Friday, November 18, 2011



(ഉള്ളൂര്എസ്. പരമേശ്വരയ്യര്)
Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (1877-19490), commonly known as Ulloor was a famous Malayalam poet and a noted historian. He was a poet who attempted to revive the classical heritage of  Malayalam poetry. He was born at the Thamarassery Illam at Perunna, Changanassery. Romanticism flourished with the appearance of the great trio Kumaran Asan. Ulloor and  Vallathol Naryana MenonHe started his work as a government servant who finally became the Chief Secretary to the  Travancore Government.
His early works show the influence of Sanskrit words and usages. In Premasangeetham the poet glorifies the concept of love. One of his masterpieces Premasangeetham (literally 'song of love') is a poem by Ulloor which compiled the history of Malayalam Literature for the first time.He says that love is the only religion in the world, and describes the rhythmic harmony between man and nature. The poem concludes in a highly philosophical note - ' You, me and the Paramathma (the Almighty) are one and the same '.
Ulloor published Umakeralam , a Mahakavyam in 1914. His best works include Pingala, Karnabhooshanam, Bhakthideepika and Chithrassala. His long poem (Mahakavyam) named Umaakeralam (1914) has as its theme, a particular phase in Kerala's history. The poem deals with the politics related to the monarchical power of Travancore in the 17th century. Ulloor was also an erudite scholar and a historian which can be seen from very famous work Kerala Saahitya Charitham (History of the Literature of Kerala), which consists of five volumes. Among his shorter narrative poems, Pingala and Karnabhooshanam are important. He contributed much to the Malayalam language as well as to the Malayalam literature both in prose and poetry.
Ulloor S. Parmeswara Iyer was born on 6 June 1877 at Changanacherry in Kerala. His father, Subramonia Iyer was then a Malayalam teacher in the local school. His ancestral home was at Ulloor, a northern suburb of the city of Trivendrum. The poet is known in Kerala by the familiar diminutive 'Ulloor'. His father's premature death dimmed his prospects for higher education. However, his mother's preservance led him to join the Maharaja's College at Trivendrum, wherefrom he graduated in 1897 with honours in Philosophy. Thereafter he entered the Srvices of the Travancore State. While in service, he studied and tok a degree inLaw as well as Master's degree in Malayalam and Tamil. He rose the high office of Land revenue and Income Tax Commissioner and also officiated as Chief Secretary of the State. Ulloor's abiding fame and imposing contributions are as a versatile and gifted man of letters. His literary output was tremendous. His poetic talents surfaced early and was fostered by his afther and encouraged by his literary patrons. Ulloor is a perfect classicist and his poetry bears the stamp of erudiction and scholarship. His epic 'Umakeralam' is chaste and blemishless. When the short narrative poems (Khanda Kavya) were in vogue, he wrote 'Karnabhooshanam' and 'Pingala' which to this day remain inimitable. His poems are poignant personal utterances through the fire and the feeling are camouflaged under myth and allegory. The magnum opus of Ulloor is the monumental history of Malayalam literature, which was posthumously published by the Kerala University. It is as significant a work as the Cambridge History of English Literature. He was an exceptionally discrening circle with a sense of history, a profound grasp of the classical spirit and meticulous attention to details. He made a deep study of ancient literature and palm leaf manuscripts. He brought to light the earliest Malayalam poem 'Rama Charitham' and the earliest Malayalam prose 'Dutavakyam'. Many cantos of 'Kannassa Ramayanam' were annotated and edited by him. A colossus, he dominated the literary life of Kerala for nearly half a century. He passed away on 15 J une 1949 at the age of 72.
 Ulloor was a great poet and literary figure of his time. One of the most noted works by Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer, Umakeralam, a Mahakavyam, is introduced (in English) by Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran. He got the title of Mahakavi for this work. Another of his great work is Kerala Sahithya Charitham in 5 volumes, an authoritative Malayalam literary history of Malayalam language and literature. This book was posthumously published by the Kerala University. Other works like 'Karnabhooshanam' and 'Pingala' are to this day remain inimitable. He has written a number of poems and other works which are available for reference in the libraries. It will not be possible to mention all the works in an article like this.He delved deep into the study of ancient literature and palm leaf manuscripts. He brought out some of the earliest Malayalam literary works like the poem 'Rama Charitham' and the earliest Malayalam prose 'Dutavakyam'. He edited many portions of the 'Kannassa Ramayanam'. He dominated the literary field of Kerala for over 50 years, a real colossus. Ulloor passed away on 15 June 1949 at the age of 72.The Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department issued a special postage stamp in his honour.

There were several luminaries in the literary field of Kerala. Three poets among them in Malayalam literature could steal the show in the early part of the 20th century. They are Ullur, Vallathol and Kumaranasan, all three being Mahakavis.

                                                           Prof. John Kurakar


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