The Third Annual Session of Kerala History Congress was inaugurated at Farook College. The session began with the college song, followed by the welcome speech by Dr. T. Muhammedali, Local secretary, Kerala History Congress. He expressed his extreme happiness in conducting the programme. The aim of Kerala History Congress, is to promote secular and rational history at a moment when history is being attacked, it is a historian’s task to fight against all those fantasies regarding history. He also observed that a historian has to listen closely to the whispers of the source.
The function was presided over by the leading Indian social scientist, historian, professor and writer, Prof. Rajan Gurukkal, The Vice Chairman Kerala State Higher Education Council. He stated that he himself cannot substitute the absence of K.N Panikkar. According to him History is a devastating area of knowledge; Bringing things meaningless to meaningful. It is catching cleverly the legs of progress. He exhorts History professionals with serious knowledge to deal with subjects methodologically without prejudice and to do justice to the history of time. However, he asserts that if an observer is included in an observation the results may be objective. Gurukkal quotes, “History has an enormous power to legitimate the illegitimate, glorify the inglorious and justify the unjustified”.
Dr K T Jaleel, Honorable Minister for Local Self Government, Kerala, inaugurated the third annual session of Kerala History Congress. He quoted Francis Bacon, that “history is a subject which makes men wise” whereas distorted history can make man mad, as we had witnessed in world wars. He said wrong interpretations of history are in circulation. In such a situation historians should reinterpret and investigate history to help people just like Romila Thappar or K. N Panickar had done in 1992, during Babari Masjid demolition, when the whole country was blazing in the ensuring turmoil.
He says, India does not have a past of encouraging or accusing a leader or a rule based on the religion. Moreover, India provides the utmost freedom of religion. The religious tensions prevailing in the contemporary society is the result of contemporary politics which will not last long. So, historians should research on the rich past and traditions, founded by our forefathers to ensure communal harmony. He cited many examples which he had experienced, such as, a muslim scholar at Sabarimala offering his blessings to the pilgrims reciting verses from Quran.
He narrated how Syed Alavikoya Thangal of Mampuram had offered land and built a temple at Kaliyattamukku at the request of the Hindu community. In order to watch and enjoy the temple festivities, he built a mosque in the neighborhood. Even today the Kaliyattom begins with the ritual of seeking permission of Thangal at his graveyard. K.T Jaleel throughout his speech was emphasizing the need for communal harmony. Historian’s task is to act according to the time. He asked historians to investigate and to celebrate our illustrious past and thereby bring in communal harmony.
The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Daud Ali, Graduate Chair, the University of Pennsylvania (USA). He presented a paper titled ‘Compacts, Insurgencies and State Technologies in Medieval South India’, in which he focused on the history of Chola rule (1070- 1279) in medieval Tamilnadu. The paper elucidates the working of state apparatus and how in times of insurgence, the collapse of a dynasty results in the emergence of a new power. Inscriptions, he says, worked as their state machinery that helped in the growth and at times in the decline of the empire. On the whole, the paper gave an insight on how the binding codes of authority appropriated the collective consciousness of individuals and groups of that time.
The principal of Farook College, Prof. E .P. Imbichikoya felicitated all the scholars on and off the dais. He announced that all the facilities available within the college will be open for every participant.
The former professor, Kerala university, Prof. K.T. Muhammad Ali, in his felicitation stated that History is often distorted to justify one’s own statement. Further to bring history to the mark and up to the point 3 Ws (what, where & why) and 1 H (how) must be realized. He also affirms that the students of history should have a scientific approach and rather choosing the path of distortion, one must choose the path to truth.
The former head of the department of history, Farook College, Prof. K. Mohammed Hassan expounded a powerful statement that often a branch of history is not given much importance, but is of great significance is “psycho history”.
Members of the governing council, Farook College; Dr. K.M. Naseer, Dr. P. Anil Kumar and E.K.Fasalurrahman, dept. of history, Farook College felicitated on the same occasion.
Dr. N. Gopakumar Nair, General secretary of Kerala History Congress in his felicitation proclaims that this becomes a movement rather than an organization. He quoted examples of Wimbledon winner Steffi Graf, when she was asked what was so important of Wimbledon, she responded that it gave her a sense of History, he concluded by sharing the best examples of Hindu-Muslim unity.
On Presentin Histories (ed.) by Dr. Sebastian Joseph, Malabar Society and Politics (1800-1921) by Dr. Hussain Randathani, Vargeeyathayum Indian CharithraRachanayum by Prof. M.P Sreedharan, Recasting Images Incised: Essays on Social Reform in Modern Kerala by Dr. M.R. Manmathan, Socialscapes and Locality: Themes from Kerala History (ed.) by Dr. T. Muhammedali and Social Orbit Journal of Social Scienceby Dr. M.R. Manmathanwere the books released at third annual session of Kerala History Congress.