Sweet Memories About Kerala Kalasamithi
I would like to narrate my sweet memories about Kerala Kalasamithi. I joined this Institute as an Apprentice in the Mechanical Engineering Department in January 1965.
As you know it was decided that Onam will be celebrated as the National festival of Kerala by the first Communist Ministry headed by our late Com. E M S Namboodiripad. (Kerala State was formed on 1st November 1956)
Since the Kerala Kalasamithis birth, we celebrated not only Onam, but also Vishu, Easter and Christmas. We have staged dramas, dances, Kaikottikali, Kummi, Kolattam, Light Music, fancy dress competitions and literary competitions. Many of these functions were held at the OAT. Staff, their families and students participated in these functions. Some of the outstanding dramas were "Mukthi", "Bharana Kakshi MLA" written and directed by a former secretary Sri. N. Natesan(Vattiyurkkavu). The following members have done yeoman service for our Samithi: M/s N.A. Somasundaram, T.A. Sivaraman, K.N. Govindhan, George Mathew, V. Sahadevan, P. Narayana Kurup, P.K. Gopi, V. Ramachandran, M.N. Harifin, Bhaskaran K, Balakrishnan, Chellapan and late Dinesan.
The activities of the Samithi were guided by Sri A.S. Satheesan, Sri R Santhanakrishnan, Sr. V.K. Vidyasagar, James Muricken, Dr. Balachandra Pillai, Dr. Job Kurian. From the students side, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Parameswaran, Mr. Vijayan, Mr. Kartha, Mr. Dilsha, Mr. Anil, Mr. Bhaskaran Nai, gave tremendous support. The campus ladies- Smt. Leela Vidyasagar, Smt Padmavathy Pillai, Smt. Rathy C.N. Kutty, Smt. Kuriacose, Smt. Sridevi Antharjanam, Smt. Sindhu B. Pillai, Smt. Shantha Somasundaram, Smt. Natesan, Smt. Roja Devi, Smt. Shoba Nair, Smt, Prema AnathaSubramaniam have contributed enormously for the success of the Samithi functions. We also acknowledge our thanks to Sri. N. A Radha, brother of Sri N. A. Somasundaram, Seva stage for helping make-up and stage setup.
We have conducted Malayalam classes for interested persons in the Campus. We have donated an amount to Vanavani Matriculation Higher Secondary School for Malayalam scholarship. This amount was collected through the sponsored programme 'Santhosh Melodies' held at OAT.
We have participated not only in cultural activities but also in social activities. We have collected old clothes and have distributed them as well as food to the flood affected people at Gandhi Mandapam We have received appreciation letters from the Institute, Guild of Service, Rotary Club and the Governor of Tamil Nadu. We have participated in drama competitions held by the Madras Kerala Samajam. We have also conducted annual picnics to various picnic spots like Sathanur dam, Ginji fort, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Thiruvannamalai, etc. The picnics were a tremendous success with good participation from our family members and students. An unforgettable Yoga demonstration was conducted by our former secretary Sri K. Velayudhan at OAT. Kerala Kalasamithi has also collected a good amount to help the bereaved families of late Sri Dinesan and Madhavan.
In recent years, on the eve of Onam, skits like Mahabali, Havala, written, acted and directed by our former President Prof. M.S. Gopinathan were tremendous successes. We were also able to screen movies like Chemmeen, Ragam, Vadakkan Veera Gatha, Utharayanam, Niralyam, Vathsalyam, Kilukam and almost all the Manjilar movies through Mr. Andres, a former Research scholar in the Department of Chemistry.
We had maximum membership during the years 1968 to 1974; about 168 staff members, out of while 68 were from Mechanical Engineering Department itself (Thanks to Prof R G Narayanamoorthy, then the head of Mechanical Engineering Dept. and former Director). But today it has come down to about 80 staff members due to retirement/demise etc. Since 1986 till today, I am afraid that we have recruited among the faculty, class IV, III, II and I only about 14 persons.
Today I am proud that we are able to bring out a Souvenir on the eve of the Silver Jubilee of the Samithi. This has been made possible only due to the tireless efforts of the President and all the members.
If I have omitted anybody, kindly excuse me. It is not intentional - but due to age!