Akkitham, proponent of modernism in Malayalam poetry, wins Jnanpith Award

Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri wins Jnanpith Award
Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri

Legendary Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri, 93, has won the Jnanpith Award, the highest literary price in India for outstanding contribution towards literature.

The award was announced in New Delhi on Friday .

Akktiham thus became the sixth Malayalam writer to win the prestigious award.

He penned scores of poems, including the landmark Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam, or the legend of 20th century, which is believed to have brought modernism in Malayalam poetry.

Everyone knows these two famous lines from Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam. Velicham dhukamanuni, Thamasalo sugapradham’, meaning light is sorrow, darkness is happiness.

Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri
Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri with his wife Sreedevi Antharjanam.

He had also written umpteen short stories and plays, apart from translating articles from English.

The nation had bestowed him with with Padmashree in 2017. He had won Ezhuthachan Award in 2008.

Akkitham also worked as a journalist, having edited Unni Namboodiri, Mangalodayam and Yogakshemam magazines.

Akkitham worked with V T Bhattathirippad to fight social evils that had been prevalent in the Nampoothiri (Brahmin) community.

Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri

Early life

Born on March 18, 1926 in Kumaranelloor in Palakkad district as the son of Vasudevan Nampoothiri and Parvathy Antharjanam, Akkitham studied Sanskrit, music and astrology at the Kumaranelloor School. He joined for intermediate in Zamorin's Guruvayoorappan College in Kozhikide, but he left the college without completing the course.

Akkitham wrote his first poem when he was just eight years old. What sharpened his skills was his interactions with acclaimed writers, such as Edassery, Uroob and Nalappatt Narayana Menon at the Ponnanikkalari - a writers' collective based in Ponnani in Malappuram district. He also participated in India's freedom movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi.

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