Kerala is well known for its rich heritage of art and culture. The State is aiming to make culture one of the major driving forces of the economy. There is an increasing demand in the State for cultural products and the State should take effective measures to meet this rising demand. Kerala at present has got great opportunities to promote its culture in an extensive way.
The Thirteenth Five-Year Plan recognises art and culture as a sunrise sector that would propel economic growth and development of the regional economy of Kerala. During the Plan, the State Government would promote its rich and diverse culture and will give specific focus to integrated cultural planning, encompassing art and heritage planning. The allocation of resources for cultural activities will be enhanced. Research on Kerala’s historical and cultural heritage will be promoted.
The Approach for Thirteenth Five-Year Plan on Art and Culture Sector emphasises a public policy on art and culture that should facilitate the evolution of a modern, secular and democratic society. Such a policy represents continuity with the legacy of Kerala’s cultural renaissance. It should be a progressive response to the contemporary challenges arising from majoritarianism and revivalism. There are numerous institutional features of Kerala’s cultural history that need consolidation. Village libraries and reading rooms, cultural societies, film societies, local oral history projects and popular art forms with secular messages have to be strengthened, utilising the potential of emerging technologies and new social media.
There are many institutions in the State working for the promotion and propagation of this cultural heritage. They include academic, performing and promoting institutions. Financial assistance to the sector is mainly provided through Cultural Affairs Department. Major implementing departments coming under the sector are Department of Archaeology, Department of Archives, Directorate of Culture, Department of Museum and Zoos, and Kerala State Film Development Corporation.Major institutions coming under the Department of Cultural Affairs are Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Kerala Folklore Academy, Kerala Sahitya Academy, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy, Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, Bharath Bhavan, Kumaranasan National Institute of Culture, Vasthuvidya Gurukulam, Kerala Kalamandalam, Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan, Gurugopinath Natana Gramam, Jawahar Balabhavan, State Institute of Languages, and Kerala Book Marketing Society. Lack of co-ordination and monitoring and evaluation of the activities of these institutions is an important limitation of the sector. Therefore it is proposed to form an apex body for the co-ordination of the institutions.
A brief description of major achievements of some of the departments coming under the art and culture sector in 2017-18 is given below.
One of the major achievements of the department is the establishment of District Heritage Museums. Work on District Heritage Museums is progressing in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikkode, Pathanamthitta and Idukki. The Department constructed an eco-park and renovated the children’s park at Madavoorpara. It also conducted urgent renovation works at Hill Palace Museum Thrippunithura, Sreepadam Palace, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kottarakkara Thampuran Palace, Kilimanoor Palace and Puthupally Vennimala Sree Rama lekshmana Temple. The department conducted various exhibitions and seminars, scientific excavations at Poovambayi at Kozhikode, Neyyattinkkara, Thrissur, Kollamkkode Palace and Mulayam.The Department organised Kerala Telengana Heritage Fest 2017 at Hydrabad from February 26 to 28 to create cultural awareness among the Non Resident Keralites.
Archives Department is the custodian of all non-current records of permanent value of the State Government and various departments, institutions and individuals. As the custodian of valuable records of historical value like Government records, palm leaf, manuscripts, etc the Department conserves such documents and protects them scientifically for reference purpose. In 2017-18 the department achieved the following major programmes.
Directorate of Museums and Zoos
The Department of Museums and Zoos is functioning under the administrative control of the Cultural Affairs Department. It has its Head Office, Museums and Galleries, as well as Zoological Park in Thiruvananthapuram City and Art Gallery and Krishna Menon Museum at Kozhikode. These institutions are functioning as major centres of attraction of tourists. Major achievements of the Department in 2017-18 are following.
Directorate of Culture
During 2016-17, up to March, Directorate provided financial assistance to about 21 cultural institutions including cultural memorials like Thunjansmarakam, Unnai Warrier Smarakam under Plan and non-Plan fund. New schemes of the Directorate are Diamond Jubilee Fellowship for young artists, development and networking of Museums, livelihood for artists/rural art hubs, apex body for culture. The two ongoing schemes are non-recurring grant to cultural institutions and diffusion of Kerala Culture. Under the scheme, “Diffusion of Kerala Culture,” culture directorate has created a website named www.keralaculture.org and updated it with videos of cultural festivals and various cultural aspects of Kerala. The department organized a cultural exchange programme named Heritage Fest at New Delhi from October 14 to 16, 2017 in association with Bharath Bhavan, Archaeology Department and Archives Department.
Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC)
In 2017-18, KSFDC has commenced the modernisation and bifurcation of Chitranjali theatre at Chittur. Bifurcation and renovation works at Chitranjali Theatre started in August 2017 and theatre will be opened in December 2017. Government has selected KSFDC as a special purpose vehicle for the implementation of four major projects like, construction of cultural complexes in all districts of Kerala under the Cultural Affairs Department, conversion of Chitranjali Studio, Thiruvananthapuram into a Film City, construction of a multipurpose film festival complex at Chitranjali Studio Thiruvananthapuram for the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and construction of 100 theatres all over Kerala with the assistance from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).The tendering process for selection of agencies who would prepare the DPR is at the final stage.
Vasthuvidhya Gurukulam is the only institution in India to promote and preserve traditional architecture and other related subjects under Government Sector. Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has approved VasthuvidhyaGurukulam as national nodal agency for vasthu and other related subjects. Procedures are going on to upgrade Vasthuvidhya Gurukulam as a national institute.Vasthuvidhya Gurukulam is conducting five academic courses in Vasthuvidhya and mural painting. The total student strength of Vasthu Vidhya Gurukulam is 250. Government of India and United Nations Development Programme selected Aranmula village as a focal point to implement their tourism projects. In India, 31 villages have been selected and Aranmula is one among the prominent cultural heritage villages selected. Gurukulam is the implementing agency for this project. Vasthuvidhya Gurukulam is documenting all the traditional architectural buildings of Kerala for Department of Tourism. It prepared heritage Plan for Alappuzha and Thalasseri for State Town Planning Department. Gurukulam has documented selected 50 important architectural structures in South India. Mural painting renovation works at Kerala Kalamadalam and S.D College Alappuzha were completed.
State Institute of Encyclopaedic Publications
In 2017-18, State Institute of Encyclopaedia published the 10th volume of the Viswa Sahitya Vijnanakosam. Works for the preparation of volume 17 of the General Encyclopaedia is progressing. The institute has also initiated the works for the publication of Navasankethika Vidhya Vijananakosam and Kerala Vijnanakosam.
Kerala Sahitya Academy
Kerala Sahitya Academy is an autonomous institution established for the promotion and development of Malayalam language and literature. As part of its diamond jubilee celebrations, the Academy organised a symposium with the participation of eminent writers from Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Konkini and Malayalam languages on November 2016. The Academy conducted State Level Vidhyarangam Sargolsavam from 27th to 30th December, 2016 for students. On January 2017 Academy organised a four days Workshop on South Indian Poetry translation in which eminent poets from South Indian languages participated. As part of International Theatre Festival, five days workshop on drama writing was also organised.
Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy
The Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy was established for the conservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the State related to music, dance, drama, Kathakali and folk arts. Sangeetha Nadaka Academy organised “Nadya Kairali”, and Kathakali festival in association with Chembai Memorial Music college from October 30 to November 5, 2016. In this festival, eminent Kathakali artist’s Kathakali and seminars were presented. Shadkala Govinda Marar music festival was organised from November 4 to 6, 2016 at Ernakulam district. “Sruthi Panchamam” Swaravadhyothsavam was organised from February 5 to 8, 2017 at CMS college. The 9th International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) was organised in Thrissur from February 20 to 28, 2017. 15 international dramas, 8 national dramas and 7 Malayalam dramas were presented in the 9 days programme.
Kerala Lalithakala Academy
The Kerala Lalithakala Academy conducts programmes for promoting the talent of artists especially painters and sculptors. It gives assistance to artists for organizing exhibitions and provide scholarships to students of fine arts. As part of Pavayil Fest 2017, Academy organised one day painting camp at Pavayil, Kozhikkode. About 50 artists participated in it. The Academy organised National Cartoon camp from May 4 to 6, 2017 and 10 days art and cultural programme named “Samanwaya” from July 14 to 23 at Darbar hall Kalakendra, Ernakulam. 250 artists including 40 transgenders and 18 tribal artists participated in it. Academy aims to organise painting camps and sculpture making in government schools to attract students to this art.
Kerala State Chalachitra Academy
The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy was established in 1998 to promote good cinema in Malayalam. The Academy helps Government in formulating policies regarding Cinema and TV. Mainly three film festivals viz, International Film Festival of Kerala, National Film Festival of Kerala, International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala are organised by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. Academy organised National Film Festival from March 18 to 21, 2017 at Kodungalloor, in which 21 (national award) films were exhibited. Academy organises touring talkies (mobile film shows) in association with film societies, schools, colleges, cultural association etc. Chalachitra Academy in association with Federation of Film Society of India organised first Women’s International Film festival at Kozhikkode Tagore Theatre from March 6 to 10, 2017. The presence of eminent women personalities in Indian cinema was one of the main attraction of the festival. The 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala was organised from June 16 to 20, 2017 at Thiruvananthapuram. 1500 delegates participated in it and 218 films were exhibited. The initial works have started for the construction of permanent theatre festival complex at Chitranjali studio and International Film Study Research Centre and digital archives at Kinfra Park, Kazhakkuttam.
Guru Gopinath Natana Gramam, Vattiyoorkkavu
The Guru Gopinath Natana Gramam was established as a Centre for learning, training and research in various Indian dance forms. The Institution conducts dance and musical instrument classes for talented children. Seminars on dance forms of Kerala are also conducted regularly. In 2017-18, institution renovated the Chilamboli open theatre. A workshop on international Museum was organised on February 9, 2017. The main objective of this workshop was to prepare a road map for the preparation of National Dance Museum. About 40 museum experts including experts from Austria, Australia participated in the Workshop. The National Dance Festival was organised from February 7 to 12, 2017, in which dance groups from Orissa, Manipur, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala participated. Documentation of Kerala Nadanam phase-I completed in January 2017.
State Institute of Children’s Literature
The Institute has been publishing and popularizing books and periodicals on children’s literature in Malayalam language. The Institute brings out a magazine called “Thaliru” for children. It conducts various programmes to inculcate reading habit among the children and organizes competitions for promoting the literary aptitude of children. Aksharayathra conducted on November 2016 at selected schools is one of the main activity of the Institute. The aim of this scheme is to evoke interest and love for mother tongue and reading habit among children. The scheme provides books at low prices to children. The Institute conducted vacation camp (Sarga Vasantham) in 2017 in 8 districts. Drama, poetry, story, drawing, media, science and environment were the seven subjects in the camps. Through book fairs conducted by Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Library Council, the Institute sold books worth 1 crore.
State Institute of Languages
The State Institute of languages, Kerala an academic publisher was established in 1968 in pursuance of the national policy for the development of regional languages. Up to July 2017, Institute published 4,260 books. The Institute developed a mobile app for officials to use for using Malayalam language in the field of administration. In collaboration with C-DAC, the Institute initiated work for Malayalam computing including spell check, grammar check, production of Malayalam fonts and selling book through e-commerce
Margi, an institution for teaching ‘Kathakali’, started in the year 1970 and is a cultural centre for promoting ‘Kathakali, ‘Koodiyattam’ and ‘Nangiarkoothu’. The institution functions as a ‘Kaliyogam’ (training cum performing group). There are 26 artists in the Kathakali Section. Margi gives free training in Kathakali and Chenda to school students on Saturdays and Sundays.Koodiyattom section functions in collaboration with central Sangeetha Nataka Academy. Seminars and classes are conducted for the promotion of Koodiyattom. More than 100 programmes on Kathakali and Koodiyattom were performed within and outside Kerala every year.
Kerala State Library Council
The Kerala State Library Council strives to make an integrated public library system in the State through its various activities. It takes up activities mentioned in the Kerala Public Libraries Act, 1989 and other activities of social importance. Universalisation of library service, facilitation of modern amenities for acquisition of knowledge, improving educational standard of low achieving students, special library service for women, children, aged and prisoners are the main activities of the library council. Kerala State Library council provides its services through model village libraries and academic study centres in 14 districts of Kerala and Jail library service at 15 jails. It envisages to extend services to 3 more jails, 5 juvenile home libraries, 7 hospital library and 4 orphanages.
Malayalam Mission was started in 2009, with an aim to acquaint the children of Non Resident Keralites with Kerala culture and Malayalam language. It offers 4 certificate courses of duration of 10 years. The certificate courses are Kanikkonna (2 year), Diploma course, Sooryakanthi (2 year), Higher diploma course, Aambal (3 year) and senior higher diploma, Neelakurinji (3 year). In 2016-17 the Mission started a new study centre in Tamil Nadu besides initiating activities in UK and Kuwait.