Palakkad: The Kumaranellur Government Higher Secondary School in Palakkad is basking in the glory of a rare honour. In an achievement perhaps rare in the entire country, two alumni of the school have won the prestigious Jananpith Award for outstanding contribution towards literature.
It was former student Vasu, later renowned as littérateur M T Vasudevan Nair, popularly known as MT, who bagged the award first, in 1995. Achuthan or Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, famed as Akkitham, who was senior to Vasu by two years was named the Jnanpith winner on Friday.
Established as Kerala Vidyashala in 1884, the Kumaranellur school became a higher elementary school in 1923 and a high school in 1929.
Interestingly, Akkitham's house is at Kumaranellur itself. It is only 2 km from MT's birthplace at Kudallur.
MT mentions about Akkitham and about their friendship in his work recalling childhood memories.
Initially Akkitham had tried his hands at writing short stories and MT at poetry. It was on the insistence of MT that Akkitham published is work 'Balidarshanam'.
The Jnanpith Selection Board on Friday announced that Akkitham has been chosen for the 55th Jnanpith Award. The board described Akkitham as a poet of rare integrity, whose poetry reflects unfathomable compassion, imprints of Indian philosophical and moral values and a bridge between tradition and modernity.
When the country's highest literary honour came to Kerala six times, in a rare coincidence it went to the same region twice!