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UGC Major Research Project Report
ORIENTAL RESEARCH CENTRE
(Dept. of Malayalam, Govt. Sanskrit College, Pattambi)
UGC Major Research Project
Cultural Geography and Habitat of Bharatappuzha River Valley
UGC Reference Number F.5-104/98dt. 7-9-98/ 24-9-98
Principal Investigator: Dr. N. Madhavan Namboothiry
Project Fellow: Dr. T.Sreevalsan (11-11-99 to 30-06-00)
Technical Advisor: K.K.Nair, Kummanat,Nagarippuram,Pathirippala, Palakkad-Dt KERALA
Period of work 13.10.98 to 12 .10 .2001
Final report submitted to UGC (Extract)
The work has brought out various aspects of cultural formation and social formation, factors hitherto unnoticed, related to Bharathappula river valley which in turn will help to re- assess the present knowledge of Kerala Culture. The Cultural Geography is studied related to the factors of habitat. The river system is the artery of culture of Kerala, and hence the relation of the cultural heritage and Habitat of Bharatappula is an important area of investigation. It is found that the river system is gradually drying up, thoroughly changing the nature of the Habitat, which already made heavy impact on the river system degenerating the artery of culture, and it is gradually dying out. The rural nature of the villages and their cultural streams are already gone forever. It is not only because of the interference 0f urban situations, but the land and environment degenerated to such an extent, only to accommodate urbane urban nature.
Due to the impact of urban factors, most of the cultural signfiers in the river valley along with pre historical and historical monuments are almost wiped out by indiscriminate human activities. The valley has been transformed in to "a burial ground of cultural and historical signifiers". Various factors collectively brought out the present situations of the habitat, river system, and cultural degeneration.
Taking all these in consideration, and to communicate the public, scholars and researchers about the gravity of the situation, a primary survey is conducred to understand the present status. This has been done based on the available writings, research observations, media reports, early Governmental reports, Gazetteers etc. The observations were analysed and supplemented with more than Eighty research papers prepared by scholars of various branches of knowledge. These papers were prepared for a National seminar conducted In 1997, organizes to understand the Legacy of Nila and its relation to Kerala culture. Thus the Introductory part of the project work has two divisions-(1) Introductory related to various physical and cultural aspects. (2) Research papers prepared to understand the problems related to Bharathappula river valley and to identify certain important areas of investigation.
.A few observations of the cultural signifiers distributed in the area
I The present survey proved that most of the prehistoric monuments like umbrella stones, rock cut caves, cists etc were lost for ever, According to I9th C.AD, there were more than 8OOO 1ocations where such monuments existed, At present all those locations are agricultral1ands. The highly distributed settlement patterns, the related Tribal groups, Folk culture and Anthropological situations etc could not be evaluated in a scientific way. A systematic survey of these sites and other aspects are to be carried scientifically. Village and Panchayath based field surveys are to be done.
2 Large number of temple structures, traditional buildings of architectural importance, palaces and ancestral houses of chieftains and aristocratic family houses are re-structured, renovated, sold out or uprooted. These historical monuments are of much importance as far as Bharathappula river valley is concerned, which was the cradle of STANI family rule a peculiar Feudal system existed in Kerala.
An exhaustive village wise survey is to be taken up to protect them. Rule of the Feudal families is discussed at length under “SWARUPAMS”(See list of publications).
3. Most of the stone inscriptions of early period are seen damaged and thrown away in the vicinities of the temples. Unique inscription of erected in the 10th C AD at Tirumirracode is one of the best examples to the great damage done to such very important inscriptions. These are to be deciphered and o be kept at a central place or preserved at the site itself.
4. The survey revealed that all most all the palm leaf manuscripts existed in the ruling families, temples and in aristocratic families were lost forever. There is no way to locate the houses where they exist.
5., Paintings in the temple structures, various patterns of icons, wooden carvings, house hold articles of early period are also lost forever.
6 A huge number of art forms and ritualistic arts related to tribal culture were existed in the area.
Large number of them is now out of seen. The remaining folk arts are heavily damaged or transformed due to modernization trends.
However, protection and preservation of all these are a desideratum. Village wise surveys, setting up of village museums and village cultural registers etc can protect them from damage.
7, Formation of" village cultural registers" correlating and corroborating all cultural factors are already taken up in the survey of VANIYAMKULAM Panchayath Land records prepared by the officials of the British Govt: based on rigorous local survey of British period include all details of land and cultural centres called .These are the “A” registers or "First settlement records" .The registers are not kept in the village offices. These records are of great value to toponymical investigations and preparation of various kind of distribution maps. During the survey it became clear that thousands of illegal transactions of lands were taken place in villages, since the original documents with maps and other details are not available for reference. The common people are unaware of the availability field maps with field names (family names) and the area of their field with its boundaries. Hence so many alterations are done by the concerned authorities. Ownership problems, social frictions and legal procedures were originated originated far and wide. Revenue Villages were formed such that the clustered settlements of Tribals and lower castes are divided and separated and they became under different revenue villages. This shows the famous ”DIVIDE AND RULE” implemented at grass root level by British rulers. There are family records,palm leaf manuscripts Ceerickal records and Devaswam records and all these involves “AN AND EARTH” relations.( See charts ) Formation of "Cultural registers" of each village includes all these factors. This is the only way to preserve the knowledge of Village culture.
8, Audio and video recordings of cultural factors of each village are to be prepared and kept in the Village cultural centre.
The survey and study proved that heavy degeneration of the habitat has already been taken place in the river system and degenaration water resources is due to the urban interferences of the early and medieval periods Nature of habitat and cultural changes are inter-related matters. One of the major aspects of the degeneration was the heavy demographic changes, due to migration of various groups of people in the valIey to utilise the resources or the area. To expand trade and agricultural activities and permanent settlements by constructing large building complexes on both sides of the river banks. The feudal chieftaincies and aristocratic families who ruled the area were very large in number . There was no central power to control the URBAN activities on the banks of river. These ruling famiIies had extensive landed properties, forest ,lands, temple centers, ware-houses and markets Iargely distributed in the area which were managed by them according to their will and pleasure. The forest produces were the important trade items in the NILA RIVER VALLEY during Early and Medieval period.
By the end of the IIth C .AD, the local chieftains called utaiyavars came into power, and the central power off Kulasekharas ended.The”UTAIYAVARS” became the rulers called SWARUPAMS. During this period, these rulers and their subordintes or STHNIS became the land owners.During the period(12th-18th) they controlled all activities. It It is incorrect to say that PoerandWealth wasunder the control of BRAHMINS of Kerala during these periods . All these expansions of early urbanisation processes had done heavy damage to the habitat of Bharathappla river valley which in turn collectively forced the river system to dry up. The topography of the land on both banks of the river is peculiar, with large undulated upper table lands hills hillocks and plains.
The slope 0f' the land through out the length of the river on both sides is comparatively high.Thus all activities on both sides will adversely affect the riverbed. Along with this, the thickly forested land on both sides which were private properties had changed to barren lands due to indiscriminate de forestation.Detailed study of thesc factors and historical backgrounds and the inter related aspects are to be studied under Geopolitics .This study also has been taken for the first time in Kerala.(See Malabar studies.) Zamorins palace records are studied for the first time in this project in 1999 .
The records were recovered by the principal investigator in 1978 and an exhaustive work under the title "The unseen pages of Zamorins histyor" was published in I987.
The analysis of the records proved that the Zamorins Calicut implemented a peculiar system of rule
Bharathappula river valley. Thus, the activities of the power structure was the major stream of force, which moulded the cultural and social formations of Nila river valley.
fora long period (12th C AD to 18th C AD )in the major part of the Even though the land or Kerala was ruled by more than 60 chieftains ruled over Kerala the period 12th CAD to 18th CAD, none of them was rigorously studied, resulting an "Unseen Ages of Administration of land and people of KERALA". The study will contribute heavily to the Cultural, political and social history of Kerala in general, and study of cultural Geography of Bharathappula river in particular. Hence the study was taken up for the first time to throw limelight on the problems of Medieval Cultural Heritage.
LOCAL HISTORY – VANIYAMKULAM:
Analysis of village history and culture is taken up. An earlier work based on Calicut, the Capital city and Port of Zamorins of Calicut was the modeI investigations of village history. It took nearly 13 years to bringout a scientific methodology. The local history investigation is mainly depended upon Toponomy,folklore, and other signifiers of village culture collected from field work CULTURAL REGISTERS OF VILLAGES A PIONEERING METHODOLOGICAL CHANGE IN STUDYING VILLAGE HISTORY IN GRASSROOT LEVEL WAS THE PREPARATION OF VILLAGE CULTURAL REGISTER.IT WAS BSED ON THEQUESTIONAIRE MALAYALANTE VAZHIYATAYALANGAL RELEASED ON 22-11-1999 BYDr K.P. MOHANAN DCDC OFUNIVERSITY OF CALICUT(SeeReports in 9)
Hence village wise rigorous fieId work was conducted using a comprehensive questionnaire under the Title “MALAYALANTE VAZHIYATAYALANGAL” was distributed inn the valley. It was a booklet of 1000questions and distributed in more than 600 villages. This was Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary questions. Thus the work was a pioneering one. Preparation of “CULTURAL REGISTERS” was also a pioneering work. The work was started in 1997 . Later it was included as a case study of UGC project . In 2000 the work was approved by the Gazeteer Dept. of Govt: of Kerala and published under the title “VANIYAMKULAM VIJNANEEYAM”. Later the pioneering methodology was approved as a model for preparation of such Gazeteers in all Panchayths in the state as per media reports. It is a fact that the dept: has not acknowledged the work done by Vaniyamkulm panchayat or UGC work.
The major aim of this venture was to make awareness among the people about the local history, a hitherto untouched branch of history. This will have to be done collectively with participation of the community and accademicians. For bringing them in a common forum a research council was established and a multidisciplinary Journel”VIJNANACHINTHAMANI” was also published .
HABITAT REPORT AND A SAND MINIG PROJECT (pioneering works)
A comprehensive Habitat study of the river system has been completed under the project and it is the first study of this kind in Kerala. The study has two parts (I) Environmental and water resources (2) New Sand mining project. The work was done with the help of Co-investigator Sri. K.K. Nair, a professional Hydrologist and Mining expert.(TEXT OF THE REPORT IS ATTACHED.THE REPORT WAS SUBMITTED TO THE GOVT:OF KERALA FOR IMPLIMENTATION See Media reports)
The river system has not yet been put to survey and fixed the boundaries of at least the mainstream . This situation has brought opportunity to riverbed encroachment. Water courses are diverted . The direction of the river in many locations are seen changed, the river bed is used to illegal agricultural purposes and other purposes. In order to avoid survey of ”The river" is system is very important. Many suggestions are put forward to protect the river system.
Indiscriminate sand mining can be controlled by implementing ”Sand mining Project" proposed in this research work. The system suggested will avoid river pollution. With the help of the system Scientific sand mining is possible. Economic assessment shows that the earlier Auction system of sand mining brought only Rs 33,57,064 per year.lllegal sand drawal has seen to the effect of the Rs 31,70,640 per year, making the total income from the produce Rs 3,0213,576/- per year. When sand drawal permits were issued the Iegal annual income was about 5,28,00,000.the value of sand loosing by illegal transaction is Rs4,38,00000.
If the present sand mining project is implemented, the expected income per year is 3,27,497 loads of sand or Rs 13,09,98800 per year in the place of 1,32,000 loads under the permit system, which shows a saving of 1,95,497 loads of sand per year.
Thus actually the the Govt. of Kerala will get an amount of Rs 13,09,98,800 per year by implimenting the Sand mining project. The worth of sand for Rs 4,3800,000 is saved in the river bed which is being lost by illegal sand drawal. In total the income out of' Sand Mining as per the project will be 1747,98,800 Rupees Per year.
(Approx: 18 crore rupees)
KERALA CULTURE –A NEW APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM
Volume I Topography, Geography, and other physical aspects of the riiver and river valley (Details: Unpublished.MSS.500pages.)2
Volume II Traditional knowledge of the river. This is a volume of Eighty research papers .For the first time a seminar was conducted with focus on a river system as far as Kerala is concerned .The subject was LEGACY OF NILA. .It was inaugurated by Sri K.R.Narayanan,Honble VICE PRESIDENT OF INDI.A in Feb 1997.(un pub: 600 pages of MSS)
Volume III PART I &PART II
Part I deals with the problem of”MALAYALAN” the name of the people of KERALA. Malayalam is the name of the land. This problem is put forward for the first time in the history of KERALA.
PART II This part is the rigorous study of Geopolitics, administration and related aspects of the area from 8th C.AD to 18th C.AD, with special study on Zamorins of Calicut, , who. ruled the river valley in the Medieval period Title of the work is "MALABAR STUDIES- Zamoins land" (Approved for publication in 1999 and pulished in 2006 by state institute of languages Govt:of Kerala.(Most of he palm leaf MSS were copied and recently all of them are digitalized and preserved in the Vallathol reearch trust Edappal Sukapuram. Two volumes were published.1.MAMAKAM 2.Records of CORONATION ceremonies of STHANIS. Edt:DR.N.M.nampootiry.
The study of Kerala culture in grass root level is attempted in the light of new factors emerged out of the present study.’ KERALA SAMSKARAM – AKAVUM PURAVUM’a book in Malayalam is published (Seethe review).A list of volumes and summary of contents is given below. Detailes of each problem separately given. The signifiers collected are not at all used to reinterpret Kerala Culture till this work is done.
VOL IV Vaniyamkulam Vijnaneeyam Vol.I.It is the pioneering work which brought out a methodology to study VILLAGE HISTORY in the Kerala context. All Source materials collected for the purpose is preserved by the panchayat. The work was taken up by the Panchayat and all expenditures were met by them. Editor: P.K.Sivadas Chief investigator :Dr.N.M.Nampootiri. The work was published by the KERALA COUNCIL OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH .They have not acknoledged these facts. It is a clear case of INTELLECTUALDIS HONESTY(SeeWeb- www.keralahistory.ac.in) Questionaire and reports are in the Govt College library, Pattambi, KERALA.
VOL V & Vol: VI
The Habitat report comprises of two volumes V and VI. The Vth vol is analysis of environmental problems .VIth volume is aproject report for SAND MINING.(unpublished).
The seventh volume of the work is a theoretical and methodological dessertation for taking up the Cultural studies of Kerala, Co-ordinating traditional studies and the new studies based on village history and regional studies.During the period 1975-1987 a Toponymical based on CALICUT was done .This PhD work on CALICUT is under publication of calicut university.(See details in volume contents)
A work on the problem of “Malayalan”is also completed.
Additional volumes on family Histories, Temple complex studies, Regional studies, Commmunity studies, Chieftaincy studies etc were also completed.(Seelist of other works).
Additional Volumes: Vyavaharamaala,Leelatilakam,Desamangala caritham, Vellayute caritram, AND more than TWENTY volumes of Zamorins records
CONTENTS OF VOLUMES
Part A I
Details of Study:
State of Source materials:
Recent research papers and the background :knowledge :
Some hypothetical observations reigarding these aspects:
Geo- Politics: General review Pioneering work on Local History:
The Problem or Malayalan and Malayalam, title Land:
Tinai System and Malayalans : : The Malanadu culture:
Sthani families under Zamorins :
- 'Saivas, Vaishnavas and Jains.
Tirunavay and Mamakam
Tiru mttakode and Muttarayas
-vira saivas. , Moothans, and Jains :
Saivaa Vaisnava feud, Jains and . aspects of Great Culture under Survey:
Origina1studies on art, architecture and Family culrure Art,Archetecture,andFolklore.(seevol:vii)
Aspects of' Transformation of .Ma1alayala family: (Malabar
(More investigations were done and are under way after the project ):
PA RT B .
Malabar Studies'- Contents :
Power Structure or Zamorins of Calicut Teritory,PORT PLANNING,URBANISATIONEtc.:
Power Struclure Hierarchy:
Court: Asthanam :
Hierarchy of Administrative divisions:
Interferences of Power and Great Culture:
Integration of Little Culture. Centralization of ECONOMY:
Emergence of Tarawad" and Social Fragmentation:
The Suppressed Class:
Ongoing grass root levelanaysis related to Zamorins rule:
Zamorins Control and stress on
Nila River Valley:
The Titles and related social aspects
Titles and Joint Family System Aspects of MatrilineaI System AS[pects of Sambandham:
Tem[ples and Revenue. collection: - Bhakti and Temple /\rts :
Consolidation of sosiety in temples:
Need of Comparative Study wth Chera Period:
PART C VI
Panchayath Vijnaneeyam .-A Case Study
i. Man - Land -Evaluation of Change of Habitat.
Change of Habitat in Historical perspective. ii. Scientific suvey report on the change
Contemporary issues. PART E
VIII Man power trained
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