Panappayattu: A tradition that banks on trust

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A small teashop. Customers keep coming. As they share small talk, tea is served. But these typically bucolic scenes have more than that meet the eye. This is a venue for a serious financial transaction. Here, a unique, and one of the oldest means of fundraising event known as ‘Panappayattu’ is about to be conducted. The practice, which has been traditionally held in Vadakara Vanimel Panchayat for roughly a century, still has ardent followers

“Crowd-funding helps entrepreneurs find money. This is the process of raising large amount by collecting small money from several people. Today, crowd-funding has many different online platforms. ‘Panappayattu’ is the North Malabar version of this crowd-funding ,’’ says a local resident.
One who runs the ‘payattu’ does have flexible repayment options. For example, if one gets Rs 5 lakh through Panappayattu, he only needs to repay it within 5 or 10 years. Even during this period, he can conduct Panappayattu again if he needs money. Panappayattu can be conducted for various financial needs. The announcement notice will be pasted prior to the event.
The practice also helps to cement social relations. It is a link that connects different people. The person only needs to repay the exact amount that he borrowed. Everything is registered in the Panappayattu book

Though times have changed, Panappayattu still remains as a solid example of mutual trust. If someone defaults on repayment, it is considered as a betrayal of trust.
“Some of them repay not only the borrowed amount, but also twice or more than twice the amount that they borrowed,” says an admirer of the system.
The ‘Panappayattu’ book has itself chapters of a very curious history. The book has records of seven or eight-decade-long ‘Panappayattu’. The letter dated 1921 from Purameri kovilakom calling for Panappayattu is an example.
Panappayattu is the sacred remnant of a century-old custom of financial transaction, which is transparent and smooth. Perhaps, channeliam is the first digital medium which gives such a detailed report on Panappayattu. We are happy to shed light on this century-old custom to the Malayalees across the world.

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