Meet the couple behind bizarre agitations in Kerala

Meet the couple behind bizarre agitations in Kerala
Jeppy Velamannoor (L) and his wife Sreekala.

Kalady: Jeppy Velamannoor is not just a person; but he is an institution himself. An office assistant at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Jayaprakash or Jeppy Velamannoor, as he is better known, had been striving towards creating a better world even by donating his own land for an old-age home.

The 19 cents of lands and his home at Velamannoor in Kollam district was given to Gandhibhavan Snehasramam without any rent for ten years. His mother, Jagadamma, continues to live with the members of the old age home that the Snehasramam runs there.

Along with his wife, Sreekala, Jeppy had been continuously making campaigns for making the public toilets free of cost. The couple had conducted marches on foot throughout the State, wearing placards showing this request around their necks. They also approached all the 140 MLAs in the State with this request.

In 2017, Jeppy crawled around the State Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram tying to his back a mass petition with this request which was signed by some MLAs as well. Later, he also conducted a ‘Samadhi Struggle,’ in front of the Secretariat with his wife, placing cotton swabs in his nostrils and a wreath of flowers on his chest, imitating a dead body. He had also conducted a Kerala Cycle March raising these demands all by himself. The Kerala Yathra was conducted in 2002 demanding a Conflict-Free Kerala and in 2013 for the Conservation of the Western Ghats.

When he became a victim for the mass retrenching in the Sanskrit University in 2000, Jeppy conducted a ‘Thendi Yathra’ (Beggar’s March) with his wife and two children. He had been contributing Rs. 11,111 as prize money for a collection of poetry in the name of Prof. P.Meerakkutty for the past 11 years. The mini magazine that he started in 1986 with the title, ‘21st Century,’ is being published still under the title, ‘Bhoomikkaran.’

When his father N. Kuttan Nair, who was an ascetic, passed away, he converted the Anandasramam that his father was running back home into a Bandhuthva Jeevithanda Asramam for those who were non-believers. He had also conducted an ‘Alillakkada,’ (Shop Without Shopkeeper) where people could buy stuff by dropping the cost of the things into a box, checking with the prices pasted outside the shop.

He had also conducted many activities like interest-free loans, anti-suicide campaigns, buying books for libraries, planting saplings along the roads and distribution of seeds. He organises a ‘Parasparananda Koottayma’ at Kalady occasionally where people can gather and discuss on various topics.

His wife Sreekala Poothakkulam who offers all support for his activities, is also a poet, having published a couple of volumes of poetry. She is conducting a mini magazine, ‘Ujjwala Jwala,’ and is a temporary staff at the Sanskrit University.