Thiruvananthapuram: Noted Malayalam poet Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri passed away at his house in Thycaud in the Kerala capital on Thursday. He was 81.
The poet, who was also an eminent academician and editor, was suffering from memory loss over the last one year.
Namboothiri won several honours and awards, including the Padmashree in 2014, Central and Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards and the Ezhuthachan Prize.
He is survived by wife Savithri and daughters Adithi and Aparna.
Born in Thiruvalla on June 2, 1939 to Vishnu Namboothiri and Adithi Anthanjanam, Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri studied Sanskrit, Vedas and ‘puranas’ from his grandfather. He subsequently acquired formal education from Kochuperingara School; S B College, Changanassery and Devagiri College, Kozhikode.
Initially, Namboothiri taught Mathematics at Peringara School before joining Malabar Christian College as an English teacher after his MA. He later worked at S N College, Kollam and various government colleges before his retirement from service as Head of the English Department at University College, Thiruvananthapuram. For the next three years, Namboothiri was the priest at Sree Vallabha Temple, Thiruvalla.
Other posts held by the late poet include research officer at Kerala Bhasha Institute, editor of ‘Grandhalokam’ magazine and office-bearer of organisations such as Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithy and Kerala Kalamandalam.
From his childhood, Namboothiri had the habit of creating poems and reciting them aloud. His early works were published in the S B College magazine in 1956 and in a publication named ‘Vidyalokam’ in 1962. Soon, Namboothiri became active in the field of poetry and even though his works were based on ancient Indian philosophy and traditions, he could blend modern elements in them.
The poet loved travelling too, and visited countries such as the US, England, Ireland and Greece. He also toured the Himalayas eight times.
Namboothiri’s works include, poems ‘Swathanthriyathe kurichu oru geetham’, ‘Pranayageethangal’, ‘Bhoomigeethangal’, ‘Indiayenna vikaram’, ‘Mukhamevide’, ‘Athirthiyilekku oru yathra’, ‘Aranyakam’, ‘Aparajitha’, ‘Ujjayiniyile rappakalukal’, ‘Parikramam’, ‘Sreevalli’, ‘Utharayanam’, ‘Thulaseedalangal’, ‘Rasakkudukka’ and ‘Vaishnavam’; essay collections ‘Kavithayude DNA’, ‘Asaheethiyam’ and ‘Alakadalukalum neyyambalukalum’; translations ‘Gandhi’, ‘Sasyalokam’ and ‘Ritusamharam’; children’s literature ‘Kuttikalude Shakespeare’ and compilations ‘Puthumudrakal’, ‘Vanaparvam’, ‘Swathanthrya samara geethangal’ and ‘Desabhakti kavithakal.’
Namboothiri was selected for several honours during his long literary work. Among them are, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Bhoomigeethangal’ in 1979, Odakkuzhal Award for ‘Mukhamevide’ in 1983, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Ujjayiniyile rappakalukal’ in 1994, Asan Prize in 1996, Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s award for overall contributions in 2004, Mathrubhumi literary award in 2010, Vayalar Award in 2010, Changampuzha award in 1989, Ulloor Award in 1983, Sahitya Kalanidhi gold medal, Veenapoovu centenary award (2008) and Ezhuthachan prize (2014).