March 12, 2003  

Inspiration for the day

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M.A.Ananthan, ‘Surabhi’, Chompal, Vatakara, Kozhikode

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Yesterday’s newspaper is today’s wastepaper – at least for most of us.  But not for 74-year-old M.A.Ananthan, who has created a sort of contemporary history using newspaper clippings of more than 50 years.  These clippings, arranged under different and apparently random headings like Non-Resident Keralites, Police Excesses, Elephant, Einstein, Women’s Liberation etc. throw light on the chronicle of the times as seen through the reporter’s eyes.

It is possible that such a classified collection of paper clippings wouldn’t be available even in newspaper offices.  Whatever the reason that prompted him to embark on this strange venture, the seeds for the same were planted in his mind when he was living in Tiruchirappally.  Ananthan’s father had first sent him there in 1945 to remove him from the arena of freedom struggle, which was inviting police brutality on the young man. 

He had gone to Tiruchirappally again in 1949, this time to earn a living.  Here he donned many roles, one of which was as a vendor of Malayalam newspapers.  It was during this time that Ananthan realized the calling of his life.

Even after coming back to Kerala and settling down at ‘Surabhi’, Chompal, Vatakara, Kozhikode he continued his self-motivated work.  Anyone going through Ananthan’s files will be struck by his classification and the details available in each category.  For example there is a file on Drowning in Wells and another on Heart Operation.  After going through these files, Dr.Cheriyan, the noted cardiologist from Chennai, has commented on Ananthan’s effort.

Perhaps we could call it Ananthan’s own encyclopedia or his attempt to generate order out of the chaotic medley of topics that are covered in newspapers.




Courtesy: E.V.Sreedharan, Kerala Kaumudi, February 16, 2003

Contributed by: Administrator


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