Saturday, November 1, 2008

TALES FROM THE CAPITAL CITY - VI

HANUMAN PANDARAM

Hanuman Pandaram - Sketch by the author.
“If you don’t get inside, that Pandaram will catch you”- you must have heard this warning a hundred times. I too have heard this as a small boy, and once thought that I was fortunate to be born in a generation when this Pandaram no more exist.

‘Pandaram’- commonly known as ‘Hanuman Pandaram’ used to visit the houses of Trivandrum until late 1950’s.

My relative T.K. Hari still remember a lean middle-aged man wearing a black coat, with two large cloth bags on his both shoulders walking through the streets of Pettah. He used to wear a large copper plate around his neck, which he used to make sound by striking with a stick. The very sound of the copper plate was enough to scare the wits out of small children; they will be hiding behind their mother’s back at that time.

Pandaram wears a wooden mask- painted red or green, with large protruding eyes and sharp tooth. The lower jaw of the mask was movable, sufficient to scare children. Sometimes he will be invited to the houses to scare naughty children. He scares them and warns them that if they do not do their duties properly, he will take them with him in his large bags. After all this drama, with the poor child crying in their mother’s arms, the Pandaram receives some money from the father of the child.


Photograph: from the private collection of K. Hari. Photographer P. Nadaeshan Achari of Pinarammoodu Veedu, Pettah took this photograph of Hanuman Pandaram in 1950’s.

11 comments:

Manu said...

hiya sharat.. thanks a lot... yeah i can see that ur interested in a lot of family history as well... i still havent taken a pic of that stone u know... probably on my next visit i will... and nice blog u have... and the old pics are really good and rare... cheers

sharat sunder rajeev said...

thanks for ur comment. think u r correct,i am a bit interested in family histories...... u better take that photo soon. i had seen an old building some yrs back and thought of taking its photograph, but i went on postponing the day and when i finally went there,the whole structure was demolished.

Manu said...

well for sure the stone wont be demolished or thrown away... at most it will crumble away... but ill take ur advice... u know when we renovated our temple the 400 year old naga idols, although cracked and broken, were all thrown into the river... wanted to keep it... but religious rites needed that they be disposed into the flowing waters of the river...

Manu said...

Hey sharat... well do send me the pics if u can... my id is dark_voldemort2000 at yahoo.com... and well im interested a lot in old travancore state and so have a haphazard collection of pictures etc... but no solid things... how did u get these coins?? so ur ancestors r from tamil nadu?? so in terms of history, ur influx into malayali culture was quite recent.. traditionally ur ancestors must have belonged to the groups that were connected with the arts and crafts of the temples of Tanjore, Madurai etc...

rudraveena said...

i belong to gujarat ahmedabad more specifically. i am not at all acquainted with the history and culture you write about , but its damn interesting. and also it makes me revisit my past to the town and villages as you do. thanks

sharat sunder rajeev said...

Thanks Rudraveena, for ur comment. I am pleased to hear from u, a north indian, with no connection with our history who enjoys reading this blog!!!
It would be interestin for u to know that there are still many Gujarati traders/brahmin families living here, in thiruvananthapuram, the capital of kerala. they have migrated to the southern tip of india centuries back, hope i will be able topost an article on them soon.

John B John said...

Sharat etta....
It's really interesting!!
You can actually try out some literary Works..........
Although Blog is a new member.............

Asokan said...

OMG! That old photo of Hanuman Pandaram, took me be back to early 1960s. I clearly remember him and the description mentioned is correct. A nice quiet guy, except when he put his mask. That scene is still etched in my mind...scaring us kids then...for a good cause..

sr devraj said...

awesome site... hanuman chalisa

anvidh k said...

Good piece of information.Nice post admin. Reading hanuman chalisa will give you power.

Jyothi Sree said...

Awesome Post Admin.Jai Hanuman.Reading hanuman chalisa every day gives you Strength and power to you.Jai Sree Ram.