A commemorative postage stamp on the Death Anniversary of Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker, father of the Library Movement in Kerala :
Issued by India
Issued on Jun 19, 2004
Issued for : The Department of Posts honours Shri P. N. Panicker through issue of this commemorative postage stamp.
Stamp & FDC : Benoy Varghese (Based on material given by the proponent)
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multicolour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Print Quantity : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
Name : Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker
Born on Mar 1, 1909 at Neelamperoor, Alappuzha district, Kerala, India
Died on Jun 19, 1995
- P.N. Panicker‘s life gave credence to Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s observation that “an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man”. A frail khadi-clad old man, he left a shadow that has grown over the years making him a legend in his own lifetime and thereafter. The activities of the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom (Kerala State Library Council) ignited a popular cultural movement in Kerala at the end of which the state acquired total literacy in the 1990s. It was the work of P.N. Panicker who carried the message of education and development even to the remotest corners and neglected tribal pockets of Kerala.
- The Grandhasala Sanghom which began humbly with 47 libraries in 1945, grew into a network of more than 6,000 libraries spreading over the towns and villages of Kerala. To give this activity a developmental format, he organized the Kerala Association for Non Formal Education and Development (KANFED). Together, these two Associations turned an activity into a movement which had a profound impact on the education, culture and development of Kerala.
- Born on 1st March, 1909 in Kuttanad, in the erstwhile Travancore state, the young Panicker showed a keen interest in reading newspapers and books. Not only did he read them himself, he also read the daily news to groups of illiterate people of all ages. In a small room given by the local cooperative society in his village, Panicker started a reading center called Sanadanadharmam Library. This was the little pebble which was to have a major ripple effect. An admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, Panicker was inspired by the Mahatma‘s words that “illiteracy is a curse and shame of the country and it should be wiped out as early as possible“. Social historians of the state are of the opinion that the cultural revolution following the social emancipation movements initiated by Sree Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, V.T. Bhattathiripad and others was the outcome of Panicker‘s library movement. He walked through the state contacting men and women everywhere, generating awareness. The idea, inspiration and leadership for making Kerala the first totally literate state of the country came from Panicker and his KANFED. The state-wide popular movement called Sakshara Keralam through a time-bound intensive campaign involving thousands of voluntary workers achieved success on 18th April, 1991.
- Disturbed by the fissiparous tendencies that he saw growing in the country, Panicker also worked to foster social amity and harmony. For this he devoted his last years to the Friendship Village Movement (Sauhrudagramam). He continued travelling and working vigorously, sustained by his simple Gandhian lifestyle and an indomitable will till he passed away on 19th June 1955. The Government of Kerala observes 19th June annually as Vayanandinam (Day of Reading) with a week-long series of activities at schools and public institutions to honour the contribution of P.N. Panicker to the cause of literacy and education. The National Literacy Mission has been inspired largely by the work of this frail man who converted a simple slogan of “Read and Grow” into a powerful movement.
- Text : Based on material given by the proponent.
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