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28 Oct 2020, 20:56 HRS IST
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  • Jnanpith award presented to renowned Malayalam poet Akkitham

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20:26 HRS IST

Palakkad (Kerala), Sep 24 (PTI) Renowned Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri was conferred the Jnanpith award, the country's highest literary award, on Thursday at a special function held at his house at Kumaranallur, near here

State Culture Minister A K Balan handed over the award to the poet

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who inaugurated the function through video conference, said Akkitham's outlook towards life and the universe itself are shaped by harsh realities

Vijayan said the poet's writings have turned out to be proverbs in Malayalam language

"Velicham dukhamanunni, thamasallo sukhapradam (roughly translated as light brings sorrow my child, darkness is bliss). These lines of Akkitham are repeated by every common man and its like a proverb for Keralites," Vijayan said

Akkitham is the sixth writer to bag the Jnanpith Award for Malayalam literature

The award was announced in November last year but the handing over ceremony was delayed due to COVID-19 lockdown

The first Jnanpith was awarded to Keralite poet G Sankara Kurup in 1965, then in 1980 it was awarded to writer S K Pottekkatt, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai in 1984, M T Vasudevan Nair in 1995 and O N V Kurup in 2007

Akkitham is the only living poet being called Mahakavi (great poet) in Malayalam

The 93-year-old poet is instrumental in heralding modernism in Malayalam poetry

A true Gandhian, social reformer, journalist and an iconic example of simplicity, Akkitham has been a man who wears many hats with aplomb besides his gifted literary life

Born in a traditional Namboothiri (Brahmin) family in Kumaranallur in Palakkad district, Akkitham had trumpeted his arrival to Malayalam literature at the age of eight by penning his first poem

He later gained recognition as poet, essayist and editor in his decades-long life besides taking part in social reform and renaissance movements.

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