Bhaskara Panikkar,P.T. is known for his active involvement in popularising science through various publications in Malayalam. His contributions in reforming the education system in Kerala cannot also be overlooked. He has published several books and wrote several articles in different journals.
P. T. Bhaskara Panikkar
P. T. Bhaskara Panikkar's name will be known to all who are familiar with the history of Kerala's education. He started his career as a school teacher which brought out his interest in teaching. His experience in teaching made him think about the need to take science to common people and make them aware of its applications in day to day life. He found it necessary to publish books which impart knowledge on basic science subjects to children and through them to others. He wrote and published several such books with this aim.
He found it necessary to popularise science and scientific methods through other activities also. He took initiative to form an organization of popular science writers. Several like minded people joined in this venture and established Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad. Parishad is now a popular science movement spread over Kerala with thousands of volunteers involved in its activities.
Life and Career
Bhaskara Panikkar was born on 15th October 1922 at Adakkaputhur in Palakkad district. K.M.Vasudevan Namboothiri and Kavukuttiyamma were his parents. He did his graduation in science and took B.T.degree afterwards. He joined as teacher in 1946 at Perijanam High School. He showed interest in politics and became a communist activist. He went underground for sometime and later he was arrested. After finishing the jail term he again started his teaching career, in 1951. In 1954 through an election he got elected to the Malabar District Board. He became the President of the Board and continued in that post till the Government terminated the district boards in 1958. In fact P.T.Bhaskara Panikkar was the first Communist to get elected to an administrative post.
In 1958 the then Government appointed him as the secretary to the Minister of Education (Prof. Joseph Mundassery). Bhaskara Panikkar had played a major role in the educational reforms brought in by the first EMS ministry. He was appointed as a member of Kerala Public Service Commission in 1959 and continued there up to 1965. He worked as the Editor of Viswa Vijnana kosham (Malayalam Encyclopedia 10 volumes), published by Sahithya pravarthaka co-operative society, during 1969 to 1971.
Social and Literary works
He was the President of the Kerala State Grandhasala Sangham (State Library Council). Earlier as an active worker of the organization, PTB had held the posts of Secretary and President of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, for two terms each. He also was in the forefront of publishing the first science magazine in Malayalam, Sastragathy (which is the first publication of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad and is even now published as a monthly). The publication of this was in the year 1966. PTB found that another science magazine was also needed to cater to the needs of school going students. Thus after one year Sastrakeralam was published with PTB as its editor. Even now the publication of this magazine is continued by the organization.
P.T.B. also worked as the editor of Primary Teacher (Teachers' organ) and Pusthaka Sameeksha (Books' review).He was very much connected with Non formal education field and was holding several posts in Kerala Agency for Non formal Education (KANFED). In this manner he continued his activities connected with all organizations which aimed at educating the common people until his death in the year 1994. He will be remembered as one of the best popular science writer in Malayalam.
Bhaskara Panikkar has published several books, mainly related to science. As mentioned he always aimed at the children when a book was written. Thus some of his major publications are:
Jeevacharithra kosham for children,
Science Encyclopedia for children,
Sayansinte kathakal (3 vol),
Kuttikalute Nakshathra sastram,
Kuttikalute Kerala Charithram,
Kuttikalute Sareera Sastram,
Manushyan enna yanthram.