Friday, April 2, 2010

Agriculture in KOL puncha fields South Malabar





The institution of village panchayath was developed earliest and preserved longest in India among all the countries of the earth. (Report of the congress village panchaayath committee 1954 pp 9).It was first introduced by king Prithu who ruled India.This was the basic unit of administration from vedic age.Graamani was the chief leader of the village in Rigveda.The gramsabha is mentioned in shanthiparva of Mahabharata and in Manusmrithi.Shreni was the name of the merchant guilds of the old panchayaths and their chief was the sreshti. (chetthy in local Malayalam).In ValmikiRamayana a janapada is a federation of republics, and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (ch 2 Sathrubrahmana) knows it and Arthasasthra in BC 500 describes it.Even during the time of Alexander, 16 janapadas existed in India and the entire south India was a single united janapada called the Andhraka or Andhra country.Megasthenes calls the south Indian Andrake as Pentadas or a great panchayath.Panchajana and panchajani are used in Bhagavatha and in local Tamil
and Malayalam it is Anjoottuvar .

Panchaayathana means the abode of the five groups as a republic .Entire south was a

republic of the five people or panchajana,mentioned in the vedic literature.During time of Alexander North India had split into 15 janpada and south remained the invincible united single republic.

Hieun Tsang&Fa Hien about the productivity and economic solidarity of India opined

that “ The people are flourishing and happy beyond comparison”.Sura Neethisaara speaks of the Indian administrative units as a composite whole that provided composite leadership and management of village affairs.Dharmasathras and sasthras give references of iron and puga or village and town corporations .Archeological evidence prove existence of both.Till the advent of East India company the panchayaths survived the wreck of several dynasties and downfall of empires(S.N.Agarwal .Gandhian constitutionfor Free India ).When political storms burst over the entire land these systems survived (R.K.Mukherjee Local government in ancient India .pp10).Gandhiji in “Panchayaths and its judicial aspects “(Harijan dt 8.12.1946)said this longevity of village state protected the life and property and made civilized life possible.

In 1812 East India company’s committee of secretory’s report of EIC ,observed” Foreign conquerors swept over India ,but village municipalities stuck to the soil like their own kusa grass,The Scythians,Greeks,Saracen,Afghans,Mongols came down from the mountainous lands above .Jew,Arabs,Romans,Portuguese ,Dutch ,French and English and Dane through the seas and set up trade and successive dominations but the religious tradeunions –the villages-remained as little affected by their coming and going as a rock by the rising and falling of a tide.( sir Charles Trevellyn .Industrial Act of India pp320)

This was thus the basic unit of administration as well as the stability and strength of India.An ancient village was a little republic,selfsufficient and autonomous ,governed by its own elected officers satisfying its own needs ,providing for its own education,policing,tribunals,all economic necessities and functions managing its own life as independent selfgoverning units(Aurobindo.Foundations of Indian culture pp403).The free organic village type of co-operation and trust ,and honesty was only very recently learned and streamlined by the machinery of the British Beurocratic system of administration (Ibid 391-392).

Karl Marx wrote:”The small extremely ancient Indian communities still exists ,based on communal ownership of land,upon a direct linking upon manual agriculture and
handicrafts and upon a fixed form of division of labour which is adopted as a cut and dried scheme wherever new communities are founded.They constituted selfsufficient productive entities.The area of land of production range from 100 –several thousand acres.The greater part of the produce is for the satisfaction of the immeadiate needs of the community and not as a commodity.Production itself is independent of division of labour which the exchange of commodities has brought about in the Indian society as well. Every family carries on spinning ,weaving as an accessory occupation(pp 357 -358.Dascapital manuscript pp 693 q C.B.Mammoria).

Minutes of the evidence taken before the select committee on affairs of the East India Company vol 3 1832 pp131-132 Appendix 84 says:- “I therefore wish that the village constitution may never be disturbed and I dread every thing that has a tendency to break them up .”

Dr Atlekar called villages as the axles of the administration from ancient

times.(S.S.Atlekar .Praacheen Bhaaratheeya shashan padhathi pp168).Village

communities grew out of the earliest tribes of India ,who expressed the natural and

geographical conditions of the country ,not from any outside source .The organized

functioning on which the culture grew out of village panchayaths(H.D.Malaviya .Village panchayaths in India 1956.pp77-78)

What is a panch or a panchajana and their panchajanapada?

In Malayalam literature the word is Anjoottuvar (the groups of 500) and Aivar(the

five).The panch groups are the organizing units of 500 each (2500) of a small

janapada.The election of the 5 to 9 members from this group is by consensus /by ability /by the election by showing hands etc.In Kerala the election is based on consensus by allthe five members of the five families and the eldest of the five is selected and all others help him in administratin.From each region a sarpanch or chief look after the affairs and report periodically to the committee of the five in front of the chief.In Bihar the chief is selected without election.And executive committee nominated by him and the members are from 7 to 15 (Ezhunoottuvar).In West Bengal and Rajasthan by show of hands .The number of members depends upon the population of the region.The gramasabha consists of the entire village population and it is they who elect the panchayath

In vedic literature evidence of a strong panchajana and efficient agrarian economy is seen.A wellbalanced socioeconomic political system was established on the same
principle from Kumari to the Himalaya and an ideal form of co-operative agrarian and
industrial society existed in them and in it there was no scope for exploitation of the poor by the rich.As Gandhi said “The production was simultaneous with consumption and distribution”.The vicious system of money-lender economy was checked by this system and was conspicuous by its absence .People had their own Nidhi
(padmanidhi,samkhanidhi etc)to which they contributed on voluntary,co-operative basis in kind or service so that in times of need they could depend upon it.The nidhi was with the central temple and the Guru who is a selfless person attached to it .(A temple centered treasure).In famines ,natural calamities and in other times people were freely fed and looked after with this nidhi and for trade and commerce loans could be taken from this without interest .The whole social structure was on nonviolence and fellow feeling.Dharma was the key word of administration.Village affairs,justice,peace,law and order by watch and word,giving facilities for irrigation ,construction of public works like tanks,lakes,wells,dams,gardens and orchards and public resting places ,building of roads ,common amenities,collection and distribution to all on equal basis,keeping accounts and dealings honestly were considered dharma by each and every citizen.This dharma was the religion .The chieftain and the chief adviser the Guru and the entirepopulation was responsible for these and the people contributed their share by service or by produce which was fixed.Even the village chief was subject to this law.The land belonged to the entire people since it is God’s .At the same time individual families had
the janmam (by birth)properties existing on their ancestral lineages ,honest service of the land for several years etc.These became corrupted and beaurocratic during the British rule and the effort of the independent Indian Governement during the first 3 five year plans was to reestablish the old state.

What were the causes of the decay of the ancient institution during the British rule ?

1.The enhancement of the land revenue to utmost limits which the villager could not meet with .

2.Centralisation of the judicial and executive powers in their own hands .The village functions lost all their ancient age-old powers.The chieftains were converted into just intermediaries between the British Government and the people.They had to obey the law of the new Government and raise the revenue from the people which they did not have.This lead to resentments and revolutions of two types.One was revolution and upsurges by the local chieftains and people together to the British rule.The other was the revolt of the peasant to the Government and the erstwhile chieftains who had turned to be just tax collectors and have lost leadership dharma and became just bulleys ,pleasing either sides and changing sides they became liable to adharma.

4.All means of communication of the ancient people were either destroyed or changed
.The old ways of communication and the preservers of ancient trade routes destroyed and new roots established so that trade could not be carried out between neighbours.

5.Forests destroyed .Fauna,flora and natural foods of people became inaccessible to them .Malnutrition,hunger,and from it clandestine habits originated which were dealt with in the most harsh way by the administration

6.Individualism increased,the old joint family system as a co-operative agrarian and

industrial unit disintegrated and decayed which affected the productivity and economy of the nation.

7.The community life turned to nuclear family.The national disintegration of the

panchayath and its chieftain and its religious centers as distribution centers in need of calamities and famines lead to collapse of entire system.

8.Old panchayaths were informal affairs of the entire village community .Not statutorily constructed.The working was on free will and co-operation of entire people for common good.The British rules and Acts killed all these according to H.D.Malaviya( pp 220 Village panchayaths in India 1956).This is partly true.But not entirely.British rule had its own deficits mainly due to the fact that they were not aware of the earlier systems and were learning it.Not because they wanted to disrupt it purposely.What they thought was that they were helping the system and unknowingly did harm .But we,Indians cannot say that about ourselves.If we are unaware of our past ,it is simply because we consider everything of teh past as a myth and not history.This attitude has to change .

9.The Royal commission of Decentralisation (1907):-

In 1896 and 97 the local self Government resolution completely ignored village

administration.Therefore Edward V11 appointed a committee on decentralization in

1907-08.Its report (vol.1909 in 1907-08 pp236)recognized village as the primary

territorial unit in India and from them are built up larger administrative units.It wrote :-

“Their autonomy has disappeared owing to the establishment of local,civil and criminal courts ,the present revenue and police organizations the increase in
communication,growth of individualism,education and operation of individual raiyatwari system extending even in the north of India.Nevertheless the village remains the first unit of administration,the privileged village functionaries are largely utilized (headman,accountant,village watchman)and paid by the Governemnt and there is still a certain amount of common village feelings and interests.(ibid pp 237)The committee recovered the constitution of village panchayaths for administration of local village affairs.”Foundation of any stable edifice which shall associate the people with the administration must be the village in which people are known to one another and have interests which converge on definite and wellrecognised objects like water supply salvation.(ibid pp 239)Therefore the local disputes ,factions influence of landlords and castes were considered with gradual and cautious approach by the British administration.In 1915 May,the resolution of self Government for India was issued by the Government on this committees recommendation ,but in a half hearted manner.In 1919 Montague –Chelmsford Reform and transfer of power to local self Government and legislation of village Panchayath Act passed.This was followed by

1.The Madras Panchayath Act XV 1920

2.Bombay Village panchayath act 1X 1920

3.Bengal Self Government Act V 1919

4.UP Panchayath act V1 1920

5.Punjab Panchayath act 111 1922

6.Bihar self Government act V 1920

7.MP panchayath act V 1920

8.Assam self Government act 1925

9.Princely states enacted legislation for this:
Mysore 1926

Baroda 1926

Indore 1920

Cochin 1919

Bikaner 1928

The different experiments like srinikethan(Bengal) and Marthandam(in

Travancore)happened in this period.

After independence,one of the directive principles(article 40)contained steps to organize village panchayaths and endow them with such powers &authority necessary to enable them to work as units of selfgovernment..Panjayathi Raj comprehended both democratic institutions and extension services through which the development programmes are instituted.According to the first plan”unless a village agency can assume responsibility and initiative developing the resources of the village “,that is,”the necessary leadership”and human resources”from the villages panchayathi development will lag behind.People themselves through a honest leader giving wholehearted support to him,with timely assistance from the state and central administrative bodies can build up themselves the village as well as the nation.The second plan also recognized “the just and integral social structure in rural areas and in developing a new pattern of rural leadership”(pp 151 sec 5 yr plan).The 3rd five year plan laid the panchayathi Taj institutions to develop co-operatives ,to create a climate for community effort ,and social responsibility vital to the successful making of co-operative communes and at all levels of administration.In 1961 conference of state ministers of Panchayaths in Hyderabad it was decided that promotion of co-operatives will be one of the 10 point tests of panchayathi raj.The criteria for measuring its success were laid down as every member of the panchayath becoming its member in due course of time in his/her own right.

The implementation of the scheme had started as early as 1957January by the study of
Balwant Ray Mehta to examine the community development programme.It realized the
democratic decentralization of administration to create institutions of democratic
administration at village level ,block and district levels.The panchayathi raj conceived by this committee as a process of democratic decentralization has a poor record of functioning.The reasons are the poor and inadequaute funds as well as power at their disposal and the three tier system of decentralization proposed have become beurocratic in every state .The grassroot level(Village panchayath/gramsabha)the middle level(panchayath samithi at Block level)and apex at zilla /district level function in discordance at several places due to the centralized beaurocratic ways adopted and hence the failure .The power remains centralized still in the hands of a few who are the decision makers and the majority,though they have knowledge and awareness are sidelined or marginalized and their voice ignored by the people in power.Thus the human resources are not utilized fully and leadership has failed in each village to elect the selfless leader ,who is ready to work for the common good of all.

The principle objectives of the 3rd plan included increasing agricultural production,development of rural industries,fostering co-operative institutions,full
utilization of local manpower and local resources –physical and financial –available for each panchayaths,progressive dispersal of authority and initiative,with special emphasis on role of voluntary organizations.Assessing the economic weaker sections of the village community and bringing them to the forefront ,fostering cohesion and encouraging spirit of selfhelp within the community were other objectives.When the programme began Kerala was top in terms of population per panchayath(15493 per panchayath)and Orissa followed with 6746 and UP was less than 1000(pp 706 Dr Mamoria).

In this book I have taken a sample village ,Punnayurkulam for study.This village is in the district of Thrissivaperur,in kerala state ,in India and is a global representative village for the study purpose.

Why was this area selected?

1.This area has the only freshwater lake in the entire Malabar

2.It is historically described right from the samgam ages

3.The river Nila alias Bharathapuzha connects as a natural waterway from Arabian sea to the Palghat ,and from Palghat pass to beyond the Sahya mountains to Tamil country and on either side of the Palghat pass was ruled by the erstwhile Chera kingdom even before era of Christ.This was a very important trade and commerce root in ancient India

4.It is in the mid position on the west coast of Kerala.

5.The agricultural situation is well described by Logan in his manual so that British Malabar history of the area is available .

6.The kol puncha fields of the area is very specific.It is comparable to the same weather and lowlying conditions of cherrapunchi (the puncha of the cherra)in Assam ,noting similarity even in name probably related to an etymological feature as well as geographical..

7.The best possible agricultural spots of ancient Kudanaad of Cherra(as opposed to

kuttanaad in the south)was the area of the chathrapathi(chathra means a kuda or

umbrella)and the large number of umbrella stones and ancient relics here denotes the

chera country’s ancient relations with the agriculture.The chathra was handed over to chera kings at the banks of river Nila during the kumbhamela called Magha

makha.Therefore this was the area which was precious for the dynasty from ancient


8.There is a minor reason also.I was born on May 6th 1946 in this village in the

preindependent India .And lived there till 1965 when I left to North Malabar,Calicut ,for studying medicine.My father was a farmer and his family owned puncha kol lands and he used to go there regularly and we children also went with him.So that I have seen the changes happening to the agriculture,to the co-operatives and the like from my childhood.My father was the one person responsible for the leadership and co-operative development of the entire village till 1969 when he resigned from Congress leadership because of the split in the party with which he was not very happy.I have been part and parcel of all his programmes including that of the Bhoodaan movement ,Sarvodaya and the li,ke though I didn’t know many of
its implications then.

There had been lot of changes in the world panorama and the weather changes that have been brought to us by industrial revolution and the use of fossil fuels (coal and petroleum oils ,gases etc) and how population have migrated for other regions and how agriculture is affected by these changes and it is high time that we collectively think about measures to conserve the basic elements of the earth pure.And we have to make our sustenance from agriculture in every region possible.Therefore ,I have tried to look into the history of this locality in the broad background of the nation and the global situation,and make
some practical suggestions to improve its productivity .A proper study and evaluation of the area will go a long way to improve not only the village but also the entire Malabar and Kerala and the nation and the world at large.This is just a humble attempt to do so.

I have divided the book into

1.The pre-independent India

A.The ancient vedic and pre-vedic

B.Archeological and foreign sources of information

C.Historic India from BC 500-AD 1500 (sathavaahana –Vijayanagara period)when the

ancient dynasties declined

D,.AD 1500-AD 1947 The Moghul and British periods

2.Independent India

A.1947-1967 The first three plan periods .The beginning of reconstruction(20 yrs)

B.1967-1999. Stabilisation(20 years)

C.from 1999-till date(10 years)

3.The current status,problems and solutions suggested

I have done a field survey ,interviewed the village people,and taken interviews and asked informal questions based on literature survey .The help from the Punnayurkulam

Krishibhavan,Punnayurkulam village panchayath office,and the village office ,and Kol

krishi co-operative society had been invaluable for me to carry out this research .I thank each and every one of them and the entire population of the village for being of assistance to me in carrying out the project.Without them this book would never have been written.

I am thankful to P.Parvathy,Lecturer in economics in Government Victoria college for

giving valuable suggestions .

Dr Suvarna Nalapat 2.Aug 2009



According to the 1991 census ,the general information on Punnayurkulam Village


This is a special grade Panchayath,in Chowghat Block,Chowghat Taluk,in Trichur

district,consisting of 15 wards(now it has 18 wards).The total area is 18.71 square

KM.Total population is 29795 ,men 13965 and women 15830 (more than men).The

pattikajaathi people are 3146 and scheduled tribes are not there.There were 4693 houses

in 1991.

The boundaries are

North Perumpadappu Village panchayath

South Village panchayaths of Vadakkekad and Punnayur

East village panchayath of Kaattakambal

West Arabian sea.

In the development report of Punnayurkulam (6.01.2001) Smt Fathima Leenus ,president

of Punnayurkulam village Panjayath,says it is the last days of the 9th five year plan and beginning of the 10th.2001 is the 5th annual plan of the 9th 5 year plan.She mentions that to have total development the plan should be based on long term protection of the wetlands,soil ,water and ecology and the different varieties of plant and animal life.The report of the Block level analysis of the wetlands is given in this report ,and also the community development based on agriculture,pure drinking water,women’s status,and development of scheduled castes.
Since the area under study is the wetlands , here is given the details of the study of the Block on them and its classification.

What is a wetland ? Kerala is a land of rivers,canals,and other waterbodies including several backwaters.A wetland is an area where water flows down through all types of channels with fields,lowlying areas,and sloping regions like hillsides etc.From the hilltop to the end of the waterflow is called a wetland .It is a biological unit of water,soil and organic matter which is the basis of all development programmes.According to the area the wetlands are divided into 5 types.

Largest wetlands- above 50000 hectares

Large wetlands –between 10000-50000 hectares

Intermediate wetlands- between 1000-10000 hectares

Small wetlands –between 100-1000 hectares

Very small wetlands –between 1-100 hectares.

The masterplan of the village is based on the small wetlands which are extending over several panchayaths.Therefore the unification of the different panchayaths is done at the block level.In Punnayurkulam village panchayath there are 6 wetlands identified.

1Mandalaamkunnu wetlands

2.Edakkara wetlands

3.Mukkandath thaazham wetlands

4.Paroor padavu wetlands

5Manchira wetlands

6.Cherayi wetlands.

The area of our study is the 4th ,Parur padavu wetlands.It extends over the entire 5th and 9th wards of Punnayurkulam panchayath, 3/4th of wards 4 and 6,1/2 of wards
10,11,15,and 8,and parts of 4th ward of Punnayur panchayath and 3/4th of second ward
and a small part of 1st ward of Vadakkekad panchayath.

Its boundaries are

West –Althara pananthra road

North Perumpadappu panchayath(Malappuram district)

East the Manchira canal

And south vadakkekad panchayath.

Height from sea level is 10 to 15 meter .Area is 875 hectares.The area is in level with sea and in places below sealevel.The kol puncha fields are below sea level.The water accumulates here during rainy seasons.And in other areas water flows into the sea and is lost easily.This wetland is highly fertile.The uppungal canal is about 1500 meter and is an important water source.Several other waterbodies which are perennial and dry also are there in this area.There is shortage of drinking water and as well as water for irrigation even though there is plenty of water
here.Three types of soil are seen.Ekkel,sandy clay and clayey sand.In the kol padavu the soiltype is sand with lot of clay in it.Main crop is coconut in 747.51 hectares.Next is rice.There is 266.26 hectares of paddy cultivation in Parur padavu,Uppungal and Uppungal north padavu in this area.Mainly puncha is done. But in kol ,mundakan also is done.In some places plantains and occasionally tapioca as intermediate crop is done.Only 2-3 % is scheduled castes in the area.the majority are labourers and poor people .More than half of them are below poverty line.

Problems of this area are


Mandari of coconut

Mahaali of arecanut

Plantain disease which affects it top(koomb adappu)

Recent fall in price of agricultural products

Lack of water for puncha krishi makes people leave it without krishi(fallow)

The filling of fields for construction of houses affecting the water storage .

The extensive use of chemical fertilizers changing the ratio of alkali and acid in soil and increasing the cost of agriculture and decreasing the productivity

Problem solving suggested by the panchayath

1.The disease control for the said diseases

2.prevent the filling of fields.Give awareness of its social ,economic and ecological Problems

3.To get enough water for kol krishi construct a permanent bund in Parur padavu ,and

increase the depth of the canals and tanks and make walls around them

4.Use of organic manure instead of chemical manure

5 Only after determining the alkalinity and acidity of the soil one should use chemical fertilizers,that too only sparcely according to need

6.With help of the agricultural department organize awareness classes.


The natural canals and tanks ,wells of the area are dried up in summer so that there is shortage of water for drinking and irrigation .The wells associated with and in the vicinity of fields is suitable only for irrigation and for drinking purposes.

Problem solving suggested by the panchayath

1.make public wells and tubewells

2.Sprinkle chemical to kill pests only according to the direction of the wind and try not to pollute drinking water

3.Make the canals and tanks more deep and keep them protected with boundary walls


1/3 Population depending upon the animal husbandry have abandoned this due to scarcity of natural grass ,and cost of the artificial fodder,and the lack of marketing facilities for diary products.

Suggestions by Panchayath

1.In the fallow lands make grasslands for grazing animals

2.Conduct classes on animal husbandry by technical people

3.Make marketing facility for the products.


No one in this area goes to sea to catch fishes though it is very near to sea.The fish are caught from tanks and canals .This is done only in rainy seasons.The availability of fish is very little since they are following only traditional methods to catch fish.In dry season this job opportunity is not available.

Suggestions by panchayath

1.The tanks and canals to be made more deep.

2.Do fishfarming

3.Give encouragement to do fishfarming

4.The centers for growing fish and for marketing fish to be established

5.Protection of fish and ecology for that


There are no forests in this wetlands.The available old trees are fell and new construction works are increasing.the ecological problems due that is increasing day by day.

Suggestions by Panchayath

1.Give awareness to plant trees in public places

2.Give awreness of ecological problems when there is deforestation

3.To increase the organic wealth of earth trees have to be planted.


Fuel,gas and kerosene are used by the people .Electricity has reached most of the parts of this area and yet there is voltage problem.The cost of kerosene and gas is high.The fuel from wood is now scarce and trees felled and no new ones planted is increasing the problem


1.The construction of the electric substation of Punnayurkulam panchayath to be speeded Up

2.Have smokeless ovens

3.Give economical help for biogas plants

4.Have more trees planted


There is no transportation facilities.No factories or other industrial institutions.

Sugestions of panchayath

1.Tarring the available roads

2.Maintainance of the roads

3.Start possible industries

The Panchayath has recorded that before this(2001)no development programmes have

been done based on wetlands in this area(which we will find is not true).

The panchayath has suggested to control the disposal of wastes from butcher shops in

public places,making latrines for families who do not have them,and with the help of the health department give awareness about the cleanliness to the people.

WETLANDS IN CHOWGHAT BLOCK(In tables.The tables has not come right in the blog)

Serial no: Wetland name Area hectare Village panchayaths
1 Mandalam kunnu 625 Punnayurkulam,punnayur
2. Edakkara 625 Punnayurkulam,punnayur
3 Mukkandathuthaazham 800 Punnayurkulam,punnayur
4. Parur padavu 875 Punnayurkulam,punnayur,vadakkekad
5. Manchira 225 Punnayurkulam,vadakkekad
6. Andikkot kadavu 550 Punnayur,vadakkekad
7 Vylathoor 575 Vadakkekad,pookot
8. Palakuzhi thozhiyur paadam 650 Vadakkekad,pookode,Guruvayur municipality
9 Kadappuram 750 Punnayur,chowghat municipality
10 Mathikkayal 875 Punnayur,chowghat municipality and seashore
11. Edakkazhiyur 600 Punnayur,pookode ,chowghat and Guruvayur municipality
12. Pookode 750 Pookod,Guruvayur municipality
13. Valiyathod 700 Thaikkad,Guruvayur municipality
14. Chamramthod 400 Thaikkad
15 Chovvallur pady 972 Thaikkad Guruvayur and chowghat municipality,orumanayur
16 Orumanayur 450 Orumanayur,seashore,chowghat municipality
17. Cherayi 175 Punnayurkulam

Why Punnayurkulam panchayath and Parur padavu was selected as sample is evident

from this table.The Punnayrkulam panchayath spreading through 6 of the wetlands is the most extensive area of the entire chowghat block.And among these six ,Parur padavu is the largest with 875 hectares of wetlands.Kerala development programme 204-2005 of Punnayurkulam village panchayath has pointed out that in entire Chowghat block the highest quantity of paddy production is from Punnayurkulam village panchayath and there itself the most comes from Parur padavu and Uppungal padavu.(pp17)


Total population 29795
Male 13965
Female 15830
Scheduled caste 3146
Male Not mentioned
Female Not mentioned
Number of houses 4693
Scheduled tribes Nil

Comparison (2001 and 2008-09)

Total population 29795 to 31818 2023 more
Male 13965 to 14650 685 more
Female 15830 to 17168 2338 more
Scheduled caste 3146 to 3199 53 more
Male 1585
Female 1614
Number of houses 4693 to 4963 270 more
Scheduled tribes Nil

In page 31 of the janakkeeyaasoothrana plan of Punnnayurkulam panchayath we find a

statement that Punnayurkulam had social inequalities historically and the scheduled

castes and scheduled tribes of Indian constitution 341-342 ,were facing severe

social,economical and educational backward position and in Punnayurkulam village in

536 families ,there are 1672 men and 1721 women of this category.The increase in

general population is reflected in their increase.Pulaya,vettuva,paraya and very few

mannan,paanar,and kurava are in this group.According to this statement the one

idanghazhi or one vallypaddy for a day’s work was not enough for them to appease their hunger.After this the wages changed from barter to Anna.For one man 1 and ½ anna and for woman ¼ anna.

The Punnayurkulam panchayath as we see it today was formed in 1962 only

.Punnayurkulam was part of Vannery of the Perumpadappu swaroopa.It was in the

Malabar district board initially and was known as two panchayaths,Andathode and

Aattupuram.This was under the district collector of Calicut to begin with,and after 1956 it became part of Palghat district.Only in 1970 it came under the Trichur district.

Historically ,Punnayurkulam had beeen under Perumbadappu swaroopa and Zamorin and
the British collector of the Calicut district in preindependent period and after
independence it was part of Palghat district and Trichur district.Under two swaroopa and under three district collectors it has a very rich administrative and cultural history which is as ancient as Kerala history itself.And the kol development and agricultural co-operation and the structure of the ancient village administration is best studied and understood from its history but unfortunately the modern historians have not done this so far.

To find out the present condition of the farmers in Parur padavukol fields I collected the Form B statement application for subsidiary for the year 2006-2007 .(From the kol cooperative society office ).According to the reference given above (pp 31 of plan of development )there are only 536 families in Punnayurkulam and according to form B statement 447 of them have asked for subsidy.That means except 89 families all are agriculturists having small or large holdings of fields.Of these 105 are Hindu ,341 are Muslims and only one is Christian.The holdings were categorized as four groups,below one acre,between one and two acres,between two and three acres and between three and four acres and more than four ,less than five.And the number of persons calculated as follows.

Below 1 acre 80 188 268
Between 1-2 20 129 149
Between 2-3 5 16 21
Between 3-4 nil 6 6
Between 4 -5 nil 2 2
total 105 341 446

There was only one Christian applicant and he had between 1-2 acres.So total was 447

and 150 of them had between 1-2 acres.The total area of 449 acres and 25 cents were the property of these 447 applicants and over that I,34776 Rs and 50 Paise were given as subsidy and 67388 Rs puncha special from the village officer in the said year.

I went to the Krishibhavan to collect information about the status of agriculture in the area and the Asst agricultural officer Mr Dolphin gave me several useful informations

.They are summarized below:-

SL NO Name of crop Area(Ha) Production (MT) Productivity(Kg /ha) % under irrigation
1 Paddy 488 2730 5.59 70 %
2 Cocanut 802 68 lakhs No: SD No:/palm 60 %
3 Arecanut 32 104000 Kg 3250 Kg 100 %
4 Banana 16 256 16000 Kg 100 %
5 Pepper 8 2.2 400 Kg 25 %
6 Jackfruit 2
7 Cashew 4
8 Vegetables 8 6.4 8000 Kg 100 %
9 Mango 3
10 Horticulture 3000 plants

2. Group farming samithy 2 numbers

Flori clubs 1 number

3.Agricultural infrastructure available

A.Tractor 2 numbers

B.Tiller 3 numbers

C .Hand sprayer 30 numbers

D Knapsack sprayer 35 numbers

E.Pumpset electrical. 1450 numbers

F.Pumpset (kerosene/diesel engine) 35 numbers.

G.Petty and Para 9 numbers

H.Biogas unit 8 numbers

I.Green home 5 numbers

J.Combined harvester 1 (owned by village panchayath)

4.Land area classification

A.Geographical area 1871 Ha

B.Forest area Nil

C.Barren land -

D.Cultivated area 1346 Ha

E.Cultivable waste 26 Ha

F.Fallow land 98 Ha

G.Total irrigated area 918 Ha

5.Paddy cultivation (1 Ha =2.5 here)
Serial no: Paadasekarasamithy Total area(Ha) Under cultivation Not under cultivation Total available for cultivation
1 Parur padavu(puncha) 280 160 120
2 Uppungal padavu(puncha) 72.5 72.5 Nil
3 Cherayi koottukrishi samithy(mundakan) 44. 30 14
4 Bhattathiripaad paadasekharam(Mundakan) 52 8 44
5 Eachi paadasekharam(Mundakan) 40 16 30
Total 488.5 286.5 208 Puncha 120
Mundakan 88

The paddy cultivation done in 2008-2009 in the uncultivated fallow land 32.396 Ha (in

Punnayurkulam Krishibhavan area)

Average yield /Ha in rice 5.5 tons/Ha

Highest yield 10 tons/Ha

Different rice growing seasons :-

1Virippu April-May to Sept –October

2.Mundakan September –October to Dec –January

3.Punja .Dec-January to March –April.

Varieties cultivated:-

Puncha:- Jyothi (more than 80 % in puncha in punja season)

.Other seasons other varities like Kanchana and Basumathy.

Mundakan:-Jyothi,kanchana and uma.

Pests involving rice :-

1.Rice stem borer (Scirpophaga incertulas)

2.Brown plant hopper (Nilaparvatha lugens)

3.Rice bug(Leptocoriza acuta)

4.Leaf folder (Cnaphalocrocis meclinalis)


Diseases in rice :-



Pesticides used in rice

1.Trychogramma japonnicum (Trychocards) which is a biocontrol agent controlling stem


2.Other pesticides –Hostathion,corrogen,Takkumi,kaldan,karatox.

Details of natural calamity (From 2002 October to 2009 April ).:-

(The fifth column in the table –marked remarks –gives the total paddy destruction and

also some comments which I have made about the cyclical floods etc of the region,the

significance of which will be later discussed in analysis)

Yr/Month Crop Damaged area/crop number Nature of calamity Remarks
2002-03 October Rice/Mundakan 75.65 Acre Fllod 75.65 Acre mundakan
2003 July Coconut 10 palms Lightening
2003 Oct-Nov Coconut
,arecanut 32
3 Lightening
2004April Paddy
Nutmeg 0.76 Ha
4 S.W.Monsoon 0.76 Ha paddy
2004 May Coconut
Vegetables 29
5 cents
1.26 Ha S W Monsoon
2004 June Coconut
Paddy 27
1.02 Ha S W Monsoon 1.02 Ha
2004 July Paddy
Banana 0.9 Ha
5 S.W monsoon 0.9 Ha
2004 October Paddy
Coconut 17.044 Ha
21 S W Monsoon Major loss 17.044 .It is not SW Monsoon,pre-tsunami tidal wave.
2005 June Coconut
Arecanut 6
2 lightening
2006 April Paddy 17.402+
4 Ha Draughts Major loss
Total more than 22 Ha
2006 May Coconut
Arecanut 11
15 Floods and winds
2006 Sept Coconut
Tapioca 21
25 cents Heavy winds and floods
2006 October Coconut
Banana 30
2006 June coconut 7 Heavy winds and floods
2007 April Paddy 28.312+3.856 Ha Draughts Major loss total more than 30 Ha
2007 Nay Coconut
Arecanut 24
3 Lightening
2007 June Coconut
Pepper 82
1 Lightening,heavy winds
2007 July Coconut
Banana 75
160 Lightening,heavy winds,rain
2007 August Coconut
Vegetables 57
10 cent Heavy rain,winds
2007 September Coconut
Banana 41
21 Lightening,heavy rain,winds
2007 October Coconut
Arecanut 9
3 Lightening,heavy wind,rain.
2007 October Paddy 7.65 Ha Floods 7.65 Ha
2008 March Paddy

vegetables 220 Ha

1.25 Acres Summer rains floods Major loss 220 Ha
2008 April Coconut 44 Lightening ,cyclones
2008 October Paddy
Arecanut 8.44 Ha
112 Lightening,cyclones and floods
2009 April Paddy 167 Acre Summer rains/floods Major loss 167 Acres

(The materials in this chapter ,so far mentioned,were collected with the help of the

Panchayath office ,Krishibhavan ,and kole co-operative society of Parur Padavu and the

Village office of Punnayurkulam and the references given by them.The tables has not come correctly on the webpage . )

In the general discussion of the Budget (29.June 1960.Kerala legislative assembly
proceedings pp 66-670),Sri K.G.Karunakaramenon mentioned the floods of the preceding
year which destroyed the kol puncha of Malabar.And that even after repeated requests the Government could not take necessary steps to help the farmers.He suggested creation of a permanent ststutory board to help the farmers of Trichur and Palghat kol puncha farmers in such emergency situations and also the improvement of transport facilities in the area.Calling attention under Rule 66(pp 2692-93 Kerala legislative assembly July 1960) he drew the attentionof the minister for Food and forests to a matter of urgent public importance.His speech on this occasion is translated as below:-In Chowghat Taluk and parts of Andathode Farkka puncha is destroyed.Doing puncha cultivation requires lot of effort and is a costly affair.People do this expecting a great harvest ,after mortgaging property and gold ornaments and borrowing money .Before harvesting ,the loss of such puncha ,by natural calamities is for a farmer the most dreaded situation.In such conditions Government has to give a helping hand for them.Reducing taxation,giving subsidy etc are immediate helps .About this ,we have given applications both to the chief minister and the minister for agriculture.They sent it to the district collector.Collector sent it to the Tahsildar.Tahsildar sent it to the officer of the amsam(village officer).In this way,there is lot of delay in giving aid in time.When there is a calamity,it is ideal for the ministers to personally visit the area,enquire and do the relief work then and there.That will not only save the people but also make them confident that there is a good governance system which is interested in solving the problems of the public.That itself will be an incentive for the farmer to continue his agricultural efforts.Therefore the travels of ministers for such purposes is more important .In a meeting of the kol farmers which we convened ,the Tahsildar of Chowghat taluk also participated.But some of the wealthy landlords ,afraid of loosing their rent(paattam)said that there had been no loss at all,and if the Tahsildar reported according to their word ,they win and the poor farmers cry is forgotten.70 % of harvest had been lost.Even the basis for reducing the tax is still according to the British model.15 years ago,under the
British rule ,when we lost puncha like this,they(The then British Government) gave Rs 15 per acre .It is deplorable that a people’s Government could not do anything at all even after 4 months after great loss to the farmers.The minister should visit the place ,verify by himself and if he so feels give the farmers a amount like a subsidy and to undertake other necessary actions .It is not that by such a small amount the farmer gets back what he has lost.But at least he will have a feeling that it is his Governement and the government is concerned about him and his future .”
In his speech on 23rd March 1962 in the Kerala legislative assembly proceedings ,Sri K.G.Karunakaramenon seconded the plea for funds of the agricultural minister .He said “ since our nation is not yet selfsufficient in food,due importance should be given to improving of agriculture and make systematic plans for achieving it.Therefore this request is to be commended upon.We have 19 lakhs acres of land which can be cultivated.That we cannot increase as the Honourable minister for Agriculture here explained.Therefore the only way is to systematically plan methods to increase more production using the same area of land available.I request you to have more concentrated efforts on creating certain irrigation projects for this purpose.If we can make a bund in the Vembanaad in Chowghat Taluk ,Mullassery and Pirakkad amsam ,we can convert 1000 acres of land cultivable.The engineering department is making enquiries into this project at present.After enquiry ,necessary steps should be taken for reclamation of these areas for cultivation.Similarly we have to create several development programmes for the kol agriculture.In Trichur and Palghat district there are several kol puncha fields.We should formulate a kol krishi board for the development of these two districts.It should contain representatives of the farmers and the technical experts .Only then would it be
possible to study the problems of farmers directly and solve them.I do not think that the officers do know the problems of the kol farmers at present.If we can connect the kol puncha fields of Chowghat and Ponnani Taluks by a canal,we can get water for irrigating about 8-10 mile long fields.They are at present depending only on rain water for cultivation.In many places like Kaattupaadam at present agriculture depends only on rain water.By making small irrigational projects ,more fields can be made cultivable.The government should have due consideration on this fact..Last year ,the puncha farmers of Chowghat taluk had great losses because of untimely rains bringing floods and even now they were not given any help for that loss.Four or five months after this calamity,the same loss happened to farmers of Kuttanaad and within no time help was extended to them.It was a good action.But ,I am just pointing out the fact that the emotions of farmers whether they belong to kuttanad or Chowghat is the same when a major loss to harvest happens .Why is it that the Governement fails to give the same help to the Chowghat farmers remains a mystery .The honourable minister said that it is in the consideration of the Government.I would request to end that “Consideration”,and start solutions for their
problems.The farmers do not have electrical power and they have been sending
applications for electricity.Chowghat and Andathode has been applying for electric
power and the Honourable ministers of the department and Electricity had been saying
that it is in priority consideration.But still ,they have not been given any priority.In the nearby Taluks it is available .

There is a bund in Kunnamkulam Vettikadavu and water is stored there.It has not been
given to the farmers for irrigation.Only a few lucky persons are getting water from it for the agricultural purposes.When it was asked why the water is not available to others too,the ministers reply was that it is not under his jurisdiction or control.As sri N.S.Krishnapillai said ,the things are moving like a blind man seeing an elephant.It would be better to bring the related things under a same minister.Madam,I request you to enquire into these matters and do the necessary things at the earliest.I conclude ,requesting again that the Government should have priority for the timely help to farmers of Chowghat taluk,for making a bund there and for formation of a kol krishi board .(The speeches of Karunakaramenon were sent to me by the former speaker of Kerala Legislative assembly Sri V.M.Sudheeran at my special request in early 1990’s.)
2009.August 31.Mathrubhoomi daily reports that the maintainance and protection of the 100 feet canal which connects Ponnani Viyyam kaayal to Vettikadavu at Kunnamkulam is still under the red tapism of the officials and the promises given by successive Governments to the farmers is not yet fulfilled.The 100 feet canal(nooradithodu)is the major irrigation canal of Ponnani kol fields which is the main rice bowl of the district.It has about 22 Kms length.About 3500 hectares of the fields and their smaller canals get water from this canal .The water from the fresh water lakes is pumped into this and stored there for irrigation of the fileds.For most of the kol area of Ponnani ,there is no permanent bund.Every year temporary bunds are created by co-operative efforts of farmers and the sand from these temporary bunds erode into the canal during rainy season and decrease the depth and length of the canal.Therefore the water needed for irrigation of the fields cannot be stored in the hundred feet canal.From Nannmamukku Srayikadavu area to Alangode-Thelur-Aaalaappuram ,the canal is lost due to the overgrowth of shrubs and
trees which also reduce the amount of water storage in the canal.
Sri K.G.Karunakaramenon had a project of making use of the hundred feet canal more
deep and also pumping water from the freshwater lake to kuttatan paaadam and storing it there and then connecting the Ponnani and Chowghat Taluka by canal irrigation,and use water of the freshwater lake both for Kol puncha irrigation and for power generation and for water supply to the Guruvayur township.While he planned it the engineering department could not do it because of lack of powerful engines to pump water to the heights of kuttadan paadam from low lying kol puncha fields.Now ,the department of engineering has become so improved and developed and it would be ideal to reexamine the prospects of this plan and execute it .
About the red tapism and inability of officials to have the vision of a united India is probably what all of us should be aware of,because in our own fields of service we have to get free from such narrow visions.What my father pointed out in 1960-62 assembly speeches still persists in our midst and unless we are strong enough to be aware of this danger and to overcome it ,India as a nation will never find solutions to her problems.It is not the policies themselves which are at fault,but lack of people to implement it with earnestness and honesty what is good for the nation is the problem.As an example ,we have a project for making employment .The farmers of Mananthavadi were doing their farming operation when they got a order from the N.R.E.G joint programme-co-ordinator to stop work ,through the secretory of the village panchayath.The letter was sent as per directions of the orders of the director of the employment assurance project director.The farmers were in real trouble .They were happy thinking that they were assured of employment .But were asked to stop jobs.They had prepared the fields,had sown and made the saplings and were about to transplant them .Then comes the order saying that such jobs as done (transplanting saplings)is against the basis of the employment assurance programme and should be stopped forthwith.In its agenda the preparation of fields,sowing,making transplantable saplings and transplantation etc does not come.It is equivalent to involving in fields for multiple times.In Employment assurance project ,one can convert a field that is not cultivated into a cultivable field by just one interference according to the programme joint director’s order.If the Panchayaths of the village does help the farmers to do field works as said above ,the amount given has to be refunded also.That will cause insult to the state Governement and will incur severe punishment to all concerned.This happened in 2009.Mananthawadi Block panchayaths did agricultural works including it in the employment assurance scheme.Mananthawadi,Edavaka,Tirunelli and Panamaram panchayaths of North Malabar under the wetland development scheme did this .Due to this ,hectares of land were reclaimed for paddy cultivation in the area.The paddy fields converted into banana plantations in the preceding years reconverted to paddy fields .It was then ,the order was issued stating that the help of paddy cultivators is not under the scheme but under the jurisdiction of paddy mission,krishi swabhiman project,development programmes of agricultural department and not under control of the employment assurance project.
Two questions are to be asked.

1.Does the officials know that to convert a uncultivable land to a field ,in a single step operation is not possible at all?

2.By suddenly withdrawing help and threatening a whole group of farmers who had
found employment and are doing their share in increasing the food self sufficiency of the nation,are they not jeopardizing the national goal itself?

It is here the question which my father raised in the legislative assembly about the
officials and departments seeing the elephant as a blind man comes to limelight.That was in early 60’s ,and even in 2009 ,nearly 50 years after our red tapism has not recognized what harm it is doing to the nation.Who is to be blamed for this is not the question.But how this happened and what we can do to solve this problem is the real question we have to address.There is no point in blaming others.Let us take the responsibility of solving the problem ourselves .

This book is a humble attempt to do so.This book thinks for the nation as a whole ,though it focuses on a special area of kol puncha fields in South Malabar .It also thinks for the entire global population and global ecology ,looking through the window of Punnayurkulam and its agricultural economy and ecology.Punnayurkulam is my
microscope and telescope through which I view and predict the subtle and the gross
worlds of health and universe –through which I see the biological and the astronomical cosmic coexistence of all in perfect balance .

Selected Interviews with People of Punnayurkulam

(Selection is based on the relevant information gathered about changing patterns of agriculture,food patterns,and measurement patterns etc which are useful for the present study.Those interviews which gave most information is given in entirety as samples.This was more in the form of a narrative session,so that the candidates could freely wxpress whatever they felt.)

1.Korattikkara Kuttan Nair alias Kesavan Nair .age 66.Traditional

occupation.Washerman .Only family of washerman in Punnayurkulam.


KunjuAmma alias Narayani

Son sankaranarayanan and wife kalyani

Son Kuttan nair,wife Sarada (age 56)daughter of Meenakshi

Children Sindhu (31)and Sajeesh (29)

Sindhus children vishnunarayanan and Sreelakshmy.Sajeesh unmarried.


Husband –karyasthan

Wife working in Balawadi as helper (kunnathoor balawadi,Vettisseri padikkal)

Daughter L.I.C agent

Son salesman in a medical store.

Informations given:

Olden times for washing one mundu one chilli called a mukkal.Then 64 mukkaal was one

rupee.4 mukkal was one anna and 16 anna was one rupee.Therefore 1/64 part of a Rupee

was one mukkaal.For one ser ari,4 and a half to 5 anna.For one mukkaal salt and

chilli.Mukkaal was worn on a black thread on the waist in a string like a garland.Now ,no

one in the family does alakku (old occupation).For one raathal sarkkara ,40 Rs.One

raathal means 40 uruppikathookam and is measured with a Katti and

thookkam(thulas)and the observer can see whether the merchant is cheating in

weight.Now we cant understand whether the electronic machines are doing the correct

thing,we have to believe what the salesperson say .(we don’t know the standardisisation)

Old days kooli for agricultural labour was Pathukku onnu patham.That means,for 10 para

nellu,(which is harvested ,methi,and removal of pathiru )one para is for the labourer.1/10

parts.Now no woman does that .From outside Annan(A Tamil labourer).Daily wages

300-325.(300 with food ,325 without)Agricultural labour needed twice a year,and a total

of 3 months.The rest 9 months free time women used to do other works like

pullupari,chaanakam koral,mannu koral etc for which they get 4 Rs a day,Now since they

don’t do it,annan gets 300-325 daily wages.

For a vettuvan kooli for 100 trees is 50 coconuts(which they take as shares by the gang

/family/guild)and for perukkikoottal ,8 coconut each for one person.

The food taken by the family –For children going to school morning tea and

palaharam,Noon food rice,curry and vegetables,sometimes ann omlette.evening tea and

palaharam,night again rice.Regular fruits and green leafy vegetable intake is not there.

For school children there is noonmeal programme till 5th std.Rice and cherupayaru given

.Egg also sometime back,now stopped.(Govt)Even the firewood is supplied by Govt.

Apart from the Baalawadi in kunnathoor one more has started at punnayurkulam(now in

Thanka’s house)and run by my nephew Krishnans daughter Usha.

Noon meal at Baalawadi is powdered grain,cherupayaru,wheat uppumaa,rice and

occasional days paayasam.Sarkara ,oil etc are all from Govt.

BDO is in Chowghat Tipusultan road .Maniettan is older .He knows more history.

2.Maniettan(Kunnachaattil Raghavan Nair 78.

Occupation:-From 1960-90 In orissa.26 yrs in J.K.Papermills and rest in a suger factory

and ferromanganese factory there.Now manager in a cinema hall and in a courier service.


1Erechan nair +Madhaviamma

2.Nannu amma +Achuthan nair

3.Chathunair +Parukutty amma

4.Raghavan nair+Radha (Daughter of cheruvathoor Madhavan nair and

Narayanai).Radha is housewife.64 yrs

5.Latha ,Preetha and pradeep

6th Latha 40 yrs(husband kakooth unnikrishnan)has 3 children Akhil,Arjun and the small

one called kuttan.Preetha is 35 and husband Muraleedharan with two children,names

cannot recollect

Pradeep (32)has one child called sreelakshmy in Ramya and he is in gulf.

Old system of numismatics.3 paise = one mukkkal

4 mukkal = one anna

16 anna =one rupee

Old metric of rice

4 naazhi =1 idanghazhi

10 idanghazhi=1 para

For one Rs we get 16 ser rice =16 nazhi.In weekly chantha everything available.

There was sarkkara as well as chakkara.Chakkara is homemade and by

women.Thenginchakkara is from pure kallu of coconut and panamchakkara from palm

(pana).The pure kallu is boiled and made to a kurukku,(with no other ingredients so that

is different from toddy)and poured into a mould.The mould is usually a half of a coconut

shell .The shape of the appam will be in the shape of mould.A koodu chakkara is sold

.Koodu means one chakkara with the second upon it as a complete coconut shape .It

costs only one mukkalu.We can cut it and use .Sarkkara is weighed in rathal and it

contains chemical,not homemade,and is impure and has more cost.

Chakkara used in making several palahaaram

Kumbil appam.Take a leaf and fold it to a kumbil.ricepowder and chakkara in it,kumbil is

tied and steamboiled.

Ricepowder varuthathu,chakkara paavu kachiyathu and naalikeram chiraviyathu into a

ball, Ariyunda

In Orissa jungles the forestdwelling kaada has several tasty foods.

When the paddy brings out the kathiru and before ripening when it is full of white milk

they take the kathiru and they crush it and take the milk out and mix forest honey with

it.They fill a bamboo stem with this,and cover the bamboo with mud,and tie it and then in

fire they do chudal.When it is ready,they break open the bamboo ,and we can see the

palaharam in the shape of the bamboo.They cut it and eat.They eat chutta tubers etc.Even

the animal meat they do this .They don’t use it as we do.

Ragi water is made into a watery kurukku .They then open a round churakka(gourd)and

remove contents as we do the koovalakkaya for bhasma,and in it fill the fluid.Whenever

they are thirsty or hungry they just drink this ,as a multipurpose drink.Along with that

they eat kallup,ulli murichathu and a chilli.Each one cultivates the pukayila needed for

him in his hut.There are beedi leaves in orissa forests in plenty.When pukayila is

mature,it is put in the beediyila and then rolled as a 7-9 inch pipe .They make their own

fire.They make from wood,two small dubba(like cap of a bottle)and in each a stone is
fixed.small piece of cotton(panji)kept and the stones rubbed to make friction.The fire

catches the panji.They keep the roll behind their ears as we do the beedi.In koraput and

Malganagiri there is only forest and mountains and only Adivasiss live there.It is in the

coast of Godavari.On the other side is Bhadrachalam of Andhrapradesh.There are

aadivaasis there also.But this particular culture is not among them.

In those days,in our village,in a teashop if we have one anna the stomach will be

filled.One ¾ for a tea,one ¾ for puttu,one pai a pappad was the rate even in 1935.Only

four anna is needed for a full meal.In the time of my great grandfather(Erechan Nair)who

was the friend of Kannengalalth Madhavan nair’s uncle,there was no coffee or tea for

breakfast.Instead we were given a drink which is njerinjil,malli ,and jeera powder boiled

in water and mixed with chakkara.In the morning all drink kanji.There will be pickles and

pappad.The stomach will be full .In lunchtime rice and vegetables.In evening ,different

types of tubers will be eaten after boiling .Night also we get sumptuous rice and

vegetables.Once in a way,on a special occasion like a festival etc only meat of goat or

chicken will be given.Usually vegetarian food only.Usually everyone travels by foot.To

go to Chowghat ,from Ponnani and from Veliyamkode we used Vanchi (boat).Our High

school was the Pathaayappura of Azhvanchery Thampraakkal.Thampuran comes there

only once in 2 ,3 or 6 months in a manchal.His food was from Kaattumaadam Mana.The

Kaaryasthan will be here.The kothottu ,the fields around were all theirs.The thampuran

comes and do settlements with karyasthan and goes back.The things are done by

Karyasthan and Thampuran comes only occasionally.I studied in Mookkola school from

the year when Chithran Namboothiri started it.Till S.S.L.C I studied there.My classmates

were P.T.Mohanakrishnan,Kaattumaadam Naarayanan Velakkery Moidutty and

Punnayur Baapputty.

The difference from those times and now is that every thing is chemicals now.Those days

everything was pure and healthy.And diseases were almost unknown.The reason was the

systematic living style.The food habits,the working style and engagement in agricultural

labour,which itself is the best vyaayaama.And everyone had the same type of food

whether rich or poor.The wedding feasts etc were not so elaborate.The Nair,Namboothiri

and Kshathriya were ruined recently because of their adopted lifestyle of luxury later

on.The daily life was very simple for everyone .Brahmins had vaaram,othu and

pasudhaanam. Some gave alms for fame and got ruined.Now the lifestyle has

changed.Luxury has become the rule of the day.And noone gives anything to anyone.The

attitude of the people is totally changed.

In those days the women had 10,12 and even15 deliveries.It is true that some died in

infancy and only a few survived.Still the delivery was normal and without medicines or

manthra.Food and other nutritious raksha were given.The santhathi to continue the race

was kept always .40 days were the time for the delivered woman to get care of special

type with which she regains full health.This 40 days includes the few days before and

after delivery.Now delivery and pregnancy is treated as a disease .The house is converted

into a pharmacy with costly chemicals.Number of children are less. And death rate also

less.But the infant mortality rate is higher and sometimes the races end with such

practice.Before we used kurumkousala and ayurvedic paaramparyavaidya,and these were

done at home itself .Now nobody knows these small homely village medical practice and

everyone rushes to a doctor and get medicines worth Rs 300 per day.No one knows the

sideeffects ,yet they take it with faith.The doctors also don’t know with what the relief

came and they give 3-4 ,a list for even a small problem and make us ruined

economically.The disease will remain and the money will be gone for nothing.

In some houses aasava,thaila,were used daily and daily bath morning and evening was

done by all.People were conscious of cleanliness and daily bath in a tank/river .Each

house had a tank and well and there were public tanks and well for the entire village

too.Now people do not take regular baths and just aply some smelly creams and pretend

they are clean.No wells or public tanks .No private ones either.All gone.Previously we

had curry with manjal to ward of several diseases and we were all healthy.Now it is not

common.People add masala to every curry and has become unhealthy.I am still

healthy.But my wife is not.She is a patient in Amritha hospital.Daily 100-150 Rs have to

be spent for her treatment .I don’t take allopathy medicines.I don’t get illnesses.Even if

something comes I take only village medicines.with that I become healthy and no cost


Houses.:- The low and intermediate type of houses had clay wlls ,and thatched roof and

the floor was of mud and covered with cowdung. This type of house was suitable for all

types of climates and even if there is destruction in natural calamities it was not causing

much economical loss and it was easily rebuilt with materials in the locality by co-

operation of the people themselves.There was a great storm with strong winds in my

childhood.All coconuts,trees and immature machinga including ,and all houses fell.There

was no one to take the coconuts even for one paisa.All coconuts were down.But no one

had hunger and there was no famine and every one rebuilt house with least economic

problem.After that ,65 years back a famine came during British rule.Not a single grain of

rice to be obtained.The greedy people tried to soak the rice in water and sell it making

extraweight for extramoney in black market.People had become greedy and selfish by

that time.No more co-operation between people.

I have kept my S.S.L.C certificate even now.That was issued by Madras ,and Andhra

university combined.Both were under a single rule and the Governor was same.From

Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal we were a single state.Only Cochin –Thiruvithamkore

were separate .In Ponnani and Mangalamkunnu the large ship called Pathemmari will

come.The ships will be at a distance of 3 Kms from the seashore.Small boats will go and

bring things from them ashore.From Tirur ,Thanur to Naattika(now in Trichur)was a

single one called Ponnani Taluk.It was in the district of Kozhikode.At that time Arakkal

Bappuhaji was our DEO (district educational officer).

I remember an incident which I regret now.It was a misbehaviour in my school.The

history of it is like this.In those days there was a tank,pathayappura and oottupura

attached to Vaalaadathele kalam.There we get rice and curry for about 50-100 people

every night.Koladi Unni without his uncle Appunair’s knowledge used to help people of

the communist party there.At that time Govindan kutty is not in the party.He was alate

comer to the party.Imbichibawa and Unni were leaders.Chithran Namboothiri as a

student was having leftist ideas but left politics later on.His friends were Balan ,son of

P.B.Nambiar of Guruvayur and Neelakandan Poomulli.Chithran Namboothiri taught us

English in school.When these two friends come he will leave the class.Nilambur

Kovilakam Kunjettan Raja was headmaster.He taught Geography and was very orthodox.

We did a strike in school.Actully we were not doing the right thing.At that time Hindi

was made compulsory.A Hindi Pundit came from Kondotty to teach us.The students did

not like his style.They will take small stones and fill the pockets .And throw them at
him.The stones come from all directions.I was in the B section.Little EMS was the CP

general secretary Ponnani.The teacher was angry.He complained to the

headmaster.Headmaster came to class and found the stones srewn all over the class.He

asked to stand on the benches.We obeyed.But at noon interval we had a meeting and

decided to put all benches outside the classroom and did it.There were only desks in the

class.All students were send out of class.Next day we all stood outside the gate .No

student was allowed to enter school.Two days went like that.The third day Chithran

Namboothiri called us to his house.We made a demand that the Hindi teacher should be

changed. Or he should ask for pardon publicly in the school assembly.We got our

way.The fourth day he was made to apologise in the assembly.It was really hard.We had

no reason except that we were envious of his style of dressing and for that we stopped

four days of class and made him humiliated.Now I know we were wrong.But when we

did it,I didn’t think this way.

3.Dharmapaalan .62 yrs

Geneology :-



3.Karappan +Kaali

4.Velayudhan +Kalyani daughter of Kaalikutty

5.Dharmapaalan +Bhaanumathy

6.Two children Dhanapalan and Dhanalakshmy (She is Hospital administrator at Amritha

Institute of Med sciences)

Occupation of Dharmapalan –Jewellery shop and agriculture

In olden times if we give two coconuts we will get one naazhi rice (barter).Now for one

Nazhi rice,the price is that of 10 coconuts.Before,by what we get as wages ,the labourer

could get one naazhi rice and all the household needs .Now the prices have gone up.After

purchasing everything ,the excess money is spent on luxuries.Now ,even if there is land

agriculture is impossible because the labourer do not work and the landlord cannot make

them work.Thus we have lost the agricultural habits.This was due to the sideeffect of the

landreform which had several drawbacks.

In those days of barter to give one coconut or 4 coconuts in a shop for exchange of things

was not a shame .Now it is considered a shame .If we take two kula plantains to market

we can get everything we want just out of its selling price.We used to grow them.Also we

had different types of gourds,pumpkins etc grown.During Vishu season we used to sell it

at Poozhikala market in several basket loads.Now the youngsters think that doing that

type of work is a shame.

In the month of Dhanu we put seeds of Vellari (a type of gourd)At that time ,there will be

Ayyappan vilakku at Urulimmal,in front of the present Registrar office.That is on Dhanu

10.The Mandalam 10.It corresponds with our time of krishi.At that time ,we children and

their parents assemble at Patterippaadam.We start making thadam for our seeds.There

would be a healthy competition about how many thadam one did and how much he /she

produced.Each family competes with the neighbour in this and it was fun like a

play.(Here my brother Asokan interrupted and said,He and his sister Sudha with

children of Anchakklan Leela,Sradha and Jaanu used to do this ).We ,our family used to

make on average 40 thadam ,one will be for kumbala and another for padavala for our

own domestic use.Father and mother used to do more than us,children.Katari Moosa and

family used to make 100-150 thadam.

At that time Patterippadam never had the problem of the salt water coming into it from

Arabian ocean.It is in direct contact with Nalapat fields,Eechi fields behind Poozhikkala

market,and Canolley canal.After Canolly canal construction,through it,and Chettuva

area,salt water reached here.The Valayamthodu,and veliyamkode cheerpu for protection

were broken.The valayamthodu cheerpu is for preventing the salt water to raise to the

fields from sea.The Veliyamkode cheerpu is for preventing the fresh water to be drained

to the sea.When these were gone,salt water entered fields and fresh water was lost and

agriculture suffered.When the water from Chettuva ,without entering the Enaamaakkel

kaaayal,comes through Cannoly to Ponnani ,the salt water will enter our fields.

We were doing everything as samudaaya on co-operative basis.For festivals we take

money on interest basis as loans.The mathematics of Naanu the one who gave us money

was something special.He used his body organs for his calculation.For odd numbers he

show mouth,nose and for even he shows eyes,ears etc.If he say ear and nose it is 3 .

The measurements were with instruments like


2.Sodhana which is like a cheppukudam and can hold 5 to 6 litres

3.Mahani .1/16,1/4 kaalu,,3/4 mukkalu and 1/8 arakkalu

4.Vellikolu.An instrument for weighing paper and metals.The principle is the same as

that of the platform balance(pettithulas)and common balance.

4.Kunjippa 57.





4.Children are Renish(Dubai),Remina (married and has a child ),Reheed (B Com

1styear)Rijash(2nd yr)

His experience about the agriculture is identical with that of Dharmapalan except that he

did his share of krishi in Veluthepaadam.

5.Cho Mohammadunni 58.

Gulf returned.I am called Cho because in my school years my friends thought I resemble

Cho,the actor and they nicknamed me so.It stuck.

There are different types of krishi.

One is vattam krishi .It is just one maturity(mooppu).When the rains are over harvested in

summer .Then comes the festival season.

Vattam kuttadan:We have to do it before the rains.

Vellappokkali:-In Cherayi,Kuranjiyoor and Punnayur .The paddy will be always above

water .So the name.We can go in a boat,and harvest by dipping under the water .

In the fourth stone,the east fields of Manikandeswaram,vattampaadam is harvested during


In kadikkad it is iruppoo(two harvests)

Kadampully to Kuranjiyur is kuttadan.

In koyappulli kaayal,thavalakkunnu,paroor kaayal,Thendan thara area used to have three

harvests of pokkali Now it is not done.It has stopped for about 40 years from now.

The reason for end of Pokkali krishi is mainly lack of expected yields.By strong rains

when the plant is broken and fallen down the yield is less.

Thavitta is a similar plant to pokkali and it is difficult to distinguish them

morphologically.The seed we usually use is the Thavalakkannan.The new ones are

Thainan 3,IR 8,Jaya and Annapoorna.

The agriculture in Manchira was improved by your(my)father.Veettila vilappil Chekku

Haji (called Thainaan Chekku Haaji) was selected by the then Govt as the best

karshaka(farmer).Your father did IR 8 krishi in Nalappat Fields as a model field.With the

subsidy from central Govt ,IR 8 harvested nooru meni(100 %).It was with your father’s

personal initiative that the first Methiyanthra (Motorised mechanized thresher)was

brought here first and Panmpalli Govindamenon did its inauguration.It will separate the

mature and immature paddy.(kathirum pathirum).The first experimnent was done in

Kerala and that was here,and it was 100 % success.

After vattaom krishi,in the same fields we have different types of gourds

etc(matha,vellari,kumbala,kaypa ,padavala etc) for vishu and we need not buy anything

from shops.We were selfsufficient and can sell the excess.Now,for vishu,we have to

depend upon others.Nothing is grown here.The awareness about agriculture should be

given extensively to change this situation.It is not something to be ashamed of.

Development has happened and it is good also .Gulf money is there which is the

purchasing power of people.But we have lost all the ancient knowledge and it has to be

given awareness of.

No tanks are seen .The old tanks like


lam,Aishaathaakolam have totally disappeared. Some have partially

disappeared.Poozhikkala kolam is lost.Even the old pipe is not seen.The 3 ½ cent land

which Kunjunnimenon(Ambazhathele)donated for it was taken up by water authority

and a tubewell ,tank and pipe were there.None of these are seen now.Bal T Vannery was

appointed as the last operator.The inauguration was with aarppuvili and lot of pleasure by

the people.Somewhere between Althara and Attupuram that pipeline must be still lying

underground as an archeological relic.

There were songs for each occasion like planting saplings of paddy,harvesting etc .None

of them is now prevalent.

Suku was a good farmer 25 yrs back before he went to Gulf.Now he is not doing any

agricultural activity .Suku is not doing agriculture in Valladithodu now.

At this stage the conversation turned out into a group discussion in which Suku,Cho

Mohammadunni,Dharman,Asokan and Krishnan were participants.

The suggestions given by this group discussion were

1.Let the developmental and economic welfare due to Gulf impact and purchasing power


2 At the same time give awareness to next generation about agriculture and its

importance and the peculiarities of this part of land (regional peculiarities and


3.Let them not feel ashamed of doing agriculture to make themselves selfsufficient in food requirements.

4.The protection of the wells,tanks,canals,and other natural and constructed water bodies for agricultural,economical.irrigational.water conservation and ecological reasons .The ground water protection depends upon them as well as the rain water conservation for use in agriculture and for other purposes.

5.Drip irrigation facilities will be of use for conserving the water thus obtained.

The songs of farmers were recollected by some of them.

1.Puthooram veetteennu ponne pinne

Velapooraaadhikal kandittilla

2.Naathoone Naathoone kaalil chavittalle(women wearing thoppikuda during

transplantation of paddy)

3.Janakante makalalle cheethappennu

Avalalle raavanachan katthukondoye etc

6th Interview with Nalapat Asokan .Age 55.Farmer,does smallscale business and runs a

local cinema hall for livelihood.He is my brother.(Family tree of Nalapat from 1790 see can be viewed on

Asokan:-We use machinery here for agriculture. We have the improved ploughs,power

tiller with rotator,and the large wooden levelers (maram/mutty)kerosene diesel engine pumpsets,electric motor pumpsets ,knapsack sprayers,and power sprayers,and

mechanized thresher(methiyanthra).We do not use the paddy weeder .We have

pallimuttu which when rotated makes all the weeds crushed as the organic manure.Last

year mechanical transplantation was experimented Justin two pieces of fields .It is not yet done on mass scale here.

The different farm operatins are

ploughing(uzhavu),Irrigation(Jalasechana),Transplanting(Njaru parichu nadal),pesticide application(keetanaasini spray),weeding(kala pari),Harvesting(koythu),thrushing(methi),Winnnowing( umi neekkal in kaattu or wind),processing (puzhunghi unakki ,kutthy ,pathaayam nirakkal) which involves parboiling ,drying ,and mortaring and filling the granary.At present the processing is not done in homes .We straight away take the paddy to the mill and processing is done there.The reason is scarcity of fuel and the scarcity of the labourers and the cost of labour.

The most difficult is to get labourers for harvesting and thrushing etc .The machinery are available in the Panchayath,with the Krishi committee and also with private people on a lending basis and even from Tamil Nadu we get it.From the panchayath there is a subsidized rate and because of the number of applicants and the delay in getting the machinery in time most of the time we will have to depend upon private machinery which is expensive.If we wait for the subsidized machinery when the climate is precarious,the precious time will be lost and there will be loss in produce and so people get machinery in time from private sources and this naturally increase the cost of production ,and at the end of the day ,the lack of gain in agriculture is the increased cost of production.

Another important problem is the transport of large machinery to the fields.Before the rains start we have to finish harvesting ,otherwise the entire field will be under water.Or the road will be under water.therefore no one can wait indefinitely for the subsidy.The rotator alone is easily transported ,because it can be transported in a boat also.All the other machinery has to be transported along the road and it is under water when rains come.In Kol puncha it is one pooval as summer crop.There are possibilities of doing two or even three pooval and making use of mundakan(kuttatam )also.The three pooval are in Autumn,winter and summer.If we can store water ,we can do three pooval and the kuttaadan /vattanilam can be made fertile and used for agriculture again.
We have a Kol padavu committee .

The total area of kol puncha fields as wetlands in lakh

hectares in entire PKDA is 3000 hectare or 10000 acres.There are about 100 padavu

.Parur padavu is one among them .It is about 900-1000 acres.Punnayurkulam padavu is

200 acres.The several padavu extends through several villages .If we take the entire kol puncha fields from Ponnani to the Trichur area as a necklace ,the parur padavu is the pendant of it,according to our father .(He showed the entire area,and also demonstrated by drawing a map of it to me.Our father Late Sri .K.G.Karunakaramenon used to say this beautiful simile ,he told me.)

Apart from rice there are other produce.We start planting pepper by the Thiruvathira
njaattuvela and within two years the plant starts giving the yields.Coconut once planted give yields in every season throughout the year.Plantains are planted in Vrischika .Mango,jackfruit,ayini chakka,nelli,tamarind ,and other fruit trees are grown and have fertile soil here for them.The cashewtree (paranghi maavu)grows well in the coastal belt .Ginger,arecanut,different types of pulses ,pipervine ,oilseeds etc are present .The soil is useful for doing maracheeni krishi also but usually not done.We don’t have tea here.Coffee plants are seen very occasionally only.We don’t do rubber here.The pulses are sown in June during the Makayiram Njattuvela.The different types of gourds are available.Then roots and tubers like chena,chembu and kaavathu etc are grown.We don’t grow sugarcane here.The crops are all sustenance crops mainly .Several medicinal crops like thulsi,Manjal,adampu etc naturally grow here and koova during the Dhanu season(Thiruvathira)is a special costeffective nutrient.

The other jobs like animal husbandry etc also are resorted to.But now people have lost interest in that.Previously in every house there were cows,and ox for agricultural purposes,and very occasionally goats and cocks and hen too.Now Cow is looked after by Anchakkaaln family ,Vellamackal,and Imbranghattel only.No one grows fish now.But there is the coastal people who live by catching fish from the sea as before.With the disappearance of the tanks the fishgrowing also came to an end.

The old families of traditional occupations are still here but many of them have stopped doing the old traditional jobs.(About this I asked him some specific questions because I wanted to get information of the Panchajana other than agriculturists in the village economy to compare with historical/prehistorical accounts of them )

There is a karuvaan family(ironsmith) still in Ilambanakkat thaazhath.

The Thattan family(goldsmith) consists of the present generation like

Krishna,Bhaskara,Prabhakaran and pushpakaran ,and sreekumar ,sankaranarayanan

etc.(They are actually four branches of the same original Thattan family of the graama).

Aasaari(woodworker) family is the kalloor branch with 6 subdivisions of family of

Chinnan,Theyyan,Appunni,Velu,Krishnan kutty and One at Govindapuram.

There is no moossari(brass work)here.The kollan(who does the leather works)is at

Althara and it is the old family itself.No one now does the weaving of kotta,paaya

etc.That occupation has entirely stopped here.Most of the labourers here are now masons .And many construction workers have come up from the old traditional families.People are mainly involved in trade and commerce and agriculture is now of secondary importance here .The manufacture of Dhanthadhaavanachoornam by K.P.Namoothiri is one of the famous industries related to Ayurveda here.The processing,servicing and repair of industrial and household articles is there.the civil supplies department is the storage and godown and redistribution area for us.We don’t store rice in homes in pathaaya(wooden granary) as we used to do before.Communication with post office,is available.The sub postoffice(1),branch post offices (6) telephone exchange(1) and a private computer center are available.Andathode registrar office is 100 years old .The police station is now near it.There are two primary health centers one at Mndalam kunnu and the other at
The Punnayurkulam Co-operative service society is active still.It was the work of our father to establish this here .There is a village office and a krishibhavan functioning here .PKDA is Ponnani Kol development Authority which is in charge of entire kol field development of the area.I am now in charge of the Parur padavu committee.We have given a detailed report and a request to improve our conditions to Minister of agriculture of Kerala State and are awaiting his reply. (The copy of that letter was given to me for perusal )

These six sample interviews are given here for the reader to see the current problems as well as the awareness of the local regional people about the conditions.This is the real subaltern history of Indian people.They were never ignorant fools but knew their conditions and agroecocnomy and geographical peculiarities very well and were a welladjusted self supporting group who had all the benefits of a good produce and the means of organized trade and commerce through a protective system of law and order .Only thing is that it worked on regional basis (since India is having varied climates and conditions of produce)and all such decentralized self-sufficient small republics were linked by a organized trade supported by protectors and lawgivers in a centralized administration .Both centralization and decentralization simultaneously followed in such
a system of existence and unless we understand this ,we will go on having separatist
ideologies amongst us and make the divides more and suffer.Once we know the oneness
of all ,this will be lost and co-operative ecological existence is still possible for all living beings under this planet earth.

The next few chapters will discuss prevedic,vedic and sangham period history of village agroeconomy.Now that we have a sample village of the current century ,we can relate the prevedic and vedic history to it in a subaltern way .

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