333rd ANNIVERSARY OF 'HORTUS MALABARICUS'

2012 April 20; 333rd ANNIVERSARY OF 'HORTUS MALABARICUS'& ITTY ACHUTHAN DAY.

For the first time in history the whole village recognised ,remembered and celebrated their forgotten golden heritage and the great son of the soil- Kollatt Itty Achuthan Vaidyan. It was really a momentous occssion for the Kadakkarappally village of Alapuzha District in Kerala,S.India-40 kms.from Cochin.
The function was organised by the 'Kollatt Itty Achuthan Vaidyan memorial trust' at the birth place of the 'Vaidyan;exactly on the white sands in between the remnants of his garden and the ancestoral house .
On 20th April 2012 'The Itty Achuthan and Hortus Malabaricus' commemorative day-the day coincided with the 333th anniversary of the first volume of 'Hortus Malabaricus'-began with remorse and prayers in the morning.
The president of the district panchayat Pratibha Hari lighted the ceremonial lamp in front of the 'Kuryala' (what local people call the remnants of the ancestoral house of Vaidyan).

This followed a get together of local plant enthusiasts which was chaired by Dr.Chandrasekharan and inaugurated by M.M.Arief- member of Kerala Legislative Assembly.Senior ayurvedic Dr.Pavithran's very emotional rendition of a poem on Vaidyan -penned by himself -stirred the gathering and urged them to be proud of their heritage.Next; a class was conducted on some of the plants mentioned in 'Hortus Malabaricus' ;accompanied by video projections by an ayurvedic -Dr.Jayan who heads the recently renamed 'Itty Achuhan memorial ayurvedic hospital' in town-Cherthala..A copy of the collection of poems was released by Arief by giving it to Beena Thilakan-a native of the village-chief analyst of a commercial lab in Cochin..
A member of the family Kollatt Pushkaran thanked the gathering.
A simple traditional lunch was shared by everybody gathered there during the hour long interwel.
The afternoon session started with a fairly large gathering .The function was chaired by the village panchayat president James Chinguthara and inaugurated by P.Thilothaman -who is also a member of Kerala legislative assembly- in presence of chief guest and Block panchayat president Adv.Priyesh kumar.The highlight of the program was the keynote speech by historian Dr. Jayaprakash on 'IttyAchuthan and Kerala's ayurvedic heritage' He traced the historic developments that lead to the unique ayurvedic traditions,the very peculiar caste system prevalent in Kerala at that time and evolution of scores of great ayurvedics like Itty Achuthan Vaidyan.The day wound up after the customery courtesy speeches and finally a 'thanks everybody' speech from Kollatt Murali-also a family member.
As it is understood earlier ;the meeting didn't decide on a fitting memorial to the Vaidyan.
The function was entirely of local effort and done on a shoe string budget.
Even though there were a lot of shortcomings it succeeded in convincing the villagers their rightfull place in history and galvanising them to take a firm resolve in preserving what is left.

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r.thilakan