Representing Identities: A Critical Reading of Aitihyamala

Authors

  • Alphonsa C.A. Assistant Professor in English, Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam, Kerala India

Abstract

Aitihyas can be treated as a form of biographical record wherein we come across the real and imagined narratives on local heroes, anti-heroes and their heroic deeds. The society prefers to recall and nurture the memorabilia. Chronicles and legends are manifestations of the society. Kottarathil Sankunni’s Aitihyamala ( Garland of Legends) is considered to be the most comprehensive resource of the legends of Kerala. Aitihyamala is not an original literary work by Sankunni. It is a collection of several legends that are part of Kerala folklore. Aitihyamala occupies a significant space in the canon of Malayalam literature. There has been an attempt in compiling the ‘popular legends’ in order to establish a hegemonic history and in the process what happens is a deliberate marginalization of communities and denigration of their histories. The legends popular in Kerala can be read in this light where a conscious attempt can be traced out in constructing an “imagined history’ of the dominant classes to subvert the prevalent history of the other communities. It is interesting that this compilation does not reflect the trend towards social reform, anti-Brahmin sentiments and even elements of radicalism. We can never ignore the relationship between the ‘transcendent’ literature, ‘contingent’ history and the strategic politics.

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Published

2018-07-28