Among poets and writers who inspired an entire generation, the name of Mahakavi Kuttamath has a distinctive place in the history of North Malabar. His great-grandson K.V. Manikantadas is among those who were galvanised by his writings.
When the State School Arts Festival returns to Kasaragod after 28 years, Mr Manikantadas is set to impress the audience with his welcome song, which has been chosen for the inaugural ceremony of Asia’s biggest school arts fest which begins on November 28 at Kanhangad. That the song has been written in seven dialects spoken in the district makes it very special. It was among the 83 entries that came up before the jury.
The Principal of Chattanchal Higher Secondary School, Kasaragod, Mr Manikantadas said the district had a tradition guided and influenced by various clans or gothras.
“I have tried to encapsulate the entire history of the district in the song starting from aborigines who shaped its art and culture, colonial rule, and the agrarian struggle,” he added.
The song was not just written for the school festival; it is a compilation of songs written over the years, he said, adding that the district, where people speak as many as seven dialects, had always amazed him with its diversity. A postgraduate in Malayalam, Mr Manikantadas is a student of the late critic Sukumar Azhikode. He also considers the late M.N. Vijayan as a great teacher. The song, composed by Kanhangad Ramachandran, will be rendered by as many as 60 teachers.