Monday, September 19, 2011

O. N. V. Kurup

Ottaplakkal Nambiyadikkal Velu Kurup (Malayalam: ഒറ്റപ്ലാക്കല്‍ നമ്പിയാടിക്കൽ വേലു കുറുപ്പ്), popularly known as O. N. V. Kurup or simply O. N. V., is a Malayalam poet and lyricist from Kerala, India, who won Jnanpith Award,the highest literary award in India for the year 2007. He is considered one of the finest living lyrical poets in India. O. N. V. Kurup is also a lyricist in Malayalam cinema. He received the awards Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011, the fourth and second highest civilian honours from the Government of India. In 2007 he was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate by University of Kerala, Trivandrum. O. N. V. is known for his leftist leaning. He was the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency for the Lok-Sabha elections in 1989.
Kurup was born to O. N. Krishna Kurup and K. Lakshmikutty Amma, on May 27, 1931 at Chavara, Kollam in Kerala.[4] He lost his father when he was eight. His childhood days were spent in the village where he attended the public 'Government School, Chavara'. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Economics from SN College, Kollam, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram city (Trivandrum) where he joined Travancore University (now Kerala University) and pursued Master of Arts (postgraduate) in Malayalam literature.

O.N.V. was a lecturer at Maharajas College - Ernakulam, University College - Trivandrum, Arts and Science College - Kozhikode, and Brennen College - Thalassery. He joined Government Women's College - Trivandrum as the Head of Malayalam Department. He was also a visiting professor at Calicut University. He retired from service in 1986.

He received the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary honour, for the year 2007. He is the fifth Jnanpith laureate from Kerala and the second Malayalam poet to win the prestigious award. According to a statement by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust which presents the award, Kurup began his career as a "progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology".

He is now settled in Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvanathapuram, with his wife Sarojini, son Rajeev, and daughter Mayadevi.
O. N. V.'s first published poem was 'Munnottu' (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946. His first poetry collection named Porutunna Soundaryam, came out in 1949. He published a book named Dahikunna Panapatram (The Thirsty Chalice) which was a collection of his early poems during 1946-1956.

P. Kunhiraman Nair

P. Kunhiraman Nair (4 November 1906 – 27 May 1978), also known as Mahakavi P, was a renowned Malayalam poet whose works romanticised the natural beauty of his home state of Kerala in southern India and juxtaposed it with the hard realities of his life and times.

Born in Bellikoth near Kanhangad of North Malabar, P., as he is known (simply by his initial), led a Bohemian lifestyle, wandering across Kerala, living in several places, meeting their people and making them part of his life and literature. He worked as a school teacher, having taught at Koodali near Kannur and Kollengode in Palakkad district.

Poetry formed his main genre of work (it isn't exactly known how many poems he penned during his half-a-century career as many are irretrievably lost), though he has also penned stories, articles and a few plays. His autobiography, 'Kaviyude Kaalpaadukal' (The Footmarks of a Poet), is one of the celebrated works in prose in Malayalam.

The central Kerala belt of Valluvanad, known for its scenic charm and cultural vibrancy, worked as a major source of inspiration for the poet, who lived there for long—partly as a family man. His works are also dotted with metaphors from Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of his region.

Kunhiraman Nair was an award winner of both the Kerala Sahithya Akademi and the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award.

Also proficient in Sanskrit, Kunhiraman Nair initially worked at a printing press in Thrissur for a few years. Later, he published a newspaper from Kannur, before taking to teaching job and gaining name as 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among children. He retired from service in 1961. A sudden bout of illness claimed his life on May 27, 1978, when the poet was staying in a rest house in Thiruvananthapuram.


Kaliyachhan (Oriental Dance teacher, 1954)
Onassadya (Onam Feast, 1960)
Pookkalam (spring, 1964)
Thaamarathoni (Lotus Boat, 1966)
Vasantholsavam (Spring Festival, 1972)
Chilamboli (Tinkling of the Anklet Bells, 1974)
Ratholsavam (Chariot Festival - 2 volumes, 1978)
Thamarathen ( Honey of the Lotus, 1983)




Rangamandapam (Stage Canopy, 1956)
Upaasana (Worship, 1958)



Kaviyude kalpadukal(Footprints of poet)
Ennethirayunna njan(I searching myself)

Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon

Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon (11 May 1911 – 22 December 1985) was a renowned Indian poet of Kerala. He was born on 11 May 1911 in Kaloor in the Ernakulam district. After taking his bachelors degree in science he took B.T. and joined as teacher in government service in 1931.

He started writing under the pen name 'Sree' and his very first collection 'Kannikkoythu' (Maiden Harvest), which came out in 1947, attracted the attention of critics by its innovative style free from the clutches of the Romantic tradition. He was associated with Samastha Kerala Sahithya Parishath the biggest forum for Malayalam writers at that time, for more than 10 years. He represented Kerala in the national poets' meetings held at Delhi (1951 and 1969) and Bangalore (1965). In 1970 he toured the Soviet union. He was the first President of Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham, a forum of progressive writers led by leftist intellectuals and artists.[1]

He is considered by literary historians as one of the major voices in Malayalam poetry who marked the transition from the Romantic to the modern era. A scientific insight into the historical roots of social evolution and a deeper understanding of the psychological undercurrents of the human mind characterise his poetry. His mastery of the medium is evident in all his poems both lyrical and narrative.[2]

Many critics consider the long poem Kudiyozhikkal (Eviction of the tenant) as his magnum opus. In the prefatory lines to the poem the poet says: "Punchiri! Ha, Kuleenamam kallam. Nenchu keeri njan nerinekkattaam" (The smile! Oh, It's but a noble lie. Let me tear open my chest and show you the truth). The poem is a ruthless self-examination of a middle class land owner who realizes that the future belongs not to himself but to his poor tenant whom he despises at heart.[3][4]

He died on December 22, 1985 and his body was cremated on the banks of river Bharathappuzha (also called 'Nila'), as he had wished.

Awards and honors

Madras Government Award
M. P. Paul prize
Kerala Sahithya Academy Award (1965) for Kaipavallari
Kendra Sahithya Academy Award (1972) for Vida
Vayalar Award (1981) for Makarakoythu
Sovietland Nehru Award (1964)
Odakkuzhal Award

Selected works

Vithum Kaikkottum
Charithrathile Charudrisyam
Anthi Chayunnu
Risyasringanum Alexandarum (Play)
Kavyalokasmaranakal (Autobiography)

Vallathol Narayana Menon

Vallathol Narayana Menon (Malayalam: വള്ളത്തോള്‍ നാരായണമേനോന്‍) (1878–1958), popularly known as Mahakavi, was one of the celebrity poets in Malayalam language, spoken in the South Indian state of Kerala. Vallathol was born in Chennara, near Tirur, in Malappuram District of Kerala state, southern India. Up to his 27 years he lived in Chennara and wrote so many poems after that he moved to Cheruthuruthi. Born in 1878 and died in March 1958.

He is the author of the famous Sahithya Manjari. He got the title, Mahakavi for his Mahakaavyam 'Chitrayogam'. He played a prominent role in setting up the Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy, near the banks of Bharathapuzha River. Later this place was renamed Vallathol Nagar. He raised [Kathakali] as a great art form to the level today. He wrote dozens of kavya.

Vallathol wrote predominantly in Malayalam, the language of Kerala. Along with Kumaran Asan and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer, he was part of a highly creative period in Malayalam literature. Influenced by Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi, and Karl Marx, as well as by the Sanskrit classics, Vallathol's poetry evolved from its classical beginnings to increasing expression of nationalist and broadly socialist sentiment. He wrote in a variety of forms, using both Sanskrit and Dravidian meters. He did not know English. Vallathol's many works include the mahakavya (a form of epic poem), Chitrayogam (1914), and the narrative poems Magdalena Mariyam (Mary Magdalene, 1921) and Kochu Sita (1928), as well as 11 volumes containing his collected romantic poems entitled Sahityamanjari. In addition to subjects from nature and the lives of ordinary people, Vallathol's opposition to the indignities of the caste system and the injustices suffered by the poor form the themes of many of his poems. His own struggle with deafness from his early twenties also features in some works. Vallathol's poetry has been translated into English and Russian as well as Hindi. Kerala Kalamandalam - The temple of classical arts - It is the realisation of a poet's dream, of a life of dedication, of a journey through the agonies of creation, of the ecstasies of fulfillment. Mahakavi Vallathol was forty nine years old when the idea struck him like a ton of bricks. He had been to a friend's house in Kunnamkulam to witness a performance of Kathakali. Several connoisseurs like him were there. They had come with great expectations. The performance was deplorable, shocking. The Mahakavi felt scandalised that this unique art form, well recognised as total theatre, should have fallen to such low depths. He took a silent vow that night. He would dedicate the rest of his life to the resurrection of Kathakali.

The stunning depression that followed some years after the first world war further ruined the classical arts of Kerala. It was only the strength of character and determination of a few dedicated veterans and an occasional shot in the arm by an isolated patron that kept the flame alive. Kathakali or other classical arts could not attract talented youth in numbers as they offered no source of decent livelihood. No wonder the artists who performed before the poet at Kunnamkulam shocked him. It was that shock however, that saved Kathakali.

Once the idea got into him, the Mahakavi did not waste any time. He called together all his friends and got a new society registered at Calicut in 1927. He christened it the Kerala Kalamandalam. To raise funds for an institution that did not offer a monetary return was not an easy matter. The Mahakavi therefore ventured on a new way of getting money. He got the government approval to start a raffle. It took him and his friends three years to collect a reasonable sum before they could hold the draw at the famous Guruvayur Temple in 1930. The net proceeds of the raffle amounting to Rs. 75,000/ became the capital of Kalamandalam.

The real functioning of the Kalamandalam began in 1930 at the Kakkat Madhom premises at Kunnamkulam. The Mahakavi felt that the institution needed more space and facilities. Manakkulam Mukunda Raja, friend and colleague of the Mahakavi in this venture came forward and offered his premises at Ambalapuram, a few kilometres off Trichur to house the Kalamandalam. When the Kalamandalam was shifted there, the Mahakavi also came and stayed at Ambalapuram so that he could devote his personal attention to the students and teachers. He believed that artists should have a reasonable education and awareness of our classical literature and epics. So he persuaded Kuttikrishna Marar, a rare renowned scholar of Kerala to join the institution to teach the students.

By 1936 a reasonably spacious compound was secured on the banks of the Bharathappuzha at Cheruthuruthy and a building put up at considerable expense. The institution was shifted to the new site and started functioning there from 1937. Kalamandalam had established name of its own by then. Students came from different parts of the world to take advantage of the systematic training available there under the direct supervision of the Mahakavi. They included famous danseuse Ragini Devi and the great choreographer and dancer of international renown, Guru Gopinath. The Mahakavi insisted that the teachers of the institution be the very best available. Thus he secured the services of great masters like Guru Kunju Kurup, Pattikkanthodi Ravunni Menon and Kavalappara Narayan Nayar to teach the actor students, Venkatakrishna Bhagavathar to teach music, Moothamana Namboothiripad to teach Chenta and Venkachan Pattar to teach the Maddalam.

In addition to his poetry, Vallathol also translated the Sanskrit Rig Veda and Valmiki's Ramayana into Malayalam verse, as well as producing a prose translation of the Puranas. He was awarded the prestigious honour of Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1955.

Edasseri Govindan Nair

Edasseri Govindan Nair (December 23, 1906 – October 16, 1974) is a leading figure in modern Malayalam poetry. He has to his credit 19 books spreading over 300 poems in 10 anthologies, 6 books of plays and a collection of essays.

He died on 16 October 1974, and a memorial is erected in his name - Edasseri Smaraka Samithi. He was an important member of Ponnani kalari of mlayalam literature which contributed many a stalwarts to malayalam literature. The locality where he lived in Ponnani, his home town, today is known as Edasseri Nagar in memory of this great poet. He was a law clerk by profession. Edassery as a poet and humanbeing was loved by one and all in Ponnani. Edasseri is revered so much by the new generation poets that poems have been written in eulogy. His poetry has also become a subject of serious discussion among the young intellectuals and critics. Edasseri can be best described as a realistic poet. The real phases of life are depicted in his poem. Here cruelty of life becomes poetry. The best evidences are pengal, Nellukuthukari Paruvinte Kadha, and Bhudhanum Nariyum Jnanum. An award is set up in his name for the best book of the year from among the young writers.

Government of Madras Award for the play Koottukrishi
Government of Madras Award for the collection of poems Puthan Kalavum Arivalum
Kerala Sahithya Academy Award for the collection of poems Oru Pidi Nellikka - 1969
Sahitya Academy Award (New Delhi) for the collection of poems Kavile Pattu - 1970
Kumaran Asan Prize (posthumously given) for the collection of poems Anthithiri - 1979
Literary works

1. Kavile Pattu
2. kootukrishi
3. karutha chettichikal
4. Poothappattu
5. Puthan kalavum Arivalum
6. Thathvashasthrangalurangumbol
7. Oru pidi Nellikka
8. Anthithiri
9. Nellukuthukari Paruvinte katha
10.Ambadiyilekku veendum
12.Kunkuma Prabhatam


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