Saturday, 10 October 2009

History outside the archives

This morning I put down in black and white an idea which has been floating in my mind since long. I proposed this idea to the novices (through a letter) and I hope something will emerge out of it. It is all about gathering the bits and pieces of history that officially does not get recorded. These are seemingly insignificant events, circumstances, decisions or happenings of the past that often get lost in the sands of time - yet, somehow they do have a very important role to play in shaping history. These bits and pieces are known to all but not officially noted and hence with the passage of time, they are lost. Slowly History is 'made' - bereft of certain key elements/truths. Moreover, these are very interesting and enriching pieces of information, which are capable of shading recorded history in a totally new colour.

One such piece: It was Fr Muthalakhuzhiyil Sebastian who really started what is today known as PARA, in Ravulapalem. To have a social outreach programme was his brainchild and his initiative too. Of course, it took a formal and more reputed shape in years to come, but he did have this social bent then. This year PARA celebrates its '80 seasons of journeying with the Dalit bahujans of Konaseema' and this fact needs to be made known and Fr Sebastian's contribution duly acknowledged.

To my fortune, this evening there was a call from Fr Maliekal and while clarifying with him something I picked up a phrase which describes this sort of research perfectly: 'History outside the archives'.

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