Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari received numerous accolades and was conferred with most of the prominent awards for her literary works. But she never received the prestige Jnanpith Award for her literary accomplishments.
A recipient of the Padma Shri in 2006, Sugathakumari was awarded the prestigious Saraswati Samman for her last collection of poems 'Manalezhuthu'. The Saraswati Samman is one of the highest literary awards in the country.
If she had been conferred with the Jnanpith, Sugathakumari would have been the first woman to secure the achievement for Malayalam literature.
Questions remain on who would be more eligible than Sugathakumari, whose poems stood for women and nature, to receive the highest literary award in the country.
Though the Jnanpith remained elusive, Sugathakumari always received the unbounded praises of the legendary poets of Malayalam.
When she requested for a forward for her collection of poems from the great poet, G Sankara Kurup, he asked her a question in return - "Does the dawn enter the universe with anyone's forward?”
Eminent poet Balamani Amma also had asked her if such heartfelt poems too needed a forward. And N V Krishna Warrier said that it was not possible for him to formulate an objective opinion about her poems. Poet Athmaraman of the new generation too praised the poems and said he worshipped them.
Blessings of G Sankara Kurup
Sugathakumari always had the blessings of the great poet, G Sankara Kurup, the first Keralite to be awarded the Jnanpith.
During his final days, when Sankara Kurup was battling for life, Sugathakumari was among those present at the hospital. Even though several friends went near him, he did not recognise any of them and kept on murmuring.
Sugathakumari was standing a bit away from the crowd, but Sankara Kurup spotted her. She then went up to him and kneeled down near the bed.
His daughter Radha asked him, "Do you recognise her?"
He nodded that he did recognise her. Radha then asked again who this person was. And Sankara Kurup in a feeble voice said, "Sugatha". The great poet placed his shivering hand over Sugathakumari's head and blessed her, "Good poem... good poem."
Recounting that incident, Sugathakumari later said, "There is no bigger blessing for me or my poem."