Poet Pala Narayanan Nair passes away

via www.dailypioneer.com published on June 11, 2008

Poet Pala Narayanan Nair, who dedicated his life to poems on the greatness of Kerala, passed away at a private hospital at Muttuchira, Kaduthuruthi in the district on Wednesday morning after prolonged age-related illnesses. He was 97. The poet’s mortal remains would be consigned to flames at his residential plot at TV Puram, Vaikom at 3.00 pm on Thursday with full State honours.

Narayanan Nair, last of the surviving Mahakavis of Malayalam, was admitted to the hospital at about 8.00 am with severe health complications and the death occurred at 10.30 am. The body was kept at the residence of his daughter in Vaikom on Wednesday for the people to pay last respects.

Life had made Pala to don several roles for the sake of earning livelihood, but the poetic potential in the Mahakavi was so great that all this enriched his creative skills. Born on January 11, 1911 in Pala, Kottayam, as son of Keepallil Sankaran Nair and Parvathy Amma, Narayanan Nair worked as soldier, teacher, researcher, etc. He had also participated in World War II.

With the entire burden of the family coming on his shoulders in a very tender age, he was forced to take up job as teacher at SMV High School, Poonjar and he could take his post-graduate degree in Malayalam with first rank only in 1956.

He wrote more than 5,000 poems, published more than 45 volumes of poems and taught at least three generations about the greatness of Kerala and its culture. A recipient of the Kerala Sahithya Akademi for his comprehensive contribution to the Malayalam literature, Pala had been conferred with almost all the chief awards for literature in Kerala. He had won the first Ezhuthachan Puraskaram and had claimed leading awards in the names of Kalidasa, Asan, Vallathol and Ulloor. He was awarded the Kerala Sahithya Academy for his poem Vilakku Koluthoo (Please Light the Lamp) in 1976.

He had started his stint at the publications division of the erstwhile Travancore University as a Pundit where he continued to become the head of the section after the Kerala University was born. He had taught at Alphonsa College, Pala and NSS College, Kottiyam. The stint as a soldier in Burma (Myanmar) gave him rich experiences and the poems written while he was there were later published. He was also the first assistant secretary of the Kerala Sahithya Akademi.

Mahakavi Vallathol praised Pala for the beauty of his poems saying they should be decked in gold. His poems always tried to recount and reflect the uniqueness of the Kerala culture and inculcate a trust in the reader that Kerala was born to grow. Keralam Valarunnu (Kerala is Growing), Bashpathanrangam, Adima, Palazhi and Peruma are some of his most famous poems. Keralam Valarunnu, an extensive poem with imageries of culture, civilisation, society, life, etc, earned him a permanent position in the minds of the Malayalees. Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, one of the oldest surviving communists who had actively participated in the growth of Kerala standing in Pala’s times, said Keralites lost a great poet who sang about this State with the death of the Mahakavi.

“Pala’s poems are full of Kerala from start to finish,” Education Minister MA Baby said while stating a State funeral would be accorded to the poet. His poems, which were expressive of the pure poetic life the poet had been living, foresaw the future of Kerala, Baby added.

Poet Sugathakumari said Pala was a poet who was all love for Kerala and its language. Balachandran Chullikkad, representative of the new-age Malayalam poets, said Pala was one of the rare poets who had written poems keeping the glories of traditions in mind. Novelist and Kerala Sahithya Akademi president M Mukundan said Pala’s was an eventful life.

Poet Akkitham was the one who perhaps described Pala in the most appropriate way. He was the last link in the series of traditional poets, he said.

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