ALAPPUZHA : The last of the relics of famed ayurvedic scholar and one of the key figures behind the completion of Hortus Malabaricus, the 17th Century treatise on plants of Malabar, Itty Achuthan Vaidyar, at Kadakkarapally panchayat in Cherthala Taluk, Kerala, is facing an uphill legal battle.
The Thanki Service Cooperative Bank has initiated steps to auction the land in which the memorial, kuriala, a small wooden room used by the vaidyar (doctor), is housed.
The decision is learnt to have been taken after the descendants of Achuthan Vaidyar defaulted on loan repayment. Though the bank initiated auction procedures twice before, the move was deferred following public protest and intervention of political leaders. The Cherthala court has issued a fresh notice to the heir of the land, Umayamma, regarding the land auction. The kuriala is the only remnant of the great botanist. The department had declared the land and ‘kuriala’ as a protected monument in January 2014.
Pushkaran, a fourth generation member of Itty Achudan, owned the Kollattu house in Kadakkarapally panchayat. Pushkaran pledged the land in two cooperative banks and took a hefty sum as loan. The dues mounted as the loan default soared.
what is Hortus Malabaricus?
Hortus Malabaricus (meaning Garden of Malabar) is a comprehensive treatise that deals with the medicinal plant properties in Kerala. Originally written in Latin, it was compiled over a period of nearly 30 years and published in Amsterdam during 1678-1693. The book was conceived by Hendrik van Rheede, who was the Governor of Dutch Malabar at the time. The book has been translated into English and Malayalam by K S Manilal and published by the University of Kerala.