Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri
Born(1926-03-18)18 March 1926
Kumaranellur, Ponnani taluk, Malabar District, Madras Presidency, British India
Died15 October 2020(2020-10-15) (aged 94)
Thrissur, Kerala, India
Pen nameAkkitham
OccupationPoet, social worker
Notable works
  • Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam
  • Balidarshanam
  • Idinju Polinja Lokam
Notable awards
RelativesAkkitham Narayanan, brother

Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri (18 March 1926 – 15 October 2020), popularly known as Akkitham, was an Indian poet and essayist who wrote in Malayalam. He was known for a simple and lucid style of writing, exploring themes of profound love and compassion in his works.[1] Some of his prominent works included Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam (English: Epic of the 20th century), Balidarshanam (English: The vision of Bali), and Nimisha Kshetram (English: Holy moment).[1]

Akkitham was the recipient of India's highest literary honour, the Jnanpith Award in 2019,[2] and other awards including Padma Shri, Ezhuthachan Award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry, Odakkuzhal Award, Vallathol Award, Vayalar Award, Aasan Prize and O. N. V. Literary Award. He died on 15 October 2020, aged 94, in Thrissur.[3]

Early life

Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri was born on 18 March 1926 at Amettikkara, near Kumaranellur in Palakkad district of the south Indian state of Kerala to Amettu Akkithathu Manayil Vasudevan Namboothiri and Checkur Manaykkal Parvathy Antharjanam.[4] After schooling in Sanskrit, Astrology and Music, he started his college education but did not complete his graduate degree course.[5] He is the first prisedent of Thapasya (group of artists and literary fellows), an organization under RSS

Literary career

Akkitham in 2010

Akkitham started his career as an editor of Unni Namboothiri magazine, which he used as a platform for his social activities. He also worked as an assistant editor at Mangalodayam and Yogakshemam magazines. In 1956, he joined the Kozhikode station of the All India Radio (AIR) where he served until 1975 after which he was transferred to the Thrissur station of the AIR. He was also associated with Anaadi, a literary initiative for popularising studies of Vedas.[5]

His literary works began to gain wide attention in the early 1950s and Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam (English: "Epic of the 20th Century"), a khandakavya is one of the first truly modernist poems in Malayalam literature, the book also won the Sanjayan Award in 1952.[6] He published approximately 45 books comprising poetry anthologies, plays and short stories. Balidarsanam (English: "The Vision of Bali"), Arangettam, Nimisha Kshetram, Idinju Polinja Lokam, Amritaghatika, and Kalikkottilil are some of his notable poetry anthologies. Upanayanam and Samavarttanam, two collections of essays, feature among the writings in prose. Sree Mahabhagavatham, his translation of Srimad Bhagavatam, composed of 14,613 verses, covers over 2,400 pages.[6] Some of the themes that Akkitham explored in his works included love and compassion.[1] He is acknowledged to have introduced "meaningful modernism" as a central theme in his poetry.[7]

Akkitham was involved in social reform activities and through his association with Yogakshema Sabha, he strived to bring in reforms in the lives of the Namboothiri Brahmins of Kerala. He was associated with various centres in Thirunavaya, Kadavallur and Thrissur, for the promotion of vedic studies. He was also associated with the Paliyam Satyagraha, a peaceful protest against untouchability in 1947.[6]

Awards and honours

Akkitham received the Sanjayan Award in 1952, for his work, Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam[6] and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1971 for Balidarshanam.[8] He received two major honours in 1973, the Sahitya Akademi Award for Balidarshanam[9] and the Odakkuzhal Award for Nimisha Kshetram.[10] He was selected for the Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram in 1994[11] and, two years later, for the 1996 Lalithambika Antharjanam Smaraka Sahitya Award,[12] followed by the Vallathol Award in 1997.[13]

The next major honour for Akkitham came by way of Vayalar Award which he received in 2012.[14] The Government of Kerala awarded him Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, their highest literary award in 2016.[15][16][17] He received Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of the Government of India in 2017.[18][19] He could not attend the investiture ceremony due to ill health and the award was later handed over to him by the district collector of Palakkad.[20] In 2019 he received the O. N. V. Literary Award.[21] He received the Jnanpith Award, the highest Indian literary award, in 2019.[22] Reflecting on his lifetime contribution to Malayalam literature, the Jnanpith Award citation specifically noted him as "A poet of rare integrity" and noted that his poetry reflected "unfathomable compassion, imprints of Indian philosophical and moral values and a bridge between tradition and modernity, and delved deep into human emotions in a fast changing social space."[1]

He was also a recipient of several other honours such as Krishna Geedhi Award, Nalappad Award(2012), Puthezhan Award, Deviprasadam Trust Award (2000),[23] Moorti Devi Award of Bharatiya Jnanpith and Amrita Keerti Puraskar (2004). Arikil Akkitham is a documentary film directed by E. Suresh, which details the life of the poet from the perspective of his daughter, Sreeja.[24]

Personal life

Akkitham was married to Sreedevi Antharjanam and the couple had two sons, Narayanan and Vasudevan, and four daughters Sreeja, Indira, Parvathy and Leela. The family lives in Amettikkara.[25] Antharjanam, died on 13 March 2019, at the age of 85. Noted painter Akkitham Narayanan is his younger brother.[24]

Akkitham died on 15 October 2020, at the age of 94 in West Fort Hi-Tech Hospital in Thrissur.[3][26] His funeral took place with full state honours at his home in Kumaranellur, on the same day.[7]



  • Akkitham (1971). Upanayanam. S.P.C.S.
  • Akkitham. Idinju Polinja Lokam: Kavithakal.
  • Akkitham. Samavarthanam. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  • Akkitham. Balidarsanam. Kottayam: S.P.C.S.
  • Akkitham (2002). Akkitham kavithakal: sampoorna samahaaram(1946-2001). Kottayam: Current Books. ISBN 9788124011157.
  • Akkitham (2013). Thiranjedutha Kavithakal. DC Books. ISBN 9788126423446.
  • Akkitham (1997). Samanvayathinte aakaasham. Kottayam: D.C. Books.
  • Akkitham (1991). Sparsamanikal. Kottayam: D.C. Books.
  • Akkitham (1985). Amruthaghatika: Kavitha. Calicut: P. K. Brothers.
  • Akkitham (1980). Maanasa Pooja: Kavithakal.
  • Akkitham (1966). Oru kula mundiringa. Current books, Thrissur: Current Books.
  • Akkitham (1961). Sanjarikal. Current Books: Current Books.
  • Akkitham (1996). Slokapunyam. Akhila Kerala Akshara Sloka Parishath, Thrissur: Akhila Kerala Akshara Sloka Parishath, Thrissur.
  • Akkitham. Amrithaghadikam. Calicut: P.K. Brothers.
  • Achuthan Namboothiri, Akkitham (2013). Anthimahakalam (3rd ed.). Kozhikode: Mathrubhumi Books. ISBN 9788182657038.
  • Akkitham (1975). Kolaya Randu. National Bk Stall: National Book Stall.
  • Akkitham (1948). Prathikaradevatha. Mathrubhumi: Mathrubhumi.
  • Akkitham (1969). Karathalamalakam. Mangalodayam Ltd. Trissivaperur: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1966). Madhuvidhuvinusesham. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1969). Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.[permanent dead link]
  • Akkitham (1966). Sagarasangeetham. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1963). Madhuvidu. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1951). Manasakshiyude Pookkal. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1967). Oru Kudanna nilavu. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1947). Desasevika. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1965). Avathalangal. Mangalodayam: Mangalodayam.
  • Akkitham (1998). Ponnanikalari. Kottayam: Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sankham, Kottayam.
  • Akkitham (1948). Prathikaradevatha. Yogakshemam Limited: Yogakshemam Limited.[permanent dead link]
  • Akkitham (1990). Kalikkottilil. Trivandrum: State Institute of Children's Literature.
  • Akkitham (2016). Kedatha Sooryan. Sukapuram: Vallathol Vidyapeetham.

Poetry translated into foreign languages

Essays and literary criticisms

Children's literature




  1. ^ a b c d "Kerala loses Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, a poet of rare integrity whose works reflected unfathomable compassion". The Indian Express. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
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  3. ^ a b "മഹാകവി അക്കിത്തം അച്യുതന് നമ്പൂതിരി അന്തരിച്ചു". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  4. ^ "പത്മശ്രീ പ്രഭയില് അക്കിത്തം അച്യുതന് നമ്പൂതിരി". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). 8 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
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  9. ^ "Kendra Sahitya Academy Awards (Malayalam)". Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 24 May 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Winners of Odakkuzhal Award". www.keralaculture.org. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram recipients". asaneducation.com. 8 March 2019. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Lalithambika Antharjanam Smaraka Sahitya Award". www.keralaculture.org. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Winners of Vallathol Literary Awards". www.keralaculture.org. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  14. ^ "വയലാര് അവാര്ഡ് അക്കിത്തത്തിന്". www.doolnews.com. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
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  17. ^ "Ezhuthachan award for Akkitham". The Hindu. 1 November 2008. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
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  23. ^ "Awards, Trusts and Scholarships: 2: Deviprasaadam Trust". Namboothiri.com. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
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  25. ^ "എല്ലാം സര്വേശ്വരന്െറ അനുഗ്രഹം –അക്കിത്തം". Madhyamam. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
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