G. Sankara Kurup
Drawing of G. Shankarakurup
Depiction of Shankarakurup in 1968
Born(1901-06-03)3 June 1901
Nayathode, Kingdom of Cochin
Died2 February 1978(1978-02-02) (aged 76)
Notable worksOdakkuzhal (Poetry) (1950)
Notable awards
SpouseSubhadra Amma
  • Nellikkappilli Variayath Sankara Warrier
  • Vadakkani Mararth Lakshmikutty Marasyar

G. Sankara Kurup, (3 June 1901 – 2 February 1978) also referred to as Mahakavi G (The Great Poet G), was an Indian poet, essayist and literary critic of Malayalam literature. Known as one of the greats of Malayalam poetry, he was the first recipient of the Jnanpith Award―the highest Indian literary honor. He served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1968 to 1972 and received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award, in 1967. He was also a recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award.

Life and career

Sankara Kurup was born on June 3, 1901, at Nayathode, a hamlet in the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin (now in Ernakulam district of the south Indian state of Kerala) to Nellikkappilli Variyath Sankara Warrier and Vadakkani Marath Lakshmikutty maarasyar[1] His early education was at the local schools in Nayathode and Perumbavoor after passing his 7th standard examination, he passed the Vernacular Higher Examination from a school in Muvattupuzha.[2] Subsequently, he started his career as the headmaster of Kottamam Convent School when he was only 16 and during his tenure there, continued his studies to pass the Malayalam Pandit and Vidwan examinations. In 1927, he moved to Thiruvilluamala High School as the Malayalam Pandit and to Thrissur training school in 1927 as a teacher. In 1931, he joined Maharaja's College, Ernakulam as a lecturer where he stayed until his retirement from service as a professor in 1956.[2] He also served as a producer at the Thiruvananthapuram station of the All India Radio.[1]

Sankara Kurup served Kerala Sahitya Akademi as its fourth president.[3] n He was also the president of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad and served as the chief editor of its official magazine; it was during his tenure that the magazine became a tri-monthly.[4] He edited another magazine, too, titled Thilakam. In 1968, he was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.[4]

Sankara Kurup married Subhadra Amma in 1931 and the couple had two children, a son, Ravindranath and a daughter, Radha.[1][5] Radha was married to M. Achuthan, an academic and a prominent literary critic.[6] He died on February 2, 1979, aged 76, at Trivandrum Medical college following post surgical complications,


Kurup on a 2003 stamp of India

Kurup published his first poem, called Salutation to Nature in 1918, while still a student[7] and his first poetry anthology, Sahitya Kouthukam, was published in 1923.[8] By the time he published Sooryakanthi in 1935, he had already established his place among Malayalam poets. Overall, he published over 40 books which included 25 poetry anthologies, short stories, memoirs, play and prose.[9][10] He translated the Rubáiyát (1932) of Omar Khayyám, the Sanskrit Meghadūta (1944) of Kalidas, and the collection of poems Gitanjali (1959) of Rabindranath Tagore into Malayalam.[2] He also wrote the lyrics for P. J. Cherian's Nirmala, (1948), the first Malayalam film to incorporate music and songs.[11] Besides Nirmala, he wrote the lyrics for such movies as Oral Koodi Kallanayi, Abhayam, Aduthaduthu and Olipporu.[12] His poems have been translated into English by A. K. Ramanujan under the title, Selected poems of G. Sankara Kurup.[13] Along with his masterpiece, Odakuzhal, Poojapushpam, Nimisham, Navathidhi, Ithalukal, Pathikante Paattu, Muthukal, Anthardaham, Chenkathirukal, Vishwadarshanam, Madhuram Soumyam Deeptham, and Sandhya Ragam are considered as his major works.[2] His autobiography was titled Ormmayude Olangalil, and was published by National Book Stall.[14]

Awards and honors

Sankara Kurup received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1961 for his anthology, Viswadarshanam.[15] The Central Sahitya Akademi honored him with their annual award for poetry in 1963.[16] He was the first winner of the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award, when the award was instituted in 1965.[17][18] He received the prize for his anthology, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute) which was published in 1950;[16][19] He set apart a part of the prize money to establish Odakkuzhal Award in 1968 and the work was later translated into Hindi, titled, Bansuri.[2] In 1967, he received the Soviet Land Nehru Award and a year later, the Government of India awarded him he third highest civilian honor of the Padma Bhushan.[20][21] The India Post issued a commemorative postal stamp on Kurup in 2003, under the series, Jnanpith Award Winners.[22]



Short Story anthologies




Biography, autobiography


Translations into other languages

Books and articles on G. Sankara Kurup



  1. ^ a b c "Profile of G. Sankara Kurup". malayalasangeetham.info. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "G. Sankara Kurup - Malayalam writer". www.keralaculture.org. Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Succession list of Presidents, Vice Presidents and Secretaries". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Biography on Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ Pradeep, K. (10 April 2015). "A house for a poet". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Literary critic Achuthan passes away in Kochi - Times of India". The Times of India. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  7. ^ "G. Sankara Kurup Jnanpith Award Awarded In 1965". Edubilla. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ S. Guptan Nair (2001). "G. Sankara Kurup and his Poetry". Indian Literature. 45 (6 (206)). Sahitya Akademi: 10–15. JSTOR 23345754.
  9. ^ "List of Books on Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  10. ^ K. M. George (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology: Surveys and poems. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 795–. ISBN 978-81-7201-324-0.
  11. ^ "NIRMALA 1948". The Hindu. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ "List of Malayalam Movies by Lyricist G Sankara Kurup". malayalasangeetham.info. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  13. ^ Sankara Kurup, G; Ramanujan, A. K (1969). Selected poems of G. Sankara Kurup. Dialogue Calcutta; distributors: Stechert-Hafner, New York. OCLC 139455.
  14. ^ Sankara Kurup, G (1984). Ormmayude Olangalil (in Malayalam). Kōṭṭayaṃ: Sāhityapr̲avarttaka Sahakaraṇasaṅghaṃ : National Book Stall. ISBN 9788126465958. OCLC 13822261.
  15. ^ "Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Malayalam literary award winners" (PDF). Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  18. ^ Jnanpith[usurped]
  19. ^ വസന്തന്‍, എസ് കെ (11 February 2018). "തമ്പുരാനോട്‌ ജി പറഞ്ഞു: പറ്റില്ല". Mathrubhumi. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Padma Bhushan". Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Commemorative and definitive stamps". postagestamps.gov.in. 27 January 2019. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  23. ^ Mohan Lal (1992). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay to Zorgot. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 4142–. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3.

Further reading