The Proceedings of the The 38th annual session of South Indian History Congress was held at Calicut from January 28th to 30th 2018 (2)

The Proceedings of the The 38th annual session of South Indian History Congress was held at Calicut from January 28th to 30th 2018 (2)


What is “scientific” history, history writing and historiography? With reference to the speeches of scientific and secular history etc., the following observations are made in the context: As I have been attending many IHC, SIHC, TNHC, APHC and othe conferences, this type of biased, prejudiced and preconceived talk cannot bring out the facts of the status of historiography of the just past and recent past. The “scientific and secular history” slogan has been going on in many conferences, but, how such methodology has been followed is reflected in their proceedings. It is well-known fact that Communists have been ideologists and they have created a pattern of historiography that is not all “scientific” or “secular” in practice. The ideological history writing or historiography has not been precise, exact and objective to get any scientific results. In fact, they always assert that “Historians need not have any objectivity.” What is “objectivity” is impartiality, detachment, independence, neutrality and so on! So whey vouchsafe that they need not have these parameters, they cannot even cone near to “scientific” methodology. When coming to the question of “secular” aspect of history writing, they have not been balanced, reasonable and objective in their approach in handling “Puranas, Itihasas,  traditions, myths, folklore and stories about India’s past,” as they attack, accuse and blame only one group of believers and not other believers. Perhaps, the Keralite historians remember very well as to how T.K. Joseph’’s hand was chopped off by a fundamentalist for a blasphemous question added in a Malayalam question paper, of Newmanns College, Thodupuzha, Idukki in 2000. And therefore, all, particularly, youngsters have started realizing the fact. If anybody follows, adopts and enforces double-standards, duplicity and deception with ideology that gets exposed. In India, if the 70 year history is understood, people would decide.


When IHC was held in Thiruvanathapuram, the President of India stressed for objectivity to be maintained by historians!

SIHC, tolpavai kuthu

Leather Picture Dance / Shadow Puppet Show – 6.30 pm: Evening, there was “Thol Pavaik kuthu” [Leather Picture Dance], the drawings drawn on leather, made into characters, were placed behind white cloth with background illumination and supported with dialogue, song and music. It was performed by Sri Ramachandra Pulavar[1]. It is just like “puppet show” in a different way. The performing head-artist claimed that it originated in 9th cent CE, performed at “Kuthu Madam”[2], a stage / theatre for performing, performed at the temple of Bhagawati Amman and only “Kamba Ramayanam” was used for performance. They were / are known as “Pulavar” (poets), but, not in exact sense, but, might have been well-versed in singing “Kamba Ramayanam” by heart. A Condensed version of the Ramayana story as presented in Tholpavakoothu in 21 days parts over 21days is given[3]:

1st day: Birth of Rama,

2nd day: protection of yaga,

3rd day: Seeta’s marriage, 4th day: Setting out for the forests,

5th day: Stay at chitrakoota,

6th day: Anointment of Rama’s sandals,

7th day: Mutilation of Shoorpanakha,

8th day: Killing of Khara, 9th day: Kidnapping Seeta 10th day: Jatayu’s Salvation,

11th day: Bali’ s Moksha, 12th day: Entering Lanka, 13th day: Burning Lanka, 14th day: Vibheeshana’s Advice,


15th day: Building the Bund 16th day: Angada’s Mission,

17th day: Killing Kumbhakarna,

18th day: Killing Atikaya, 19th day: Killing Indrajit, 20th day: Killing Ravana, 21st day: Rama’s Coronation.


At the starting of the performance, Ramachandran Pulavar gave the historical background, that is useful to the audience.

SIHC, tolpavai kuthu.2

Tholpavaikkuthu starting….

SIHC-CU -EMS hall- Kiran endowment lecture

Kasthuri Misro Memorial Lecture: Prof. D.Kiran Kranth Choudary

SIHC-CU -EMS hall- Kiran endowment lecture.2

Kiran krant choudary on art

SIHC-CU -EMS hall- Kiran endowment lecture.3

The poor audience

Memorial and Endowment lectures: The selected paper presenters for this, had been as follows:

  1. Kasthuri Misro Memorial Lecture: Prof. D.Kiran Kranth Choudary, S. V University, Thiruppathi, Andhra Pradesh 28-01-2018 5 pm
  2. Prof. T.R Ramachandran Endowment Lecture: Prof.  S.  Rajavelu,  Department  of  Maritime History  and  Marine  Archaeology,  Tamil  University,  Tanjavoor,  Tamil Nadu.
  3. Prof. B.C Ray Memorial Lecture: Dr. K.N Ganesh, Professor (retired), Department of History, University of Calicut, Kerala.
  4. Prof. B.S. Chandra Babu Endowment Lecture:  Dr. L. Thilakavathi, Department of History Arulmigu Palani Andavar College for Women,  Palani, Tamil Nadu. 29-01-2018 5.30 pm

This became, highly routine, lack lustre and ceremonial sort, as they went on reading from their printed material.  Except, Kiran Kranth Choudary, others had not used even PPT making the session dull and sleepy. As about one hour is given for the presentation, they could utilize the time effectively by telling something new to the audience, instead of compiling the details already available and presenting them. Incidentally, these are printed and circulated among the delegates as booklets and again printed in the proceedings volume verbatim.

SIHC-CU -EMS hall- endowment lecture.Rajavelu

Prof. T.R Ramachandran Endowment Lecture: Prof.  S.  Rajavelu.

SIHC-CU -paper reading-cultural.inside.3

The paper reading sessions continued on second day.

SIHC-CU -paper reading-cultural.inside.6

SIHC-CU -paper reading-cultural.inside.5

SIHC-CU -paper reading-cultural.inside.4

The Second day of SIHC – 29-01-2018 (Monday): The paper reading sessions went on actively on the second day, as there had been hundreds of papers in each section. Now, the sections were shifted to different halls, so that all could be accommodated. There were papers which were of the opinion that the British only taught Indians everything and Indians were so barbaric and were leading wretched lives. It is not known claiming themselves as professors, HODs and above all as historians, they could make such statements. Had India been so despicable, worthless and useless, why all the European Companies should have come here to do business? Had Indians been barbaric (Marked by crudeness or lack of sophistication), uncivilized and fit for noting, useless fellows, the Europeans would not have come here to buy textiles, spices, perfumes and other goods. In fact, why they wanted to come, established companies there and factories here, how much profits, they earned and other details should be studied by the Indians. If the historians are really serious, they can very well cross-check the claims of the European s with that of Indians and find out the factual conditions, as the Indian society has been living without break for many years, unlike the Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek and other civilizations disappeared leaving relics behind.

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-1

Second day rooms were changed for the paper reading sessions

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-2

However, the paper presenters  did not change

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-3

Papers were read and they went away!

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-4

EMS seminar Hall…………

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-gangaiya

Gangaiyya presented a paper

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-gangaiya.2

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-KVR

I presented my paper “A Critical study of destruction of Chera ships at Kathalursalai”

SIHC-CU -paper reading-29-01-2018-KVR.2

European documents authentic or not: And ironically, in one section, one historian, professor and writer of books asked the paper presenter as to how to believe the British wrote and recorded in their documents as authentic and reliable. Here, naturally, if historians could not rely upon such documents, then, they might have consigned not only the Europeans accounts, but also the Greek and Arab accounts into dustbin. So for, they have not attempted to verify and cross check the non-Indian narratives with that of Indian counterparts. For the past, they could make sweeping remarks that Indians were not having the habit of writing history and hence they had no history, till Alexander came here to conquest and return the territory to the Indian King. Here, the contrast could be noted as to one historian presented paper amounting to that the British gave everything based on their documents (he was quoting from the writings of the missionaries), whereas, another historian asked about the authenticity of what they wrote.

© K. V. Ramakrishna Rao



[1] Dir. Kalasree Ramachandra Pulavar, Krishnan Kutty Pulavar Memmorial Tholpavakoothu PUPPET Centre, Koonathara, Shoranur-679523, Palakkad, Kerala, Mob: 09846534998, 09539636134, 0466227226;

[2] The Koothumadam or the theatre where the Shadow plays are performed is erected within the temple grounds, but away from the sanctum. It is a long open fronted building. The stage is positioned about 1.5m above the ground. It is constructed according to certain mathematical principles and is based on ancient conventions. It is called the ‘Nalpatheeradi kalari’ which literally means the ‘42 foot stage’. A thin white cotton sheet is stretched in the front of the stage; below this is fixed a black cloth. The white sheet represents heaven and earth whereas black symbolizes the netherworld, Pathalam. These sheets are known as Ayapudava. The open theatre space occupies almost the whole upper part of the facade. During the performance it is covered completely by the screen.  A wooden beam known as the Vilakkumadam with 21 hollows carved in it is hung in position behind the screen. Coconut half-shells are placed in it. Filled with oil and with a cloth wick they function as lamps to light up the screen. The puppets are positioned between the Vilakkumadam and the Ayapudava. That is, the puppeteer holds them up before the row of lamps such that they cast their shadows on the white screen. Almost as long as the building, the Vilaku Madam hangs from the roof.Since Tholpavakoothu is performed for the Goddess, there is a small temple or Kochambalam, opposite the Koothumadam. The Devi watches the show from here with her relatives. This is often a temporary construction. However, there are temples where permanent Kochambalams have been built. In some temples the Goddess’ image is placed within the little temple. Play.html


About kvramakrishnarao

The author, K. V. Ramakrishna Rao graduating from Madras University in 1979 in Physics, then, proceeded to his multifarious activities by acquiring degrees in Psychology, Electronics & Telecommunications and Law. Started his research activities in 1987, he presented papers in national and international conferences and seminars. Presented more than 450 papers and published more than 250 till date (2010) in the proceedings, books, journals and websites covering Sangam Tamil literature, history, astronomy, Comparative Religion, law etc. Starting with writing “Letters to Editor”, he turned his attention towards research in 1987. His areas of special interest are Sangam Tamil literature and Ancient Indian Arts and Sciences. He has edited two books and published two.In 2000, he was invited by the Iranian National Commission for United Nation to present a paper, “Decoding and Decipherment of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat” to commemorate 900th death anniversary of Hakim Omar Khayyam at Neshabouri, Iran. He then visited Mauritius (2001), Sri Lanka (2002) and Malaysia (2003) to present papers. He has been a life member of Indian History Congress, South Indian History Congress, Tamilnadu History Congress, Andhrapradesh History Congress, All India Oriental Conference, Mythic Society etc. He has been an Associate Member of Institution of Engineers (India), Calcutta and General secretary of Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, Tamilnadu. He has been a visiting faculty to National Academy of Customs, Excise & Narcotics, Chennai. After working in two industries, at present he is working in Central Excise department as Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.
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