor or Eureka and Sasthrakeralam, the publications which nurtured scientific thought among generations of children in the State. Sreedharan worked as a member of the Education Department's curriculum committee too. A schoolteacher by profession, he retired as Assistant Educational Officer. He was also one of the governing body members of the Kozhikode-based Keluettan Centre for Study and Research. He had been active in public life till diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

Sreedharan is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter. His final rites were held on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 4:49:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/he-popularised-science-through-street-theatre/article25373794.ece

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