Sugathakumari
Sugathakumari1.jpg
BornSugathakumari
(1934-01-22)22 January 1934
Aranmula, Kingdom of Travancore
Died23 December 2020(2020-12-23) (aged 86)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Occupation
  • Poet
  • Environmentalist
  • Social activist
LanguageMalayalam
NationalityIndian
Alma materUniversity College, Thiruvananthapuram, Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram
Period1957–2020
Notable worksRaathrimazha, Ambalamani, Manalezhuthu
Notable awards
Spouse
Dr. K. Velayudhan Nair
(death 2003)
Children1
Parents

Sugathakumari (22 January 1934 – 23 December 2020) was an Indian poet and activist, who was at the forefront of environmental and feminist movements in Kerala, South India. Her parents were the poet and freedom fighter Bodheswaran and V. K. Karthiyayini Amma, a Sanskrit scholar. She was the founder secretary of the Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi, an organisation for the protection of nature, and of Abhaya, a home for destitute women and a day-care centre for the mentally ill. She chaired the Kerala State Women's Commission.[1] She played a prominent role in the Save Silent Valley protest.

Sugathakumari's notable works included Muthuchippikal, Pathirapookkal, Krishna Kavithakal, Ratrimazha, and Manalezhuthu. She won numerous awards and recognitions including Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (1968), Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award (1978), Odakkuzhal Award (1982), Vayalar Award (1984), Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award (1986), Asan Prize (1991), Vallathol Award (2003), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (2004), Ezhuthachan Puraskaram (2009), Saraswati Samman (2012), Mathrubhumi Literary Award (2014) and O. N. V. Literary Award (2017). In 2006, she was honoured with Padma Shri, the country's fourth-highest civilian honour.

Early life

Sugathakumari was born in Aranmula on 22 January 1934 in the modern day southern Indian state of Kerala (then in the Kingdom of Travancore). Her father Keshava Pillai, known as Bodheswaran, was a famous Gandhian thinker and writer, who was involved in the country's freedom struggle. V. K. Karthiyayini Amma, her mother, was a well-known scholar and teacher of Sanskrit.[2] Sugathakumari was the second of the three daughters of her parents, following an elder sister named Hrdayakumari, and preceding a younger sister named Sujatha Devi, both of them who excelled in literary field. After graduating from the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, Sugathakumari completed her master's degree in philosophy from Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram in 1955, and spent three years researching on the topic of 'Comparative Study of the Concept of Moksha in Indian Schools of Philosophy', but did not complete the thesis.[3] Sugathakumari was the former state vice president of Kerala Students Uniun KSU ... ..she worked KSU 3 years 1959 1962

Literary career

Sugathakumari during the Fokkana Award distribution ceremony, Thiruvananthapuram (1994)
Sugathakumari during the Fokkana Award distribution ceremony, Thiruvananthapuram (1994)
O. N. V. Kurup and Sugathakumari in September 2013
O. N. V. Kurup and Sugathakumari in September 2013

Sugathakumari's first poem, which she published under a pseudonym in a weekly journal in 1957, attracted wide attention.[4] In 1968, Sugathakumari won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry for her work Pathirappookal (Flowers of Midnight).[5] Raathrimazha (Night Rain) won the Kendra Sahitya Academy Award in 1978.[6] Her other collections include Paavam Manavahridayam, Muthuchippi, Manalezhuth, Irulchirakukal and Swapnabhoomi.[7][8] Sugathakumari's earlier poetry mostly dealt with the tragic quest for love and is considered more lyrical than her later works, in which the quiet, lyrical sensibility is replaced by increasingly feminist responses to social disorder and injustice.[9][10] Environmental issues and other contemporary problems are also sharply portrayed in her poetry.[11][12]

Sugathakumari has been described as among the most sensitive and most philosophical of contemporary Malayalam poets.[4] Her poetry drew on her sadness. In an interview, she said, "I have been inspired to write mostly through my emotional upheavals; few of my poems can be called joyous. But these days I feel I'm slowly walking away from it all, to a world that is futile or meaningless".[13] Sugathakumari's most famous works include Raathrimazha, Ambalamani (temple bell) and Manalezhuthu. Sugathakumari also wrote children's literature, receiving an Award for Lifetime Contribution to Children's Literature, instituted by the State Institute of Children's Literature, in 2008.[14] She also translated many pieces of work into Malayalam.[15][7]

She won numerous other awards for her literary works, including the Vayalar Award and Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literary honour from the Government of Kerala.[16] In 2004, she was given the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.[17][18] She won the Saraswati Samman in 2012, being only the third Malayalam writer to do so. She also won the Pandit Karuppan Award.[3] She was the principal of Kerala State Jawahar Balabhavan, Thiruvananthapuram. She was the founding chief editor of Thaliru, a children's magazine published by Kerala State Institute of Children's Literature.[3]

Social activism

Sugathakumari in 2017
Sugathakumari in 2017

A committed conservationist, Sugathakumari served as the secretary of the Society for Conservation of Nature, Thiruvananthapuram. In the late 1970s she led a successful nationwide movement, known as Save Silent Valley, to save some of the oldest natural forests in the country, the Silent Valley in Kerala, from submersion as a result of a planned hydroelectric project. Her poem Marathinu Stuthi (Ode to a Tree) became a symbol for the protest from the intellectual community and was the opening song of most of the Save Silent Valley campaign meetings.[19] She was the founding secretary of the Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi, an organisation for the protection of nature. She was also actively involved with various women's movements of the 1970s and served as the chair of the Kerala State Women's Commission.[1]

Sugathakumari also founded Abhaya (refuge), an organisation that provides shelter to female mental patients, after being appalled at conditions in the government-run mental hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. Three women led by social activist and artist G. Geetha, demanded a probe into the rape of a Dalit inmate woman by two counselors and the hostel warden of 'Abhaya' in 2002.[20][21][22][23][24]

Sugathakumari received the Bhattia Award for Social Science, the Sacred Soul International Award, the Lakshmi Award for social service, and the first Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award from the Government of India for her efforts in environmental conservation and afforestation.[4]

Personal life

Sugathakumari's husband Dr. K. Velayudhan Nair (died 2003) was an educationist and writer who was an expert in educational psychology.[25] They had a daughter, Lekshmi Devi.[11] Sugathakumari's elder sister Hridayakumari was a literary critic, orator and educationist.[24][26] The Kerala government declared Sugathakumari's ancestral house, Vazhuvelil Tharavadu, as a protected monument on her 84th birthday.[27]

Sugathakumari died on 23 December 2020, due to complications from COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in India, at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, thirty days short from her 87th birthday.[8][28][29] She was cremated with full state honours at Santhikavadam crematorium in Thiruvananthapuram on the same day.

Works

Awards and recognitions

Civilian honours

Literary awards

Other awards

References

  1. ^ a b "Status of women declining: Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Thiruvananthapuram, India. 3 November 2000. Archived from the original on 29 January 2002. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ Tharu, Susie J.; Lalita, Ke, eds. (1993). Women Writing in India: The twentieth century. Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Present. Vol. 2. Feminist Press. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-55861-029-3. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Saraswati Samman for Sugathakumari". Kerala Kaumudi. Kaumudiglobal.com. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Mohan Lal (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: sasay to zorgot, Volume 5. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 4211, 4212.
  5. ^ "Sugathakumari (1934- 2020): A nature loving poet, liberal feminist and activist". OnManorama. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Malayalam poet-activist Sugathakumari dies of COVID-19". Sify. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Raju, Anupama (1 February 2018). "An evergreen voice in verse". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Renowned Malayalam poet-activist Sugathakumari dies of covid-19 complications". Indian Express. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Sugathakumari, Eminent Malayalam Poet And Activist Dies". NDTV.com. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  10. ^ Tharu, Susie J.; Lalita, Ke (1991). Women Writing in India: The twentieth century. Feminist Press at CUNY. ISBN 978-1-55861-029-3.
  11. ^ a b "Eminent poet-activist Sugathakumari no more". Outlook India. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  12. ^ PTI (23 December 2020). "Eminent poet-activist Sugathakumari passes away". National Herald. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  13. ^ a b "A pleasant surprise". The Hindu. Thiruvananthapuram, India. 27 January 2006. Archived from the original on 6 September 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Thiruvananthapuram, India. 23 April 2008. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Sugathakumari, the 'greenest' poet of Kerala who fought for nature and women". The Week. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Ezhuthachan Puraskaram for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Trichur, India. 13 March 2004. Archived from the original on 4 May 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Antony to present Akademi Fellowship". The Hindu. Trichur, India. 10 August 2004. Archived from the original on 24 September 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  19. ^ Sridevi Mohan (24 April 2004). "Bio-reserve nonpareil". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Kerala: holy cows in sex scandals". The Milli Gazette. 1 January 2005. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  21. ^ "The NI Interview". New Internationalist. 5 January 1996. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Abhaya- a home for the homeless - celebrating 30th anniv". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Poet Sugathakumari's Abhaya is a lifeline for Kerala's blighted souls | Outlook India Magazine". Outlook India. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Sugathakumari, a pensive poet who fought for nature and mankind, passes away". The News Minute. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Educationist Velayudhan Nair dead". The Times of India. Indiatimes.com. 22 September 2013. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  26. ^ "Poet Sugathakumari passes away". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Poet Sugathakumari's ancestral home declared protected monument | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India. TNN. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Eminent poet-activist Sugathakumari no more". Outlook. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  29. ^ "കവി സുഗതകുമാരി അന്തരിച്ചു; കൊവിഡ് ബാധിതയായിരുന്നു". Asianetnews.com.
  30. ^ Sugathakumari (1961). Muthuchippi. Mathrubhumi Books. p. 104. ISBN 9788182667174.
  31. ^ "Sugathakumari: The Artist of Poetic Skills and a Classic Example of Feminism Activist". Be An Inspirer. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  32. ^ Sugathakumari (1968). Pavam Manava Hrudayam (in Malayalam). Poorna Publications.
  33. ^ Kumari, Sugatha (1969). Pranamam (in Malayalam). Kerala Gandhi Smarakanidhi.
  34. ^ Sugathakumari (1969). Irul chirakukal (in Malayalam).
  35. ^ Sugathakumari (1977). Raathrimazha. DC Books.
  36. ^ Sugathakumari (1981). Ambalamani. National Book Stall. p. 200. ASIN B01MSHM39L.
  37. ^ Sugathakumari (1988). Kurinjipookal (in Malayalam). DC Books.
  38. ^ "DC Books-Online BookStore". onlinestore.dcbooks.com. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  39. ^ Sugatakumāri (1995). Rādhayevitde?. Kottayam: ḌC Books. ISBN 8171304540. OCLC 33357448.
  40. ^ Sugatakumāri (1998). Dēvadāsi. Kottayam: Ḍi. Si. Buks. ISBN 8171308007. OCLC 42737193.
  41. ^ Sugathakumari. Manalezhuth.
  42. ^ Raju, Anupama (1 February 2018). "An evergreen voice in verse". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  43. ^ Sugathakumari (2006). Sugathakumariyude Kavithakal (in Malayalam). DC Books.
  44. ^ Sugathakumari (2008). Krishnakavithakal (in Malayalam). DC Books.
  45. ^ 1934–, Sugathakumari (2010). Megham Vannu Thottappol. Kottayam: DC Books. ISBN 9788126426065. OCLC 607660686.((cite book)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ Sugathakumari. Poovazhi Maruvazhi. DC Books. p. 74. ASIN B077P56ZP6.
  47. ^ Sugathakumari. Kaadinu Kaaval. DC Books.
  48. ^ "Kerala Sahithya Akademi Winners for Poetry (1959–2003)". Kerala Sahithya Akademi. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  49. ^ "Kendra Sahitya Academy Awards (Malayalam)". Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 24 May 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  50. ^ "Asan Memorial Association Awards". Asan Memorial Association. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  51. ^ "Sugatha Kumari gets Vallathol prize | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India. PTI. 4 October 2003. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  52. ^ "Smt. Sugathakumari". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  53. ^ "Winners list of P. Kunhiraman Nair Award". www.keralaculture.org. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  54. ^ "Pandalam Kerala Varma award for Sugathakumari". Outlook India. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  55. ^ "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Kochi, India. 5 July 2009. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  56. ^ "Basheer award presented". The Hindu. Kochi, India. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  57. ^ "Recipients Since 1995". www.pravasidoha.org. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  58. ^ "Saraswati Samman for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. New Delhi, India. Press Trust of India. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  59. ^ "പി.കെ.വി പുരസ്‌ക്കാരം സുഗതകുമാരിയ്ക്ക്" [PKV Award to Sugathakumari] (in Malayalam). DC Books. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  60. ^ "സുഗതകുമാരിക്ക് പണ്ഡിറ്റ് കറുപ്പന്‍ പുരസ്‌കാരം" [Pandit Karuppan to Sugathakumari] (in Malayalam). DC Books. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  61. ^ "VT literary award presented". The Hindu. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  62. ^ "Mathrubhumi award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  63. ^ "തോപ്പില്‍ ഭാസി പുരസ്‌കാരം സുഗതകുമാരിക്ക്". DC Books. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  64. ^ "O.N.V. Literary Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  65. ^ "Poet Sugathakumari receives Kesavadev Literary Award". The Times of India. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  66. ^ "Sugathakumari receives Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan Award". Mathrubhumi. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  67. ^ "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Kochi, India. 26 September 2006. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  68. ^ "Award presented to Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Kochi, India. 2 June 2007. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  69. ^ "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Kozhikode, India. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  70. ^ "Award for Sugathakumari". The Hindu. Alappuzha, India. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

Further reading