The nation celebrates its 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday. The Indian government announced the Padma Awards on the eve of Republic Day as per convention. Of the four Padma Vibhushans, 17 Padma Bhushans and 107 Padma Shri are awarded this year. The Keralites honored with the civil awards are environmental campaigner Dr Sosamma Iype, poet and literary critic P Narayana Kurup, Kalaripayattu exponent Unny Gurukkal and literacy campaigner KB Rabiya.
Dr Sosamma Iype – A Life Dedicated to Livestock Vechur
82-year-old Dr. Sosamma Iype, known as “Vechur’s Amma”, saved the rare breed of Vechur cow from the brink of extinction and worked hard to increase its population. A retired veterinary professor and researcher at Mannuthy Veterinary College, Thrissur, she established Vechur Conservation Trust to care for Kerala’s unique cattle breed. Today, there are 5,000 to 6,000 Vechur cattle in Kerala.
Sosamma, who holds a doctorate from the National Dairy Research Institute, was head of the genetics and breeding department. Her story of how she overcame opposition to the popularization of Vechur cattle breeding appeared in “Njayarazhcha” in its January 16 edition. Sosamma is from Niranam in Kuttanad. She resides in Mannuthy. The late Abraham Varkey was her husband.
P Narayana Kurup – A writer, rooted in the Indian ethos
P Narayana Kurup, 87, is a writer who has always written poems that reflect Indian ethics and traditions. His poems based on classical musical “ragas” and “krithis” are unique. He won the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for Poetry and Criticism.
His main collection of poems are Nishagandhi, Kadalasu Kappal, Nedumkavithakalum and Kurumkavithakalum, Hamsa Dhwani, Asthra Maliyam, Apoornathayude Saundaryam, Kimputer, Narayanathu Kavitha and Bhoopalam. Kaviyum Kavithayum, Vritha Padanam, Kavya Bimbam, Thanathu Nadakam and Thanathu Kavitha are some of his books on literary criticism.
He was an offer to the services of the Central Secretariat. He was also an editor at the Central Information Service and a guest editor at the Encyclopedia Institute. He is from Haripad. Now he resides at Indira Nagar in Peroorkada near Thiruvananthapuram.
Unny Gurukkal – Took Kalari to world heights
C Sankara Narayana Menon aka Unnny Gurukkal, 93, has popularized the martial art of Kalaripayattu among common people over the years. He also saved the Kalari (Kalari Chikitsa) medical treatment system from the brink of non-existence. Thousands of students from foreign countries visit Vallabhatta Kalari led by him at Chavakad in Thrissur.
He began his practice of “kalari” at the age of six at the Mudavangattu Tharavadu Kalari under the tutelage of his father Sankunni Panicker. He performed his “arangettam” at the age of 16. He has given Kalari training and organized exhibitions in the United States, France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Russia, China, Singapore and the Arab Emirates United.
KB Rabiya – At the forefront of promoting literacy
KB Rabiya was first noticed by the Malayalees when she became active in literacy mission activities despite her physical infirmities. She is from Thirurangadi in Malappuram district. She is the daughter of the late Moosakutty Haji and the late Biyachutti Hajumma. Her legs became completely paralyzed due to an attack of polio when she was a standard 10th grader.
Although her formal education ended with studies up to the pre-graduation level, she acquired vast knowledge through voracious reading. She founded an institute “Chalanam” and started employment training courses for women and the disabled. In 1993, his diary notes “Akshara Hridayam” were published. Rabiya’s life story “Rabiya Avalude Katha Parayunnu” was published by the State Literacy Mission in 1995. She was also awarded the “Vanitha Ratnam” award instituted by the Department of Social Welfare in 2013.