PG’s library reveals the ideologue’s contradictions
By M S Vidyananadan - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
24th November 2012 12:12 PM
From a theist to a hardcore Communist - the life journey of a man who sought wisdom through books is evident from the intellectual treasure possessed by Marxist ideologue P Govinda Pillai, who passed away on Thursday night.
On Friday, hundreds of people who arrived at his home to pay their last respects got a chance to understand his hunger for knowledge from the numerous racks of original paperbacks stacked everywhere, right from the drawing room, living room staircase and even in the bedrooms of the two-storeyed building, besides a special room on the top floor which served as the library room of the Marxist scholar, considered next only to E M S Namboodiripad in stature.
If one’s selection of books shows his character, PG’s collection throws light into his intense urge to gain knowledge, breaking all barriers - both geographical and man-made.
From Charlie Chaplin to Bhagavad Gita to Darwin to Mahakavi Moyinkutty Vaidyar - the books reveal the contradictory interests of the reader - perhaps one who had the pure urge to learn, learn and learn.
The former disciple of Agamananda Swamikal, in his later life, was always attracted to Charles Darwin, which inspired him to even pen a book titled ‘Charles Darwin: Jeevithavum Kaalavum.’ The library has scores of books by Darwin and scholastic studies on the life and theory of the English naturalist who presented a common descent for all species.
But what would amaze one is PG’s equal ‘inclination’ to spirituality, which is evident from the vast collection on the Vedic and Puranic traditions. A complete collection on Sree Narayana Guru and studies on the Guru and other yogis like Brahmananda Sivayogi are among the spiritual books in his library.
Women writers from across the world find place on the racks with the Kerala representation ranging from Devaki Warrier to Madhavikutty.
The other writers include Kalidasa, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Antonio Gramsci, Rosa Luxemburg, Marta Harnecker - the list will be a long one.
Among the books which were not categorically arranged one could see Thikkurissi’s ‘Brahmachari’ or C N Sreekandan Nair’s ‘Kanchanaseetha’ next to ‘The phenomenon of Soviet cinema’ by Yuri Vorontsov and Igou Rachuk.
Besides vast collections on philosophy and sociology, the library gives equal importance to science, from the basic principles in physics to advanced books on atomic energy.
That PG was a gradual learner is evident from his collections on various disciplines. For example, in atomic energy, it starts from a basic school-level text to ‘Atomic Diplomacy’ by Gar Alperovitz.
PG’s collection on music ranges from Muthuswami Deekshithar to Western musicians. Vast Indian and foreign collections on folklore, science and history too could be seen.
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