Friday, December 17


               Usually, the souvenir volumes published in connection with the State school youth festivals contain drab material— mostly photographs of the organisers, office-bearers, students and some vignettes of the performances.
But, this year's Souvenir Committee of the State School Kalotsavam has brought out a comprehensive volume that includes memories of the past festivals. The committee, chaired by Kalamassery municipal chairperson V.M. Arifa and James Mathew as convener, has chosen writer Payipra Radhakrishnan as the chief editor of the souvenir.
The souvenir, titled `Ninavu,' contains writings, responses and memoirs of noted writers and cultural personalities of Kerala about the youth festival. It has become a sort of documentation on the past festivals. For many, it has turned out to be a stroll down the memory lane.
Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan recalls his primary school days at Government Lower Primary School, Kottara. Writer Zachariah writes about his introduction to the world of books as a child, even though reading was not a popular pastime in the Christian homes of his childhood.
The satiric sloka by the old poet Oduvil Kunjikrishna Menon describing a meal in a restaurant in the Ernakulam of those days finds an interesting reflection in a more modern poem by N.K. Desam. Writer Vysakhan remembers Ernakulam. The memories of the late writer V.V.K. Valath are also included.
District Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, K. Padmakumar, DIG, Central Zone; K.S. Radhakrishnan, Vice-Chancellor of Sree Sankara University of Sanskrit; and film star Mammootty recall their memories of childhood stage experiences and participating in competitions.
A discussion, on improving the standards of the youth festival, with Balachandran Chullikkad, Sukumar, Binni Krishnakumar, Cherthala Thankappa Panicker, Kedamangalam Sadanandan, Kalamandalam Sumathi, V.M. Kutti, Kavya Madhavan and Sankaran Namboothiri, is included in the souvenir. There are also short stories and articles by M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Kovilan, M. Mukundan and K.L. Mohanavarma.
But, the most interesting information found in the souvenir is the details regarding some of the past competitions where the superstars of today had won the prizes. Like, Yesudasan Palluruthy winning first prize in vocal music and P. Jayachandran Kuttan winning first prize in mridangam in the second youth festival held at Thiruvananthapuram in 1958.
In the youth festival held at N.S.S. High School, Changanassery in January, 1962, it was the present Education Minister E.T. Mohammed Basheer who won the first prize in elocution.
A brochure of the souvenir, titled `Vilambarakkurimanam,' was released by the Education Minister at the Media Centre on Monday morning.
"This is for the first time that the festival souvenir is being brought out as a literary journal, containing so many articles by the noted writers of Kerala," said Mr. Radhakrishnan.



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