OV Vijayan, the celebrated cartoonist and writer has been considered as a legend by all Keralites. But, this generalization did not prevent some miscreants from vandalizing OV’s statue installed in the Smrithi Vanam in Raja’s High School, Kottackal, Malappuram district, Kerala. The statue had been installed by Vidyarangam Kalavedi of the school with the wholehearted support of the Parents Teachers Association.
From the very beginning there were some deliberate movements from the side of Muslim League- controlled Kottackal municipality against the statue. Even though the municipal chairman states that the construction of Smirthi Vanam and statue were done without obtaining municipal permission, people in that area very much know that there is more to than meets the eye. There were lot of protests from the League camp saying that Vijayan had studied in that school only for a few days hence there was no need of a memorial for him. There was also an argument that if at all a celebrity alumnus’ statue was to be installed it should be U.A. Beeran’s. Beeran was a Muslim League minister in Kerala. People of Kerala do not have any other proud or pleasant feelings about him. On the other hand, Vijayan was a famous writer not only in Kerala but also a well known figure throughout the country. English news papers were proud to carry his cartoon once upon a time. His Legend of Khasak (orginal Malayalm title is Khasakkinte Ithihasam) had bagged Kendra Sahithya Academy Award. Elite readers still believe that he missed Jnanapeet Award just between the cup and sip !
When the standoff between the school authorities and municipality turned a point of no return, League MLA Abdul Samad Samadani mediated and an understanding was reached. Municipality had even stepped back from their instruction to the school not to unveil the statue.
In the meantime Vidyarangam Kalavedi had made a super memorial with the statues of snake, pen, book, etc. to commemorate the characters most discussed in the Legend of Khasak. The smrithi vanam was named Koomankavu, the name of a rural junction mentioned in the novel. The whole memorial was awaiting inauguration and unveiling of the statues. But, some anti-social elements shocked the whole state by vandalizing the statue on Thursday, 7th March. Even though the needle of suspicion points towards the municipality and Muslim League, both parties deny it. It is reported that earlier retired chief secretary K. Jayakumar (Retd. IAS) had backed out from the unveiling due to the undesirable attitude of Muslim League and the Municipal authorities. Now, the people of Kerala, the most literate state in the country, feel ashamed of this incident as OV, despite settling down in New Delhi, had been an object of pride of Kerala and Keralites due to his evergreen cartoons and novels, short stories and articles of intellectual genius. Lot of cultural leaders and political leaders have denounced this vandalism.