THIS festschrift, which is a compilation of papers on India’s past and present, is dedicated by learned Indologists to Alappet Sreedhara Menon who is also known as ‘Ranke of Kerala’s history’. The festschrift is divided into five parts. The first part is devoted to a short biography and pen-sketches presented by his friends and acquaintances; the second discusses pre-modern aspects of India; the third part discusses modern Indian polity and culture; the fourth part deals with contemporary issues and the fifth contains description of Kerala’s past and present.
The first part tells in brief the life and achievements of AS Menon. Known as a professor par excellence of Kerala’s history and culture, Alappet Sreedhara Menon was born in 1925 at Ernakulam and after graduating from Trichur and postgraduating from the University of Madras, he secured his masters degree from Harvard University, USA. He wrote his first book Indian History in 1956 and served as Registrar at the University of Kerala. Subsequently he wrote Cultural Heritage of Kerala, Social and Cultural History of Kerala and many such books. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2009 by the Government of India for his exceptional contribution in the field of academics.
The second part presents papers by well-known archaeologists of India and sheds light on the early Iron Age. Dr A Sundara raises problems and prospects of South Indian archaeology in the light of Brahmagiri excavations by Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1947) and the consequent work done in successive decades by archaeologists. Dr KN Dikshit explodes the myth that the Harappan sites area concentrated along the River Indus and its tributaries and strengthens the view that a flourishing Indus-Saraswati culture was a part of the Asian Bronze Age culture. Dr SA Pandit highlights the value of Kanheri caves in the history of western India. Dr Edward Weber identifies himself with Vishnu bhakti and gives a commentary on Hindu experience of the hold Vishnu had on Vedic references. Dr Surekha Sawant treats Pandharpur as the nerve centre of spirituality in Maharashtra. Dr Ila Ved discusses genesis and growth of the Indian bhakti spirit in the light of the Krishna cult of Dwarka and Bet Dwarka.
The last and final part consists of eight Keralogical studies with Dr MGS Narayanan bringing out the correlation between Malayalam and Kerala culture. Dr PJ Cheriyan wants the amphora and other evidence that have been collected on excavations at Pattanam in North Parur of Cochin to be treated as a world heritage sight. Dr Beena Sarasan depicts the history of Venad’s Valluvanad as against the real Valluvanad of Malabar area. Dr KKN Kurup epitomises the Dutch policy in Malabar while M Gopalakrishnan highlights Dutch contribution to Kerala’s agriculture. There are a few other papers with the last paper on land reforms brought about in Kerala talking of the re-organisation of states based on language.
(Vijayalakshmi Publications, Institute of Kerala Studies, Ganga Bhavan Complex, P.R.A.G. 58, GPO Lane,Trivandrum-695 001.)