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Padavampuzha

A story about a village in Kerala, India and the political drama that happened in 1980's.

Padavampuzha- A village in God’s country Kerala, the southern end state of India. The Village is highly known for its natural beauty with Cheruthoni River flowing across and highly flourished with the farms and biological assets. Green environment all around the region completely blessed with ponds, dense herbs with a mountain covering the eastern side. Farming and fishing was their main occupation and they were yet to see their first computer.

Kadakanpalli Madhavan Nambiar- a well-known person in that locality. He was crossing his 70’s.

Madhavan Nambiar was sitting on the veranda of his ancestral home “Kadakanpalli Tharavadu” holding the cup of black tea. It was raining outside.

“So… What is your decision?” –Mukundan, a leader of KSPF (a political party in Kerala), asked Madhavan Nambiar.

Madhavan Nambiar’s face turned red, and he was controlling his anger.

“See Mr. Nambiar, you hold a good reputation in this village. And you have done a lot to these people. And you don’t need any political power to do it!” Said Mukundan.

The rain got heavier outside. Mukundan took the cup of black Tea served to him by the maid. Mukundan waited for her to leave.

“And for me… I have been waiting for this almost 15 years. I am sure I will win… But you should not contest. You are the only person who can win me! Please… ” Mukundan said!

“As said, I will offer you 1,000 Rupees. What is your final decision?” He continued!

Mr. Nambiar was still keeping his nerves under control. But Mukundan was trying to break it!

“My Dear Sir, I will give 2,000 Rupees… But if you don’t agree, then it’s like you are forcing me to do something! I think you don’t love to live without your family,” Mukundan attacked him emotionally.

“Ha ha…” Nambiar broke his silence.

“Mukundan… I am 76 years old… born in this village! My ancestors developed this place. I cannot fight with you… but I am not afraid of your threatening! I don’t need your money!...” Said Nambiar.

“Is this your final decision?” Mukundan asked him again.

Nambiar shook his head saying yes.

Mukundan was about to leave, and it was still drizzling. Mukundan opened his umbrella.

“Mukundan… Stay… it’s still raining. Let’s have the dinner here.” said Nambiar.

“Thanks, sir. I am leaving. Wife will be waiting.” Mukundan stepped out smiling at Nambiar.

Madhavan Nambiar was a retired teacher who proudly belonged to Padavampuzha. He had been supporting the people right from the British rule. His father was the first person to hoist the Indian flag after Independence in the Lower Primary school which was funded by Kadakanpalli family. During those days, 2/3 of the village belonged to them and everything was given to the poor and needy. Most times, the farms were damaged by heavy rains and people used to get help from his family. Those days, every year on Vishu -Malayalam New Year, the whole village would be waiting before their house to get the “Kaineetam”- money given to the poor and downtrodden wishing them to have a good year ahead. Kuppan- the 94 year old man still remembered the way Madhavan Nambiar’s Grandfather, “Sir Kadakanpalli Krishnan Nambiar” threw the gold coins to the crowd. That was the day, the poor people of the village held bigger currency notes- Given by Krishnan Nambiar.

Madhavan Nambiar held his responsibility and worked for the people who believed him and his family. But days were gone, the wealth of the family was given to the needy and all that they have with them was Kadakanpalli House and 2 Acres of land. Madhavan Nambiar never believed in politics- His thoughts were always on “Karma” (Spirituality). He taught the youngsters of the village to work hard, to strengthen their life. He had been a kind of person who was mostly approached by the people to solve any issues happening in the village.

The village had its most respect for one more person. Mr.Shankaran Nair, who died three months ago, because of Pneumonia. Shankaran Nair was a good friend of Nambiar and they both enjoyed their youth together. Nambiar was having the support of his family, but Shankaran Nair was a self-motivated guy who stepped his self into politics and created a party for the people- KSPF-Kerala State People Federation. He had been the Panchayat president for 30 years and had won all the elections he contested. The village showed an enormous growth under him and Prime Minister Nehru once visited the village. Padavampuzha was considered as the most developed village in that locality. Mukundan was Shankaran Nair’s Nephew, who got into the party activities with his uncle. He was energetic and the first man to appear for all issues in the village.

“Dad… Shankaran Nair has done many things for our people, but I don’t think Mukundan will do the same,” Said Krishnan, Madhavan Nambiar’s son.

Krishnan belonged to a local group “Padavampuzha youth committee” which used to set meetings on people’s awareness about public issues. They also trained people in farming and taught the government’s schemes to boost farmers. Shankaran Nair was Krishnan’s role model, but Krishnan refused to join KSPF as he always wanted to work on his ideas and principles.

“Why? He can do well…” Nambiar replied.

“Last week, Karim tried to sell his cattle, but I heard Mukundan was trying to get it for a poor rate. There are some issues with the construction of the new school. I suspect that engineer too.” Said Krishnan. Karim was standing behind him.

“Did you talk to him on that?” Nambiar asked him rolling the betel leaves with his thumb.

Krishnan has tried to talk with Mukundan on this but Mukundan refused!

The village was quite happy with Mukundan but Krishnan had different ideas on him and that seemed to be true for the guys with him. Shankaran Nair was an honest man who gave his entire life to the village, and Mukundan was trying to step into his uncle’s role with the support of the people.

“We don’t have any evidence to comment on Mukundan.” Said Youth committee members.

“We cannot criticize Mukundan on assumptions,” Committee chief Kumaran said!

But Krishnan said that he will not be the same once he got the power. “There will be an election in another two months following the death of Shankaran Nair and I think Mukundan should not win” he added. He also suggested the committee to contest in Panchayat election for the first time. But the committee policy was not to contest in any elections and the members were not ready for it.

“Not one among us! Why not Madhavan Nambiar?” Krishnan said!

“Your dad?” Kumaran asked.

“Think about his works. Shankaran Nair worked with power. Madhavan Nambiar did it by himself. We know the respect of the Nambiar for people. And better than Mukundan, he is the right choice.”

Committee discussed it and that evening they decided to approach Madhavan Nambiar.

“Dad, we discussed in the committee. We want you to be the candidate for the upcoming election” Krishnan said to Nambiar.

“First you talk with Mukundan. I don’t want to get into this. I have said this earlier to Shankaran also,” Said Nambiar.

“He is not ready to answer me. Dad… Mukundan still has time to become a panchayat board president. And he has to prove himself. If he is capable, he will make it. And think about the people, they believe him. If he is not loyal, then I should say you too betrayed them standing with Mukundan.”

“I don’t want to get any political post. And Krishnan, my focus is on your sister’s marriage now! So please leave this talk.” Said Nambiar.

“Sir, we all loved Shankaran Nair. Mukundan cannot replace him. It’s you who can do that. You have to contest in this election. I am requesting you on behalf of the people… Please! That Mukundan is ruthless…” Karim fell over Madhavan Nambiar’s legs suddenly.

Madhavan Nambiar was shocked.

He couldn’t say anything other than his acceptance.

Next two days, the entire village came to know that Madhavan Nambiar was going to contest in panchayat election and people were very happy about it. That was sad news for Mukundan and that made him offer Rs.2000 to reconsider his decision.

Madhavan Nambiar understood about Mukundan when he walked away from his Kadakanpalli house. He was looking at the showering rain drops thinking about Shankaran Nair.

“The days of good politics have gone Shankaran.” Madhavan Nambiar said looking at the black sky.

Next Day, 21 June 1984. Madhavan Nambiar reached Padavampuzha youth committee office. Madhavan Nambiar was all set to talk to the committee members on his nomination for the upcoming panchayat election. He was made to sit in a chair on the veranda of the office. The office was an old building and resembled a party house with famous leaders- Che Guevara, Bhagat Singh and they also had the photo of Shankaran Nair. Madhavan Nambiar looked at them with pride and felt happy for the first time to contest in an election.

But he was not called into the office for the next 30 min and Madhavan Nambiar could feel something was wrong. Just as he tried to get in, Krishnan came out with fury. Kumaran was also with him.

“Sir,” said Kumaran.

“Dad, You come. They are traitors” Krishnan said ferociously.

Madhavan Nambiar was in chaos and asked Kumaran “What happened.”

Kumaran hesitated for a while and said “Sir… There is talk in the committee that you got money from Mukundan. ”

“What?” Madhavan Nambiar raised his voice.

“Sir. It is committee’s opinion, ” Kumaran said a low tone.

Madhavan Nambiar looked at Krishnan and Shankaran Nair in the photo-He was smiling!

Within a month, the news started spreading all over the village!

People had different views and they started commenting!

“Why does he want to contest in an election now? He may need money.”

“Mukundan gave money to Madhavan Nambiar and that’s why he was not allowed to contest in an election by the youth committee!”

“Madhavan Nambiar used Mukundan’s money for his daughter’s Marriage!”

Madhavan Nambiar was completely taken aback by the people in the village and all his reputation was lost. He has been working for the welfare of the people throughout his life and everything in vein. Krishnan left the village and joined a literary association in the capital city Trividhangur. Madhavan Nambiar and his memories were living with the Kadakanpalli Tharavadu.

08 October 1984- Padavampuzha Panchayat election results announced.

Mukundan won the election unopposed.

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