February 20, 2007

Inspiration for the day

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Satyavan Kottarakkara, Kollam

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"The poor students (or outcastes) do not deserve to acquire knowledge (or Vedas).  Their destiny is merely to be cannon fodder for strikes and lathis.  And if at all they dare to sit in class and hear knowledge, then their ears are to be sealed with the molten lead of hatred and intolerance".  This was the scenario in Government schools and colleges of Kerala when Satyavan and persons like Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati of the Vidyalaya Suraksha Samithi started the Gandhian action to get student politics banned in campuses during the 1990s.

Satyavan was a fine art teacher in Government School at Barten Hill, Thiruvananthapuram when he saw the plight of poor students who were denied both knowledge and lunch because of student agitation.  He became the convener of the Samithi of which Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati was the president.  The Samithi’s peaceful legal effort saw the High Court banning politics in schools in 1996 and in Higher Secondary schools in 2001.

Tongue is the sword of an advocate.  Without collecting any money for the organization he represents, Satyavan has been using his pension for the social activities.  And the money from various prizes that have come his way is indeed bonus in more than one sense.  Notable among these awards are the Rs.25000-Lok Seva Award of 2002, St.Gregorios Award of New York in 1997 and the K.C.Mathew memorial award of the International Study Centre, Valakam in 2006.

Born as T.K.Mathaikunju in 1937, he was fondly called ‘Satyavan’ by his mother.  After completing his studies from the Government School of Arts, he went to Paris in 1968 to pursue further training in painting and photography.  Later he returned to Kerala and worked as art teacher in various Government institutions.

Even while moving in the path of legal activism, he keeps a keen eye for photography.  And so he considers as artistically significant the two medals he received in the photography exhibition conducted by ISRO at Thiruvananthapuram in 1980.


Courtesy:Pattazhi Sreekumar, Malayalam, February 9, 2007
Contributed by: Administrator


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