July 3, 2002 

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Kappekkadan Beerankutty, Mannasseri, Malappuram

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Once a traveler from Middle East came to Kappekkadan Beerankutty’s house at Mannasseri, Malappuram to see his private collection of antiques.  The Arab was particularly impressed with the miniature copy of the Quran that would fit into the palm of one’s hand.

Though the visitor was willing to spend Rs.5 lakhs to own the rare book that can be read only with the help of a lens, Beerankutty was reluctant to part with it.  This, despite the fact that he, as the father of 7 children, could have solved many pressing financial problems – including the marriage of 3 daughters – with that sale.

That is Beerankutty who has spent 40 years of his life collecting antiques.  These include palanquins of the 19th century, old coins of Malabar, Kochi, Nizam’s Hyderabad, Portugal and France, currency notes of 150 countries including 100-year-old notes, utensils more than 200 years old, old measuring vessels, palm-leaf manuscripts, 150-year-old gramophone, air gun of the Portugese period etc.

Whatever he gained during 17 years of work in the forests of Wayanad, he spent in acquiring antiques.  And finally when he came down to the plains, he was a virtual pauper – except for the invaluable articles he had collected.

His sons are automobile mechanics.  “It is because of them that the house is not sunk in poverty”, says Beerankutty without any guilt.

His only earning is the voluntary contributions given by occasional visitors to his house-cum-private gallery.

Beerankutty and family amidst antiques


Courtesy: V.R.Jyotish, Vanitha, March 1-14, 2002 

Contributed by: Administrator


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