Friday, September 12, 2008

V. Balakrishnan

V. Balakrishnan (b. in Katappattoor near Pala, 13 February 1932; d. at Pala, 2 August 2004) was a prolific Malayalam writer and translator of texts between Malayalam, Sanskrit and English. He participated in the Indian independence movement, which resulted in his expulsion from college

In 1960, his short story, entitled Neelakoduveli ('നീലക്കൊടുവേലി'), was awarded first place in a competition conducted by the Kerala Dhwani ('കേരള ധ്വനി') newspaper. The children's book, Ithu Nammute Naatanu ('ഇതു നമ്മുടെ നാടാണ്‌'), came first in the competition held by Sahitya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangam ('സാഹിത്യപ്രവര്‍ത്തക സഹകരണ സംഘം'). Later, in 1962, his story about a rouge elephant, Ottayan' ('ഒറ്റയാന്‍'), won first prize in the contest held by Southern Language Book Trust (ദക്ഷിണഭാഷാ ബുക്ക്‌ ട്രസ്റ്റ്‌). It was later translated to all South Indian languages.

After his marriage to Dr. R. Leela Devi, they started their literary career together. As he required more time for his writing endeavours, he resigned his job as a high school teacher. They compiled the first Malayalam Encyclopeadia in 1967. Thereafter he continued his activities together with his wife until her death in 1998.

Together they translated most of the Sanskrit Vedic works; including the Vedas, Puranas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Dharsanas, Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana, Devi and Bhagavatam to Malayalam. He has 11,394 printed pages (D1/8 size) in 67 books in the genre of children's literature alone. Amir Hamsa ('അമീര്‍ ഹംസ'), a book for children, has 1148 pages with 500 illustrations. Together, he and his wife authored sixteen books related to Islam, including an Encyclopedia on the religion, as well as publications related to Hinduism and Christianity. In total, they have eleven publications in the English language.

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