Friday, November 4, 2011

MAHAKAVI G.SANKARA KURUP (ജി.ശങ്കരകുറുപ്പ്)

Mahakavi G
G. Sankara Kurup, popularly known as 'G', was born on 3 June 1901. Nellikkappilli Sankara Warrier was his father and Vadakkani Lakshmikutty Amma was his mother. Both belonged to respectable but low-income Hindu families in Nayathode village near Kalady, in Central Kerala, the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya, the renowned philosopher and religious reformer. G's uncle was a good Sanskrit scholar and astrologer. In 1931 G married Subhadra Amma from Purathu Veedu in Thiruvanchikulam, capital of the old Chera empire.

Losing his father at an early age, the boy Sankaran was extremely anxious about his education. His uncle Govinda Kurup and mother were, however, able to give him both home and school education in Sanskrit and Malayalam only. Subsequenly, he passed the Malayalam Pundits' examination which brought him a teacher's post. Later in 1926, he passed simultaneously the Preliminary and Final Vidwan examinations of Madras University, winning a first class and the first rank.

By self study he mastered English, Bengali and Hindi and so got direct access to the literature in these languages. Tolstoy's 'What is Art?' was an eye-opener for him. Among his poetical compositions, some will suggest the influence of Mahakavi Vallathol, some other of Tagore. Some will show acquaintance with English poets like Shelley and Wordsworth, and also with Persian poets. The writings of Tagore and Gandhi shaped his ideas of comprehensive humanism, and at the same time fired his spirit of nationalism. Nevertheless, in everything that G said and wrote his individuality was clearly evident.

His career began in 1921 as a Government School teacher. In 1936 he entered Collegiate serviced and retired as a Professor in 1956. Then for two years he was Producer in the All India Radio Station, Trivandrum. From 1958 to 1960 he was 'Sahitya Salak' in the same station. A member of the Samasta Kerala Sahitya Parishad, he was also editor of its journal from 1944 to 1959.
   Kurup published his first poem, called Salutation to Nature in 1918, while still a student. Apart from 25 collections of poetry, Kurup also wrote verse dramas and collections of literary essays—in all about 40 works in Malayalam. He also translated theRubayat (1932) of Omar Khayyam, the Sanskritt poem Meghaduta (1944) ofKalidas, and the collection of poems Gitanjali (1959) of Rabindranath Tagore into Malayalam. Indeed, one often speaks of the influence of Tagore and Gandhii on the humanism and nationalism of Kurup. Interestingly, he has also been described as a “bard of science” who explores the role of science in achieving the human potential.
He also penned the lyrics for P.J.Cherian’s Nirmala, (1948), the first Malayalam film to incorporate music and songs. Kurup also led an active public life as a member (1968–72) of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament .Sankara Warrier was his father and Vadakkani Lakshmikutty Amma was his mother. G's uncle was a good Sanskrit scholar and astrologer, who had a significant influence in shaping his literary life. In 1931 G married Subhadra Amma from an ancient Nair family - Purathu Veedu in Thiruvanchikulam, capital of the old Chera empire, now in Tamilnadu.G. Sankara Kurup (1901-1978), widely known as 'G' in Kerala, the recipient of the first Jnanpith Award for his collection of poems 'Otakkazhal' (The Flute), was a celebrated Malayalam poet with social commitment. His poetic calibre and philosophy, attracted the Indian mind, transcending the limitations and barriers of the regional languages. 'G' is spiritual; yet the feet of his thought and inspiration are firmly planted on earth. Devotional ecstasies gain an energetic tempo and assertion in his later poems such as Visvadarsanam (The Vision of Universe), which won the Akademi Award in 1963. "'G' in poetics was what Nehru was in Politics."
   He was its President from 1956 to 1957 and of the Kerala Sahitya Academy from 1966 to 1957 and of the Kerala Sahitya Academy from 1966 to 1968. He was editor of the Kairali and was founder-editor of the Thilakam. He was an honorary member of the PEN and of the National Book Trust of India, and was President of the Bharatiya Sahitya Parishad.

During all those years, poems, dreams and essays-mostly poems-poured abundantly from his pen. There are about forty publications to his credit. Four phases, somewhat mixed, may be observed in the course of his poetic evolution, namely romanticism, mysticism or symbolism, nationalism, internationalism or humanism. All these stages are seen in 'Odakkuzhal' (The Flute), a collection of poems which won the Bharatiya Gnanapeetha Award.
His interpretation of nature which is unique in Malayalam literature, may be seen in 'Sandhya Taram' (Twilight Star) or 'Suryakanti' (Sunflower). Talike 'Ente Veli' (My Marriage) and 'Pushpa Geethi' (Song of Flower). 'Azhimukham' (Harbour Mouth), 'Rakta Bindu' (Drop of Blood) and the like express G's intense nationalist spirit. 'Eka Lokam' (One World) and the drama 'Irittinu Mumpa' (Before Darkness) show his international interest.
In 'Pathikante Pattu' (Song of the Wayfarer) his universal humanism finds expression. In 'Nimisham' (Moment) and 'Viswa Darshan' (Vision of the Universe) G has very felicitously interwoven the explanations of cosmic phenomena according to ancient Indian culture and modern science. Many poems are lyrics, while 'Moonnaruviyum Oru Puzhayum' (Three Streams and a River), his longest poem, is a balled, a simple story of the poor, in one hundred and seventy-two quatrains.
Besides original compositions, he has translated into Malayalam, 'Meghadoot', 'Rubayyat' and 'Gitanjali'. His 'Muthum Chippiyum' (Pearl and Oyster) is a collection of essays on the Persian poets. In the midst of all these G has given to children also books of simple verses like 'Ilam Chundukal' (Young Lips) and 'Katte Va Kadale Va' (Come Wind, Come Sea). G's speeches are famous for their fluency, substance and rich imagery, like his poetry.
Honours came to him in recognition of his talents and achievements. The Samskrita Sadas and the Maharaja of the erstwhile Cochin State awarded him the titles of Sahitya Nipunan and Kavithilakan respectively. He got the Krishna Kalyani Award from the Kerala Writers' Co-operative Society, and in 1963 the Sahitya Academy Award from the President of India.In 1965, for the first time, the Bharateeya Gnanapeetha Prize was given to G. The President confered on him the title of Padmabhushan and nominated him as a member of the Rajya Sabha. The Soviet Land Nehru Award came to him in 1967. In 1968 he was invited to Russia by the Award Committee and the Soviet Writers' Association and to Germany by German writers. His poems have been translated into other Indian languages, English and Russian.

He believes in socialism, but by evolution. His attitude towards religious and social conventions is Gandhian and unorthodox. But he is no atheist, as is shown by the name Guruvayoorappan Trust which he gave to his endowment for encouraging young writers. He thinks that while our educational system closed the doors on our old culture and talents, it did not open adequately the way for us for the new scientific and technical progress. He has very simple habits and pleasant social manners.
With his words and deeds he had inspired many promising writers, and brought home to the public the beauties of nature, the joy and pride of being an Indian. He sang of the glory of freedom, of the sanctity of the struggle for it. In Malayalam poetry he experimented boldly and successfully with new forms and gave the lead to the rising generations. In the history of Malayalam poetry these years will be known as the Age of G. gore's influence is seen in poems
"For a poet his poems are the best memorial. It should be able to keep alive the memories of the man who wrote it. Anyone who fails in this cannot claim to be a poet. The poems of G have stood the test of time. They stand as his best memorial. If this society has not been able to do something to perpetuate his memory the fault lies in those who constitute it. This society is debased, bereft of values and culture. It comes as no surprise to me, for I have always believed that this city has no character, no values. And the Malayalis in general are perhaps the only race in the world that is prepared to sell anything, their culture, and language. Even the Spanish girls at the brothels in the U.S. show a passion for their language and culture," feels eminent poet Balachandran Chulikkad.
G. Sankara Kurup spent the best part of his lifetime in this city. After short stints at various schools and a training institute in Thrissur, G taught at the Maharaja's College for 19 years and most of his major works were written here. Yet all that remains as poor memorials for this poet is the small Sahitya Parishad hall, which is named in his honour, a narrow bylane that leads to his home, a couple of faded photographs at the college where he taught and a humble tombstone, nearly 15 kilometres from the city. Doesn't this man deserve much more? "A committee was constituted a few years back with the objective of building a suitable memorial for the poet. This was when the previous Congress government was in power in the State. Some money was raised, a bank account was opened, but then this project simply fizzled out," says Prof. M. Achuthan, president of Sahitya Parishad and G's son-in-law. This committee, headed by the late C. P. Sreedharan, did make some earnest efforts. Many believe that this dream would have been realised if Mr. Sreedharan were alive, for after his death there was simply no one to take up the initiative. "The only memorial for this poet is the small Parishad hall. It is certainly unfair that none of the governments or the civic authorities have a spared a thought, even after 25 years of his death, for this poet who won universal recognition for our language through his works. The Parishad survives only on the rent we get from our building and the hall. We are ready to help, in our own small way. Remember, Mahakavi G was not just a poet. He was a Rajya Sabha member, a reputed teacher and more importantly one who spearheaded the movement for a united Kerala. What we, and those in power, enjoy are the fruits of their labour," remarks M. V. Benny, secretary, Sahitya Parishad.
In most of the other countries, like the U.S. and the U.K. it is the local bodies that are wrested with this responsibility. "Can one hope much from our State government? All that they set apart annually for literary activities is something around Rs 25 lakhs. This amount is what a small contractor earns from a minor contract. Not surprising at all, for we live in a society that gives top priority to investors, abkaris and politicians, with the poet or the writer making up the last rung," quips Mr. Chulikkad. A few months back the Kochi Corporation decided to form a new committee to begin work on a memorial for this poet. An initial amount of Rs 3 lakhs was also set apart in the budget. "At a meeting called by the Mayor I was asked to give the names of those who would be willing to be part of this committee. I did so, but after that I do not what has happened," confides Prof. Achuthan.
"Yes. We do have plans. In fact, at a recent meeting of the Centre of Studies, we took a decision to go ahead with the project. We have requested the Greater Cochin Development Authority for land, which we are sure to get. Very soon we will be able to start work on this project. It will be a fitting memorial for Kochi's famous poet," reveals C.M. Dinesh Mani, Mayor of Kochi.
The Guruvayoorappan Trust, which was set up by G himself in 1968, with part of the money he received from the Jnanapeeth Award, instituted the Odakkuzhal Award for the best literary work in Malayalam. After the death of the poet in 1978, this award is given away every year on February 2, the day G died. "Every year, almost like a ritual, I try to impress on those gathered at that award function the need for a memorial in Kochi. I will be doing it this year too. My tribute to this great poet has been those works written about him. What more can I do now?" laments Dr. M.Leelavathy, who was G's student at Maharaja's College.
Mahakavi G Memorial
"Even during his lifetime I have felt that this great writer was neglected in this State. There were forces that even tried hard to prevent him from getting the Jnanapeeth Award. The bitter, unjustified, biased criticism of his works, published just before the announcement, perhaps had this motive. But this attempt failed. The great poets outside Kerala always had high regard for Kurup Sir. These forces were at him once again after the Indo-China war of 1962. They dubbed him anti-national for hailing the revolution in China, in a poem written years before the war against China. There were other eminent `critics' who felt that G had lifted the theme and images from other poems. I'm sorry that some of these critics, still alive, have not had the guts to come forward and confess their wrongs even after all these years. And these very same men, in later years, faced charges of plagiarism themselves. G had said it... .Innu Njan Nale Nee (Me Today, You Tomorrow)," adds Ms Leelavathy. G was one of those rare poets who anchored metaphysical poetry to scientific theories, he brought to bear on the sensibility of the Malayali a global conscience by reacting to events outside the nation even while anchoring himself firmly on the burning national issues, he opposed the hierarchical societal pattern, class distinctions treating "the white, fragrant jasmine and the dark creeping clouds," as equal. Yet, if he is being deliberately forgotten on petty divisions of caste, religion or politics, it is time this city remembers him, at least while faint memories still hold a place in this `distracted globe' of the society.Poetry-Suryakaanthi (Sunflower) (1933)-Nimisham (The Moment) (1945)Odakkuzhal (Flute) (1950)Padhikante Paattu (The Traveler's Song) (1955)Visvadarsanam (The Sight of the Universe) (1960) Moonnaruviyum Oru Puzhayum (Three Streams and a River) (1963)Jeevana Sangeetham (The Music of Life) (1964)Sahithya Kauthukam (The Sweetness of Literature), in 3 Volumes (1968)

                                                                                                Prof. John Kurakar


Vignesh J NAIR said...

may I get the lyrics of viswa darshan? if you have the lines please mail it to my mail id

ami athira said...

May I get the lyrics of Ilam chundukal?if you have the lines could you please mail it to my mail

jalaja kumari said...

may i get the lyrics of thaimav from elamchundukal

gopi said...

i hve been told by some of my techers and friends tht the poem -----ende veli ----- written by g snkar kurup is not available by the help of internet . please cn you please make it avilable to me on my email my email is as follows mohanasreelakam @ gmail .com