Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dedicated to Prof.C.V.Subbarama Iyer - A beacon light who showed me light in darkness

 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.  

By
P.R.Ramachander

                                 

Prof.Subbarama  Iyer


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

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