Kerala

How ‘ummini valya onnu’ expounded social constructivism

Artist Madanan drawing a portrait of writer Vaikom Mohammed Basheer in Kozhikode on Saturday. It was to formally open Chitra Bhithi, a series of paintings based on the works of Basheer, drawn over a week by around 30 artists and to be displayed at the 150-ft-long port compound wall near the Beypore Jhankar Jetty. K. Ragesh  

Onnum onnum ummini valya onnu (One plus one equal to a slightly bigger one)”. Kozhikode Mayor Beena Philip on Thursday picked this well-known phrase from Vaikom Mohammad Basheer’s classic Malayalam novel Balyakalasakhi to explain how she leaned on his works to learn the concept of “social constructivism”. Ms. Philip was opening the writer’s birth anniversary celebrations here.

“Social constructivism is a theory in teaching that says knowledge is what we learn from others, from the family, the neighbourhood, from the outside world. When we interact with others, the knowledge we learn stays with us,” she said. Students should not be forced to learn through rote only from text books. They should instead interact with society. Teachers need to be the resource persons who chisel this knowledge,” Ms. Philip, who had been a teacher herself, said.

“There is no need for degrees or PhDs to have this realisation. We just need to think. Basheer’s words assume significance here. We need to tell the children when one plus one becomes a bigger one and when it becomes two,” Ms. Philip said. Basheer also did not care much about grammar but only looked at how his words communicated with the readers, she added.

Later, artist Madanan drew a portrait to formally open ‘Chitra Bhitthi’, a series of paintings based on the works of Basheer, drawn over a week by around 30 artists and to be displayed on the 150-ft-long port compound wall near the Beypore Jhankar jetty.

Video contest

The over-a-month-long celebrations include an art, craft, tourism, and literature festival. One of the events planned is ‘Hundred Minutes Ka Sultan’, a short video competition depicting any character or life situation associated with the writer or his works. The videos should not be more than 100-minute long. Artist Gurukulam Babu will create a sand sculpture of Basheer on the Kozhikode Beach on January 30.

Pradeep Hudinho, magician, is the general convener of the festival being organised by the All-India Malayalee Association along with Beypore Heritage Forum.

Mizoram Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai will open the literary and cultural festival at Hotel Malabar Palace on February 1. A film festival featuring films based on the works of Basheer, a short film festival, and a global short story contest on the theme ‘Survival’ are also part of the festival. Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, and the Basheer Chair of University of Calicut are supporting these events.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 1:29:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/how-basheer-expounded-social-constructivism/article33627561.ece

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