Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Malayalam school

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Plumpton’s Balakairali caters to the language learning needs of children in Sydney’s Keralite community

Why do Sydney’s Malayalee kids like their weekend language lessons?
“They help us to talk to our grandparents, and understand them well.”
“We can communicate with our cousins when we visit them in India.”
The senior students at Balakairali, the weekend Malayalam school based in Plumpton, are spot on about why they should learn their mother tongue.
Malayalam School.Indian Link
The school was founded eight years ago, on an experimental basis for a period of three months. The enthusiasm of the children, their parents and that of the teachers who volunteer there, has made sure that it continues to operate today. Classes are held every Sunday afternoon from 3pm-5pm. Some 45 kids attended in 2015.
The school also boasts a steadily growing library of Malayalam books, numbering nearly 250, which has now begun to cater to the larger community.
Lloyd Mathew, one of the office bearers of the school told  Indian Link, “Sometimes, the school gets the least of priority in the jam-packed weekends for many families, yet it is pleasing to see that majority of the kids turn up on most days.”
Malayalam School.Indian Link
Interestingly, it is the pleasure of being together that motivates the kids to attend.
“We understand that our friends at Balakairali are from the same cultural background as us, and that aligns us,” one student, Abhirami told Indian Link. “It is interesting that all of us and our parents talk the same language, and we can identify with each other which is something we miss out on, at regular school.”
Asha Sajeesh, one of the parents said, “This school time will be cherished by the kids for years to come, and they will develop a deep friendship with their classmates, based on the thread of the language and culture that connects them.”
Malayalam School.Indian Link
Apart from celebrating events like Onam, the state festival of Kerala, the school also conducts the annual traditional initiation into the characters of syllabary, called Vidyarambham. Held on the occasion of Vijayadasami, this ritual sees children formally initiated into the classical education of music, dance, languages and other arts. As part of the ceremony, the alphabet is written with rice in a tray, supervised by a guru (teacher). Raman Krishna Iyer, a community elder and journalist, has been supervising the ceremony for all these years. Mr Iyer said, “Kids from different religions come to do the initiation and it is the sentiment that matters. The connecting element is the language and the culture here, not the religion. Even though I am not aware of the prayers to initiate the kids from various religions except for Hinduism, I do it with a clean heart, and bless them all. I am sure this honesty and integrity will be reflected in the lives of the kids.”
In a world that is scattered on the basis of religious fragmentation, it is these very sparks of commitment, righteousness and an insight into one’s own roots, that will help make things better. And a school the imparts these values will cultivate tomorrow’s responsible citizens.

- Advertisement -
Previous articleBack to school
Next articleIndia’s spice garden

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

farmers protest, delhi, red fort, flags

Farmers rage in Delhi on Republic Day

  On the morning of Republic Day, farmers were warmly welcomed in Delhi. As pictured below, tractors and cars carrying groups of protesters were showered...
Jeet Ki Zid movie poster

Review: Jeet Ki Zid (Zee5)

  It's easy to like Jeet Ki Zid. The show talks of patriotism and valour, it celebrates will power to triumph against all odds. Importantly,...
Dr anand naidoo OAM and family

Australia Day Awards 2021: Dr Anand Naidoo OAM

  "I am pleased and honoured," Dr Anand Naidoo of Coffs Harbour NSW told Indian Link, about his Australia Day felicitation this year. He added laughingly,...

Australia Day Awards 2021: The late Dr Amarjit Singh More, OAM

  As a proud Sikh and a proud Australian, Dr Amarjit Singh More was deeply passionate about both identities, serving both communities with unwavering commitment. "Our...

President hails farmers, scientists and soldiers in Republic Day speech

  On the eve of Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity, outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution, are...