Published: 21st January 2022
Calicut Uni in the eye of the storm for allegedly slacking off on completing museum for celebrated Malayalam writer VM Basheer
In the works for six years now, the museum has not been completed despite the varsity being handed over the state-funded building; officials now claim that COVID-19 was the reason behind the delay
The University of Calicut has drawn flak for delaying the completion of the Vaikom Muhammed Basheer museum of the varsity. According to a source, the university initiated measures to set up the museum six years ago after completing the construction of the building. However, the works related to the museum have not been completed yet. Though the university had also planned to publish a dictionary comprising the words used by Basheer six years ago, that project has not been completed yet either.
A writer of Malayalam literature, VM Basheer was also an activist for independence during India's freedom struggle and is also popularly known as the 'Beypore Sultan'.
"MT Vasudevan Nair, MM Basheer and architect RK Ramesh had together made a project report for the museum. They had also planned to showcase the manuscripts of Basheer and some belongings of the writer such as his chair and books, which his family members had agreed to hand over to the varsity. Yet, the university has not completed the museum project," said Rasheed Ahamed, a Calicut University syndicate member.
"The varsity also showed lethargy in completing the project to release a lexicon comprising words from Basheer’s books. A team of MM Basheer and N Gopinathan Nair had handed over a copy of the 6,000-page lexicon to the university. I think DC Books has also agreed to publish the dictionary. This project has also not reached anywhere," he added.
Rasheed Ahamed also claimed that the building of the museum and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer chair have become a hub for anti-social elements. "Some people are using the building, which was constructed using several crores of state government fund, to drink alcohol and indulge in other illegal activities. It seems the university is not even deploying housekeeping to properly maintain the buildings. If the varsity respects Basheer, the building should be used to set up the museum and other activities like seminars to promote Malayalam literature," he said.
Meanwhile, Tom K Thomas, a member of the ruling front of the syndicate, blamed the recent COVID-19 crisis as the reason behind the delay in the projects. "We are planning to reactivate the Vaikom Muhammed Basheer chair. A syndicate subcommittee has been formed to expedite work related to the Basheer museum and the dictionary," he said.