The first episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio show—Mann Ki Baat—in his second term took me down memory lane at the mention of ‘Akshara Arts and Sports Library’ at Edamalakudy, one of the remotest tribal settlements in Kerala.
Nestling in the dense forests of Idukki, the library is promoted by PV Chinnathampy, a small tea shop owner and primary school teacher P K Muraleedharan. It came to my notice while trekking through the difficult region along with noted journalist and Magsaysay award winner P Sainath about six year ago.
Edamalakudy constitutes Kerala’s first and only tribal grama panchayat deep inside Eravikulam National Park. We were an eight–member team comprising journalists, filmmakers and academics, and our endeavor was to study the functioning of tribal women units of Kerala’s celebrated Kudumbasree Poverty Eradication Mission in Edamalakudy.