Intro : During the Vishal Hindu Sammelan held on April 5, 1982, Madhavji and Parameshwarji piloted a
resolution to observe Karkkidakam as Ramayana Masam. Now every temple and household observe it as a religious custom.
Ramayana Masam (Month of Ramayan) has been the cup of tea of Keralites for the last several centuries. It is the month of Karkkidakam as per Malayalam calendar of Kollavarsham. It spans between mid July and mid August. It is the period of monsoon when the State witnesses heavy down pour. In the past, they were the days of famine, poverty and unemployment. Because, in an agro-oriented society like Kerala, when heavy rains kept on pouring, people could not go out and could not find any job. Therefore, the poverty and unemployment were the gloomy fates for the State. Those redundant days were devoted to Sadhana and reading Ramayan. Hence Kalla Karkkitakam (hated Kakkitakam) was transformed into Punya Masam (The Holy Month). And, the month obtained the colour and flavour of divine fervour.
But, as the time passed by, the apathy and indifference of the Hindu society also had an effect on the observation of Ramayana Masam. The younger generation gradually deviated away from the divine observation. Eventually, the reading of Ramayan was confined to the older folks. Even the text of Ramayan disappeared from the Kerala houses. Of course, there were souls like Shri P Parameshwaran and Late P Madhavan who took these reneging seriously. Those were the days when Hindus in Kerala were seriously thinking about their cultural erosion and shrinking identity. But, they were incapable to express their grievances. The RSS came forward to moot the idea of Vishal Hindu Sammelan to address the afflictions stared at Hindus.
Several thousands of Hindus congregated in Kochi on the April 4, 1982 under the banner of Vishal Hindu Sammelan. They came out cutting across caste and political lines. It was the luminous proof of the sterling organising capacity of RSS in the State. The august assembly was addressed by Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Vishweshara Theertha of Pejwar Mat, the then RSS Sarkaryavah Prof Rajendra Singh, Dr Karan Singh and RSS veterans like Shri P Madhavan and Shri P Parameshwaran. All Hindu caste organisations participated in the shobhayathra in all grandeur and glamour.
During the delegates’ session of the Sammelan held on April 5, Shri Madhavan and Shri Parameshwaran piloted a resolution to observe Karkkidakam as Ramayana Masam. It was passed unanimously. That is how Ramayana Masam was revived in Kerala. The resolution was not merely a call for the revival of an old custom but with an aim to execute it. And, the people of Kerala were all smiles to accept it in the true spirit. And, now, we can feel, experience and witness the translation of that call into practice. And, it highlights the Keralites’ rededication to Ram and his ideals.
Now, wherever one goes, the temples in Kerala are thrilled with the recitation and reading of Ramayan during the whole month of Karkkidakam. Whether it is in the morning or evening hundreds of thousands of devotees make it a point to participate in it in temples. They read Ramayan in their houses both in the morning and evening. Most of the people avoid non vegetarian food during this month. Schools observe Ramayana Masam during the morning assembly. They celebrate the valedictory function in a befitting manner. Both print and visual media are now giving special coverage and importance to it. Publishing houses are now competing each other to bring out the copies of Ramayan of different sizes and textures. In another words, Ramayan dominates the social-religious-literary arena of Kerala during this month.
It reminds the whole world that we have the great legacy of dedicating our time for reading much before UNESCO selected April 23 as the World Book & Copy Right Day in 2014 and Kerala government declared June 19 as the Reading Day; again, since 1967, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2nd, has been celebrated as Children’s Book Day in Western countries. Kerala takes pride in Ramayana Masam as it denotes the literacy the State enjoyed even centuries ago. —T Satisan, Kerala