Thiruvananthapuram: So, Sarada Niketan will remain as it is. And maybe, in a few decades, crumble down to the earth. The home to one of the greatest poets in Malayalam, Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer, the ‘E’-shaped house was promised a resurrection by the LDF government by turning two rooms with Ulloor’s belongings into a museum. However, the move to acquire the whole house and hand it over to a literary institution has demotivated the poet’s family who have been wanting to treasure their ancestor’s memorabilia.
Ulloor’s grandson, S Parameswaran, a septuagenarian, and his wife Vijayalakshmi live in Sarada Niketan. They have, however, shifted the poet’s belongings to one part of the house which was visited by former minister for cultural affairs M A Baby in January 2011. It was promised that the two rooms will be turned into a museum, allowing the family to use the other portion of the house. The renovation was allotted ` 50 lakh in the budget too.
However, in December 2011, after the UDF Government came to power, the Cultural Department toyed with the idea of acquiring the whole house and handing it over to the Kerala Sahitya Akademy. However, by then, Parameswaran had partitioned his property between his two children and his son, who is the present authority of the house, was unwilling to part with his ancestral property.
The government had promised to convert the home of Malayalam poets, Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer, into a museum.
"It’s been 17 years since I started walking behind this dream. Though we hoped things were headed for better days once (then) minister Baby visited here, nothing materialised. Some months back, the Government called for discussions regarding the acquisition of the house, but that would leave us bereft of our great-grandfather’s reminder,’’ says Parameswaran.
Undertaking the renovation of the house all by himself is a distant dream for the aged man, since that would take up all his resources. That is why he had wanted the government’s help to at least keep the great poet’s belongings intact. Now that includes Ulloor’s coat, chappals, spectacles, walking stick, honours he received from the rajah, some papers hand-written by him, the recliner chair he used and numerous other small and big items he owned.
Ulloor had bought the house in the early 1930s upon a word by Dewan C P Ramaswamy Iyer, who wanted the poet to stay near his house. The Dewan then lived at Bhaktivilasom, which presently houses the All India Radio. It was a big family and to have some silent hours to himself, the poet had built a library annexe, which had a hidden route from the main house. A bird’s eye view would reveal that the house is shaped as the alphabet ‘E’ and still has a cement bench in the open which was used by people who came visiting the poet. If not the house, the memories of a bygone era are worth preserving.