Words of survival: Kerala writers descend on cyberspace to inspire bibliophiles

Words of survival: Kerala writers descend on cyberspace to inspire bibliophiles
Clockwise: Prof. M K Sanu, Vaisakhan, N.S. Madhavan, M. Mukundan, K. Satchidanandan, C. Radhakrishnan.

At a time when the cultural world is stepping up to fill lockdown days with hope and inspiration, the Kerala Sahitya Akademi is doing its part by sharing every day messages of good hope from prominent writers and cultural activists in the state.

The series, titled Athijeevanathinte mozhikal (Words of Survival) features inspirational messages and anecdotes from who’s who of the vibrant cultural circles, through the Akademi’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Starting with nonagenarian writer and scholar Prof. M K Sanu, who points out that he hasn’t seen such a crisis in his lifetime, recalls his childhood days when cholera was rampant. “I had gone through the rapid spread of cholera during my school days but luckily, a vaccine was soon invented. However, this crisis is unique and incomparable.” 

He also hopes that though it’s a scary situation, the world would ultimately survive and perhaps get inspired, “The effect of the crisis of such a magnitude could evoke responses in the literary arena, resulting in some great creations. I hope my language and culture could contribute well to the beautiful and intense response to this blow. Nevertheless, we will survive this.”

Listen to Prof M.K. Sanu here

In his message, writer M. Mukundan hopes that the world will be a better place once the crisis is over, with many man-made citadels of discrimination and class differences collapsing.

“It’s a war declared by a living being invisible to the human eye. Though with its own share of losses, humans will win this war. And when we do, we are about to witness days of poverty, unemployment and financial crisis. But we will also witness a new, better human race, without arrogance, inequality and discrimination,” he says.

Listen to M. Mukundan here:

So far, five-minute podcast and video messages from writers Vaisakhan, K. Satchidanandan, N.S. Madhavan, C. Radhakrishnan and V. Madhusoodanan Nair have been published. The upcoming editions would feature Sara Joseph, KG Sankarappillai, R V G Menon and the like.

“Kerala Sahitya Akademi has been playing a leading role in state’s cultural atmosphere for all these decades and during this depressing time, when we helplessly witness thousands succumbing to a deadly virus and the already shrinking public spaces are being limited further, we are making the best use of our cyberspace,” Akademi secretary Dr K.P. Mohanan points out.

The Akademi has also offered a unique experience to bibliophiles by uploading the complete works of Kumaranasan, Ulloor S. Parameswarayyar, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Changampuzha Krishna Pillai in its digital library.

“Akademi boasts of a digital presence for the past two decades and our digital library has more than 1,000 books which are copy-left. We have a YouTube channel that presents choicest speeches of cultural icons,” Mohanan adds. 

Here are the Athijeevanathinte mozhikal (Words of Survival):

Listen to poet K. Satchidanandan here:

Listen to poet V. Madhusoodanan Nair here:

Listen to novelist C. Radhakrishnan here:

Listen to writer N.S. Madhavan here:

Listen to writer Vaisakhan here:

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