B 9

In 1818 there was a breakout of a small pox in Travancore. People mired in superstitions thought that it was the punishment of some angry gods and goddesses. They refused to take vaccination as instructed by the missionaries. The superstition was so rampant that they thought any medicine from the English would contaminate them! Benjamin Bailey was the principal of the college and Col. Munroe gave him strict instructions to get the people vaccinated in Kottayam. Local vaccinators were gathered in the Kottayam College and all the staff and students were vaccinated. The college functioned as a vaccinating hub, yet the locals were running away from the needle. Col. Munroe ordered that the police could stringent action against those who refused to get vaccinated.

Jubiliant Unny and Venkitesh, in their panel of relief bring the whole episode in a symbolic manner. On the extreme right side of the panel one could see a man sick with smallpox boils all over his face. He seems to wear a mask of despair and fear of death. But at the center the virus that caused smallpox is symbolically represented and as a remedy to it, a syringe and needle cut through the body of the virus, dissolving its fatal effect. On the left side of the panel one could see somewhat a funny episode where a policeman is forcefully taking a reluctant and frightened local to the vaccination center. While the grim reality is placed at the center serious and lighter moments are represented on either side, showing different sides of the reality then.

Published On: January 27th, 2024Categories: Relief Sculpture

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