Dedicated to Prof.C.V.Subbarama Iyer , former Principal of University College ,Trivandrum who was in hushed tones referred as Professor in my village Chelakkara.
Parents of Prof.Subbarama iyer
(My father's uncle and Aunt)
Sixty years back , I was a very inquisitive and intelligent student who was unfortunately poor , without anybody to guide me in my intense effort to climb up the difficult mountain of achievement .Many angels came at appropriate times as beacon lights to guide me in my path of progress . One of them was Prof .C.V.Subbarama Iyer , who was my father’s cousin (maternal aunt’s son) who had returned back to settle down in the village Chelakkara where I was living at that time. I would like to write here about this very great selfless and learned human being .
My grand father (the uncle of Prof.C.V.Subba Rama Iyer) who belonged to Puducode lost all his property and was searching for means to sustain himself and his family . He had five sisters , living in different parts of South India and Kamakshy was the eldest sister. She and her husband Vengam Pattar invited my grand father to settle down in Chelakkara. They helped my grandfather till he died at a young age and later they did all that they could to help the family that he left behind.He had left his widow and a son and three daughters. My father Kunjuraman was that son. He was the only Ammanchi to all children of the family of Venkam Pattar and was called as Ammanchi (maternal uncle’s son) by all of them.
Subbaraman was the eldest son of Venkam Pattar and Kamakshi. He had the thirst for education, In the local village school , there was only first three standardS. After finishing them, Subbaraman , who would have been 8 or 9 years old had to walk 8 miles to the middle school in the morning and return by walk the same distance in the evening . After the middle school , he moved to Trichur to study in the High School. Though we know that he studied in C.M. S.School in Trichur, we do not know how he supported himself . The father of the well known late Cartman Ramaswamy , Sri I.G.Srinivasa Iyer was his contemporary there .
Somehow Subbaraman decided that he would study in St.Joseph’s college Trichy (which was the nearest college giving post graduate education.) .The train service started during those times from Olavakode only and buses used to run with firewood as fuel (I have travelled in such buses in 1948) .None of us again know how Subbaraman travelled to Trichy . He chose to do Post Graduate degree in Mathematics . During those days only very intelligent people used to study Mathematics. Since there was no one in his family to advise him, possibly he was advised by one of his High School teachers. After he completed his education he worked as a school teacher in Cherthala and Changannoor of the Travancore kingdom and later joined and started his college career as a tutor and then as a Lecturer in University College, Trivandrum( then known as Maharaja’s College), which was as famous as the Presidency College, Madras . All his life he worked there .
Venkatraman, his eldest son was fascinated by his father’s profession and studied upto Ph.D and chose his father’s profession. Prof Subbaraman by working all his life as a teacher in one of the top post graduate colleges in Kerala earned lots and lots of wealth in the form of students and friends who worshipped him. After his retirement he was much sought after by managements of other private colleges, but he was not lured by the offers. He wanted to settle down in his native village which did not have any of the facilities he enjoyed in Trivandrum. But nevertheless he saw to that all his five sons and daughter got good education and were all well placed in life. Both father and son were committed and dedicated to their noble profession and they never amassed wealth by private tuition or writing text books, though they were approached by several bodies in this regard.
A major reason behind this was that Prof. Subbaraman wanted to help his fellow human beings and make his village Chelakkara a very glorious village . I am giving below some of his social activities which made my village a better place to live in . These information has been collected from his various family members:-
1. Repairing and overhauling the huge compound wall of the village temple :
I understand that around the later half of the 1930s, death occurred to the small daughter of Prof Subbaraman. This affected him very much and at that time he had come during summer vacation to stay along with his other family members to the Chelakkara gramam. At that time the huge outer wall of the Narasimha murthy temple of the Gramam was in a dilapidated condition. The local people requested the Professor to help them rebuild the wall. Prof Subbaraman put his heart and soul in this matter , raised funds from his friends and relatives apart from his own donation and got it repaired . The major donors for this job were Rama Iyer , the brother- in -law of his younger brother and his partner Munshi Lal , who both were running a hotel in Mysore. The grateful village engraved their names on the pillar of the western gate of the temple.
2.Till 1947, Chelakkara village was under the Cochin Kingdom .There was a small anchal office(post office) , a police station apart from the School ( which had grown in to a High School by that time). Prof Subbaraman felt the absence of Telegraph facilities in the village because , due to very late information about the death of his parents , he could not reach in time to perform the death rituals of both his parents,.So after independence when CHelakkara came under the Travancore-Cochin state . with the help extended by his friends and students Prof .Subbaraman brought to Chelakkara the telegraph facility and within another one year with the help of Sri Ramakrishnan who was a senior officer in telephones he brought the telephone facility also to Chelakkara.
3.He was also the working force behind getting electricity to Chelakkara Village . At that time, a student of his called Sri Ramaswamy Iyer was a high ranking official in the Electricity Department . Though the nearest electric pole was at Vazhakode which was several miles from Kerala , Sri Ramaswami Iyer saw to it that electricity was brought to Chelakkara . It is interesting to know that , the consumer no.1 was given to Srinikethan ,the house of Prof.Subbaraman at that time.
4.It was Venkam Pattar the father of Prof .Subbaraman who was responsible for widening the roads on the eastern and western path ways around the temple .There is sufficient documentary evidence to point out that with his funds he purchased the land from other well meaning persons and gave it for the public good.
5. Prof. Subbaraman also took a leading part in widening the path from Kakka Thodu to the Banyan tree near Bhoothankottu Kulam so that ,
a. There was adequate space there for the Velichapadu , chendai and other paraphernalia which used to start from under the banyan tree to the vela Purappad of Anthimahakalan temple, which even today is a great festival of the village .
b. The Brahmhins pall bearers could carry the dead bodies of other Brahmins without much problem to the cremation ground which was near the Chelakkara Thodu,
6 The Chelakkara Village pond called Bhoothankottu kulam (Supposed to be dug by ghosts) was in a very dilapidated condition. Since the entire village depended on that tank for bathing and washing clothes , Prof SubbaRaman toiled very hard to get it completely cleaned and repaired , mainly collecting funds from his students, friends and other co –villagers apart from his own contribution.
7. He took a very leading part in bringing a Govt. Hospital to Chelakkara. Funds were raised with his own contribution as well as from the public .Till that time the nearest Govt. Hospitals were either at Ottupara or Pazhayannur.
8. For a few years he was the President of Chelakkara Brahmana Samooham. He also used to take a leading part in the conduct of Vaikunda Ekadasi in the Temple.
When once I visited Chelakkara ( from Secunderabad) for vacation, my mother took me to visit Prof Subbaraman and introduced me to his two sons who were approximately of my age .He showed me his immense collection of books and gave me permission to borrow any book that I want from there.I who was accustomed to play carrom board in Secunderabad ( I had participated in a state tournament there when I was 11 years old) found that they had a Carrom board in his house also .Then I started visiting their home daily to borrow books and play carom as well as chitchat with his two sons who were my friends. It was at this time, I read Mahabharatha (book of 5 volumes with about 10000 pages) , Bhagavatham, several books on Vedas and several books on mathematics from the treasure like library of the Professor.
I had to return to Chelakkara after completing my SSLC in Secunderabad due to force of circumstances , At that time my family was in financial doldrums and my father had almost decided to put me in the local typing school . At that time Prof.Subbaraman who was a cousin of my father persuaded my father to provide me with higher educate . He said that he will provide help to our family in as many ways as possible . Again after completing my Intermediate in Sree Kerala Varma College, Trichur , it was he and his son Prof.C.S, Venkatraman (Thankanna to me) who managed to get me admission for a Post Graduate course in Annamalai university and again it was he who persuaded my father to send me to Calcutta to specialize in Statistics . When my sister’s marriage was celebrated during my studies , it was he who gave sufficient loans to my father .
Looking back into my life , I feel that this great man who had only kindness and love in his heart was responsible for making me . Prof Subbarama Iyer , his wife (ammini athan Manni) , Prof Venkataman and our dear Thankanna Manni have all bid farewell to this world. Even at this age of 75 , my eyes get filled with tears when I recollect about them. I am what I am and my siblings are what they are due to my parents who sacrificed all their pleasures for educating us . But it was Professor Athan (my father’s Athan) , his wife Ammini Athan Manni, my dear Thankanna and the the great lady Thankanna Manni who guided me and my parents and gave us encouragement at every step in our struggle to go up.
In their memory I am shedding tears of sorrow and thank God for providing me(us) with these selfless relatives , what I am now . I do not know how to express my gratitude to him.
I am deeply grateful to my Athan Kuttis Sri.C.S..Balarama murthy and Sri C.S.Balasubramanyan (sons of Prof.Subbarama Iyer) and Sri Babu Subbaraman, Sri Rajan and Smt Brinda (Grand children of Prof.Subbarama Iyer ) who edited whatever I wrote, supplied facts unknown to me andmade possible for me to do the dedication to the great Professor