thinnai pallikoodam
  • Dear friends
    This one is quite interesting that I like to share with you all.

    My Young Days in School

    (This extract is from a Tamil book written
    by Tamil Thatha, Dr. U. V. Saminathayyar named, “Yen Charithiram”)

    In those days, the village school was
    called “ Thinnai Pallikoodam “. The
    system of learning was entirely different. All the boys have to arrive at the
    school at 5 A.M. itself with their palm leaf (Panai Olai) “chuvadis”. All the
    chuvadis are connected to a wooden piece of same size attached by means of a
    string and tied. This is called “chuvadi thooku”. As soon as the boys arrive at
    the school, they have to hang their chuvadi thooku in the walls and they have
    to recite the lessons taught on the previous day loudly, taking turns. The
    teacher would be inside the house (the school ) and would be listening to their

    After 6 A.M., all the boys go out to finish
    their morning duties, bathe in the river or canal, wear their religious symbols
    on their forehead and chant the necessary mantras/ slokas sitting on the river
    bank. Then they will carry in their clothes sufficient quantity of clean sand
    and come to the school. They will remove the sand already spread on the floor
    on the previous day and spread the new sand in its place for writing purposes. Some
    will write and some will read.

    At 9 A.M., they will eat the rice which
    they have brought along. This rice is called “Pazhayadhu”. Before eating, the
    teacher will give each boy a blow with his cane in his palm. This is probably
    to remind them that they are in the school and not in their house.

    The teacher will appoint one boy as
    “monitor”. He is normally a well built boy who has to control the other boys.
    It is his duty not only to control but also listen to the recitations and note
    the mistakes. Some boys try to earn his good-will by giving something to eat
    from their homes.

    After noon, the boys will go to their homes
    for lunch and come back at 3 P.M.. The classes may extend up to 7 P.M. even.

    Every day evening, the teacher will tell
    each boy the name of either a flower or a bird, or an animal or a village and
    he has to remember the name and tell the teacher correctly the next day. This
    exercise is to improve the memory power of the boy.

    Since the boys have to come to the school as
    early as 5 A.M., they will be accompanied by some elders .If they come late,
    they will get a cane beating on their palm. The first late arrival will escape
    with a soft touch. However the subsequent arrivals will experience the ferocity
    and frequency of beatings in increasing order. The boy who got a good beating
    will probably be the first boy to arrive next day, even before time. The first
    boy is called as a “Different One”(Vettran). Sometimes the joy of the first
    person may be short lived because already there may be some one before him
    lurking in the dark corner who indicates his presence by a cough.
    For those boys, sand is the present day
    written in the chuvadi by the teacher, the student will learn the alphabets
    first, called as “Nedunkanakku”. Then he will learn numbers. The chuvadi in
    which the teacher has written is called the Original Olai or “Chattam”.

    The numbers and letters written in the
    chuvadi are more visible if we apply either turmeric powder, or charcoal, or
    Oomathai leaf juice. They also preserve the chuvadi.
    Chuvadis are of different sizes. There will
    be a hole in each chuvadi and a thread will be inserted into the hole to tie
    them together. Blank chuvadis will be attached both in the front and back.

    Yezhuthanis are of different types .e.g.
    stout ones (gundu yezhuthani), pull types (vaaru yezhuthani), foldable ones
    (madakku yezhuthani) etc.
    For the pull types, there will be a
    scabbard made up of palm leaf (panai olai). For the foldable ones, there will
    be a handle made up of ivory, or horn, or wood.

    When a boy begins to start reading a new
    book (Nool),the process is called “Chuvadi Thuvakkal”. Before the teacher
    starts a lesson from the “Nool”, that chuvadi will be placed before Lord
    Pillaiyar after applying turmeric and pooja done, to invoke His Blessings.

    On that day, the boy will bring a kind of
    rice called “kaapparisi”, probably pounded rice (aval) mixed with coconut
    pieces, jaggery and sesame from his home and it will be distributed to all the
    boys. That day will be declared a holiday for the school. All the boys will be
    happy not because they are going to start reading a new book but because they
    are getting a holiday and the accompanying snacks.

    Further, there will be no school on New
    Moon day, Full Moon day, Ashtami day, and Pirathamai day. These days are called
  • -there was this article two days back about a school in thiruneleli which boasts of alumini like barathi,voc and tvs. u ve sa seems to have taught in the school too.

  • The good and the can only imagine how it was great grandfather had a backbone injury he never recovered from due to his vadhyar's 'punishment'...on the other hand he could recite the bhagavad git a verse by verse without any prompting.. If I dig more into famly archives i can find more memories..anyone else have similar?
  • Yah, i read this article too. Probably more because of my fascination
    towards TVS than anything else. Dr. U. V. Saminathayyar does give a
    wonderful insight into the schooling those. No wonder my grandfather felt we
    were being let of too lightly at our school :) :) :) There are some
    wonderful reminiscences my grandfather used to tell me about his school days
    during the early part of the last century i.e. during the british rule. He
    did his schooling in Thaththamangalam, Kerala. having myself studied in a
    school run by people who took pride in doing everything the "English" way i
    can say reading this is in itself a novel experience.
  • You know britishers did bring some civility into the system...beating a student just to 'remind' him he was in school seems barbarous...
  • Hi
    my father studied in a village school where the tamil teacher would sometimes find a reason to cane everybody at the start of class itself.perhaps it ensured discipline till the bell rang

    but there must be something to it. that school has in its alumini a state governor and 2 supreme court justices.

  • I think there are two often times caning and such treatments over motivate people - they know they have to do something to stay out of it so they just cram their heads into studies or something..second success does not mean anyone is a good human being. The side effect of caning is that the individual learns to hide the soft/gentle side of his nature and be like that with everyone and it was very veyr common among men of those days to be very stiff and unemotionless. (My own granfather once threw a hot dosa tava at my grandmother since she forgot to put salt in dosa, it hit her lower lip and the side of the 2 year old she was carrying before landing in the garden. My grandfather went from being a clerk to GM of southern railways a huge and not trivial success career wise).
  • Hi Venket

    I am sure it has some thing. Discipline.

    I am of the opinion adiyadha madu padiyadhu. Same goes to humans too. It is very very rare to find children who will obey by just saying "raja, don't it". If you see someone's kids obeying for the kind words "raja, don't it", I strongly urge you to probe deeper - for all you know the kids would be getting a dressing down once you are gone.!!

    When young, the hot blood make you adventurous and naturally kids and adolescents are rebellious and want to explore. We in our middle ages and those in 45++ find this behavior not so entertaining or disturbing our prefixed priorities. So we are not able to see the kids' point of view - to substantiate this, we almost feel guilty when (if) we beat kids and we feel sorry for having lost our cool. That is because we, in the depth of our heart know that the kids aren't too wrong anyway. Also vayasu paduthum padu too increases our part of irritation.

    Kids needs to be controlled and occasional control is necessary. Without brake, a car is just a pile of iron.
  • Ganesh, it is the parents responsibilty to find their sense of balance between 'raja/kannu' and caning the kid. It is disgusting to hear from educated people equating children to animals..adiyaadha maadu padiyaadhu really, even for animals hitting them has found to cause the poor animal to withoold milk and find ways of expressing its feelings. A hit animal is likely to be very aggressive towards other people.

    If you can't find time and patience to groom children - don't have them that is all. Please don't preach cow morals to kids. I am sorry to sound strong this is another 'sati' like issue, completely 100% unethical that is all.

  • Also just fyi, in our family we owned cows/cattle for over 6 generations. The last cow was sold when I was 14. None of the cows ever suffered a beating, all of the were disciplined extremely well with firm training and consistent commands. When they were put in vandi the 'savukku' was only used to press lightly and let the cow knwo when to go fast and when to slow down.

    Animals who suffer beating know how to show their feelings. Cows will hold their milk, try to injure strangers with their horns, dogs bite and cats steal.

    As far as children go, i am not even talking about it. I find it thoroughly 100% disgusting that in today's world educated people should equate their kids to animal training that is in itself primitive and outdated.

  • Hi Malathi

    I am not preaching adi udhai kaatu mirandi thanam all the times. I have mentioned "occasional controls" as necessity - guess u missed it and that is why went quite ballistic equating to sati

    Without brake, a car is just a pile of iron. More thoughts from ayyamars and ammamars on this ?? Give honest opinions
  • Hi Malathi

    Why use savukku ??? If love can drive them why savukku ?? Isn't that occasional control ?? And if you had asked your maattukkaran he would have given 1000 stories of how he controls the madus. As owners you might not have been exposed to the controls, a common thing that happens when the stable incharge behaves in a certain patterns when owners (mudhalali) are around.

    I guess the argument is digressing because of taking an analogy given to an assumption of equating with animals
  • Hi Malathi

    I am not preaching adi udhai kaatu mirandi thanam all the times. I have mentioned "occasional controls" as necessity - guess u missed it and that is why went quite ballistic equating to sati

    Without brake, a car is just a pile of iron. More thoughts from ayyamars and ammamars on this ?? Give honest opinions
  • Ganesh, savukku is a means of communicating to the animal when you are not facing it, the driver sits behind not in front, and there is no easy way he can tell the animal. Cows dont hear terribly well by the way and have extremely thick skin.

    I am glad you clarified but i stand by what am saying that using force on children is unethical. In 99 percent of the time the parent does not know what to do, in such cases he/she should take help, talk to similar parents or go to a doctor/child specialist. Most cities have counselling for raising kids nowadays.Kids behave totally out of control only becuase of some health issue they are unable to express, basic needs not met and they are emulating parents behavior. Kids do not do what you say they do what you do, if you want to shop/buy things at will, throw tantrums at in laws/bosses/anyone, yell at people in family to get things done - then they will adopt similar means.

    You are talking to someone who helped raise 9 kids by the way, since i was 9 years old myself being in extended family i always had one on my hips, my nickname in the neighborhood was 'kuvaa maloo'.

  • Hi Kuvva Maloo

    Vutta enna adichiruppenga pola. Tension Ahatheenga - I don't beat my kids who are 4 1/2 and 62days.

    BTW, thanks for the guidance on raising the kids. I hereby appoint kuvva maloo as the chief mentor - child advisory service of the group :)). It was an impressive advice that you gave.
  • I kind of analyzed this some time back, I believe we can ensure kids to grow well by positive reinforcement methods than rods and cones.

    When you have a pup, you show the stick, its natural to the pup to grow anger against the stick eventually it will counter it.

    Same behaviour is in humans, some react some lie, I personally feel the latter more dangerous of behaviour patterns.

    Kids forget why the event actually occurred, it does not make sense to beat them, 10 years from the date, they will still remember the beating but not the reason. That is NOT what is needed.

    The same for any animal or creature of domestic capacity.

    When working with youngsters, its better to show them who the 'actual leader of the pack' is, this way it sinks into them in a +ive manner.After all, we are a pack oriented life form :-)

    Our actions are directly responsible for their behaviour. Ours meaning all parents including the parents of the kid's peers at school!

    - R

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