Deliberately denied Vayalar award earlier, says prize winner Sreekumaran Thampi

Sreekumaran Thampi has been chosen for the 47th Vayalar Award for his autobiography ‘Jeevitham Oru Pendulum’. Photo | Manoj Chamancheri (Manorama)

Thiruvananthapuram: Noted lyricist, music director, and filmmaker Sreekumaran Thampi, whose autobiography has been selected for the Vayalar award, has kicked up a row by saying that he was “deliberately denied” the coveted prize four times earlier.

He rued that he should have been presented the award much earlier and that his name had figured in the probables list many times. “I’ve learned that I was considered four times earlier for this award. Many individuals, junior to me, were selected for the award. Certain vested interests deliberately acted to deny me the recognition. It’s not right to reveal their names now,” Thampi, who has been chosen for the 47th Vayalar Award for his autobiography ‘Jeevitham Oru Pendulum’ (Life, a pendulum), rued.

“On one occasion, the then secretary of the Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust, rang me up and told me that I was selected for the award for my poetry collection ‘Ammakoru Tharattu’. However, he then called me the next day and said, ‘Sorry Thampi, a small issue cropped up. Will surely give the award to you next year.' I then retorted, ‘How could you confer the award on me next year? Is it being decided by a committee?’. That person is now no more. However, I’m happy I have been bestowed with the award now. The truth has prevailed,” the Malayalam lyricist vented out his feelings.

Thampi reflected that his autobiography has garnered much appreciation among the people. "Maybe now they decided to present me the award finally because the autobiography 'Jeevitam Oru Pendulum' received much appreciation from the common people after its release, forcing them to confer it on me. It’s clear now that it’s time which prove everything. The recognition and support of the people are more valuable than any of the awards. And I’ve received that,” the poet said.

No truth in allegations: Trust Secretary

Responding to Sreekumaran Thampi’s charges, Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust Secretary B Sateeshan said there is no truth in the accusations. “Maybe his remarks are due to his ignorance of how the award is determined. The same is being finalized after considering many factors, including the readers’ suggestions. It’s not on any individual, but for the best works that the award is announced every year,” he said.

“Since we have been following this method, there have been situations where many veteran writers could not be presented with the award despite their names featuring in the list,” Sateeshan pointed out.

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