Darwin in Model School ~
It was a monsoon afternoon: the rain had subsided and some sparrows, crows and other birds came into cool sunlight, spreading all over! Dragonflies, butterflies and other insects too, were reborn into visibility here and there
The bell rang in Model School, Thiruvanathapuram and the students, vaguely scattered in the corridors and playgrounds, hurriedly assembled, in their respective class rooms..
Anand was the monitor of class Eight~ A! He played cricket for the school and the state boys’ teams. He was the tallest boy in the class: he was not too studious, but playful most of the time. Jayachandran sir, was slowly coming along the corridor: Anand asked the class to quieten!
Sir, came in adjusting his loose black trousers, on his paunch, cleared his throat, scanned the class, looked at Anand and commenced solemly, “Today is an important day. We are going to study the greatest theory in biology and about the great scientist who created this great theory. We are talking about the legendary Charles Darwin the great British biologist who discovered the ‘transformist theory of evolution’. Darwin wondered, why there are so many types of animals and showed clearly how one species led to the creation of the other:~ from the unicellular to polycellular then larger and larger animals finally creating man! It may look odd and incongruous: But birds were born out of fishes and man is created from the monkey! That is, the chimpanzee is the immediate biological ancestor, of the human beings, who are the species homo sapiens!”
There was an acute silence in the class! All were listening! Suddenly, Anand got up from his seat and said loudly , “Sir, I have something to ask you. Did anybody see all these animals becoming one another and finally chimpanzees giving birth to human beings? I just can’t believe it or accept it!
“Who are you? Greater genius than Charles Darwin ? or what? eh?”
I don’t know that sir! But this theory, I just can’t digest it! It is against my religious faith too! I am a Hanuman bhakta! Forgive me sir! This theory is evil, against the Gods!
The class became acutely volatile:: many boys said, Anand is telling the truth: there were mutual talkings, criss crossings, questioning etc. ~ the clamour was too much and Jayachandran sir, beat the table with his scale! Only some ‘mug-pots’ in the front bench, did not participate and held on to their smug faces: Majority of the class violently voted against Darwin.
Jayachandran sir, dismissed the class, earlier than the specified time.He also started thinking!
Crazy Sashi hugged Anand!: Muthuswamy a good student, shook hands with him! Many more boys congratulated Anand, for his arguments and valiant stance.
Anand looked out of the window.
in moist sunlight ~
a cow’s moo
This event occurred in Model School Thiruvananthapuram around 1972/1973. Anand is my brother. The news spread like a wild fire in the school, to other divisions and classes . Almost for a whole week, it was a favourite chat topic, in the school and the nearby bus-stands!
Anand also told me, that Jayachandran sir, gracefully excluded Darwin, from his examination question paper!
( This is a recollection and not an exact reproduction of the events!)