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Veteran poet and Malayalam scholar Puthussery Ramachandran passes away at 91

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “It was through a changing turbulent time that I journeyed through the burning sands of the seashore. Falling down, getting up again, exhausted and worn out, trembling, taking baby steps, struggling to keep my foot down, somehow I moved ahead. These are the footmarks from that adventurous journey. In fact, whenever I look back to ponder and search, more than my own footsteps, I feel more moved to look for the footprints left behind by that bygone era,” reminisces Puthussery in his forward to ‘Thilacha Mannil Kalnadayayi’ (Journeying through Burning Sands)- his autobiography that was published in 2017.

Veteran poet and Malayalam scholar Puthussery Ramachandran, 91, passed away at his house in the state capital on Saturday evening.

Puthussery, who undoubtedly led an eventful life through his varied roles as a teacher, poet, writer, even doubling up as a political activist at one point of time. Having lived just a decade short of a century, Puthussery, needless to say, did manage to carve out his very own niche in Malayalam.

He had an active political life during his student days. With his appealing, heart-warming poetry, he earned the sobriquet of a poet during the country’s freedom struggle to break free from its colonial masters.  He can easily be termed as a writer who chose to live on his own terms. Never one to hanker after the limelight, Puthussery chose to delineate his own path, in both life and literature. To quote his own words,  he has always lived by his own set of principles, beliefs and ideologies.

His very first poem ‘Onnanthyakkuttam’ was published in 1944. Making his mark in Malayalam poetry by the end of 60s, Puthuserry devoted a major portion of his time and effort to conduct an in-depth study of the early and medieval Malayalam language, as well as the early history of Kerala.

His poems have also been translated into Hindi, English and Tamil and published in various journals. ‘Puthussery ki Kavitha’, a Hindi translation of his works was published in 2001, while his autobiography Thilacha Mannil Kalnadayayi came out in 2017.  Puthussery has won many prestigious awards including the Ezhuthachchan Puraskaaram in 2015 among others.

In fact, it was due to Puthussery’s tireless efforts that Malayalam was finally recognised as a Classical Language by the Union Government in 2013. Soon after his autobiography came out, his family decided to donate the royalty rights of his autobiography to the Flood Relief Fund.

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