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Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari passes away

She was undergoing treatment at a private hospital for COVID-19

sugathakumari Poet Sugathakumari

Eminent poetess and environmental activist Sugathakumari (86) has passed away. Sugathakumari, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital for COVID-19, was shifted to the Medical College Hospital after her condition deteriorated. She reportedly had respiratory and heart problems.

Nature evoked in poetry

At the heart of Sugathakumari's poetry is the warmth of the interaction between nature and man and the pain of that getting lost. It is based on love. Sugathakumari raised her voice whenever human acts towards nature became exploitative. She was at the forefront of the struggle for nature. She fought for Silent Valley, Attappadi and Aranmula as they faced environmental threats. Sugathakumari, who raised her voice against deforestation, also became a mother for the helpless and the destitute. The Abhaya centre she set up offers shelter for homeless women and children.

Early life and career

Sugathakumari was born on January 22, 1934, as the daughter of freedom fighter and writer Bodheshwaran and Prof V.K. Karthiyaniamma, a Sanskrit teacher. She earned a Master's degree in Philosophy. She was the principal of Jawahar Balabhavan, Thiruvananthapuram; editor of Thaliru magazine of the Kerala State Institute of Children's Literature; Chairperson, State Women's Commission; Secretary, Nature Conservation Committee; Vice-President, Navbharatavedi; President, Consumer Protection Society; General Council Member of Sahitya Akademi; and member of the Kerala Film Censor Board. Her husband was the late Dr. K. Velayudhan Nair, a writer and educator. He was the head of the Central Institute of Education (the earlier avatar of the NCERT) in Delhi and the Assistant Director of the state Bhasha Institute. Her daughter is Lakshmi.

Honours all the way

Sugathakumari received numerous accolades for her literary works and community service. She was honoured with Padma Shri in 2006, the Ezhuthachan Award in 2009 and the Saraswati Prize in 2013. She also received the central Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Vayalar Award, Odakuzhal Award, Vallathol Award, Balamaniamma Award, Lalithambika Antarjanam Award, Asan Prize, P Kesavadev Award, KR Chummar Award, ONV Literary Award, Jnanapana Award, Jawaharlal Nehru Award, Archbishop Mar Gregorios Award, Panampilly Pratibha Award, Pandit Karuppan Award, Library Council Award, Thoppil Bhasi Award, and Sthrishakthi Award among others. Sugathakumari received the first 'Vrikshamitra' award from the Central Government. Literary works Her works include Muthuchippi, Pathirappookal (Midnight Flowers), Paavam Maanavahridayam (Poor Human Heart), Pranamam, Irulchirakukal, Raathrimazha (Night Rain), Ambalamani (Temple Bell), Kurinjippookkal (Kurinji Flowers), Thulaavarshappacha (The Monsoon Green), Radhayevide, Krishna Kavidhagal, Megham Vannu Thottappol, Devadasi, Vazhathene, Malamukalil Irikke, Silent Valley (Silent Forest), Vayadikkili and Kadinu Kaval.

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