Rooting for a service song

The National Service Scheme (NSS) holds a special place in the hearts of all who have associated with it. No one can forget those camp days and the nights spent around bonfires dancing, joking and singing aloud ‘Manassu Nannakatte… Mathamethenkilum Aavatte…’ (What ever be the religion let the hearts be pure).

The NSS anthem that has inculcated the true spirit of the movement in thousands of youngsters all across the State turns 25 this year. On its silver jubilee, a children’s film is being made with its central theme derived from the song. A grand celebration is planned — either at the University of Calicut, where the NSS movement began in the State or the NSS Regional Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

The most important honour for the song will, however, be an attempt to introduce it as a prayer song in all schools in the State.

It has not yet been ascertained who is the author of the song, for there are at least five claimants. However, the tune in which it is currently sung by the NSS volunteers is attributed to Gopinath from Mavelikara, who was a member of the non-teaching staff at the Mahatma Gandhi University in 1989.

The song emphasises the ideals of the service movement and is sung in all NSS gatherings. It gained popularity, along with the movement that became active on the campuses in the State, in 1990s.

A message

Wherever it was sung, the theme of the song has won praises from dignitaries, Governors, politicians and bureaucrats included. The message of communal harmony and the call for pure hearts put forth in the song have inspired many. That is why, on the occasion of its silver jubilee, the Regional Centre, headed by C. Samuel Chelliah, thought of introducing the song to schoolchildren of all ages. The man entrusted with the mission is Varughese Mathew, former head of the Department of Physics at Malabar Christian College in Kozhikode and a former NSS programme officer. He is presently the Chairman of Board of Studies in Bio-physics at the University of Calicut.

Prof. Varughese has contacted Minister for Education P.K. Abdu Rabb making the suggestion to introduce the song in all schools. At present, educational institutions in the States have their morning prayers depending upon the religion of the management. Non-religious prayer songs are sung at government schools. This could change if ‘Manassu Nannakatte’ was introduced as a uniform non-religious prayer song in all schools, Prof. Varughese told The Hindu .

He is planning a fresh memorandum signed by various religious leaders in the State in support of the cause.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 10:35:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/rooting-for-a-service-song/article5950599.ece