Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri wins 55th Jnanpith award

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Akkitham works reflect deep compassion, bridge tradition and modernity.

Malayalam poet Akkitham

Thiruvananthapuram: Akkitham Achuthan Nampoothiri, 93, who handheld Malayalam poetry to modernism in the fifties and sixties, has bagged this year’s Jnanpith Award, the highest literary prize in India given in recognition of outstanding contribution towards literature. The award was announced in New Delhi on Friday after a meeting of the Jnanpith selection board chaired by novelist Pratibha Ray.

Akkitham is the sixth Malayalam writer to bag the honour after G. Sankara Kurup, S.K. Pottekkat, Thakazhi Sivasan-kara Pillai, M.T. Vasudevan Nair and O.N.V Kurup.

Born in 1926, Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, popularly known as Akkitham, has displayed unfathomable compassion and displayed imprints of Indian philosophical and moral values in his works which functioned as a bridge between tradition and modernity. His works include poems, dramas, critical essays, children’s literature, short stories and translation that delve deep into human emotions in a fast-changing social space.

Akkitham has authored 55 books out of which 45 are collections of poems. The most celebrated of his poems are Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam and Idiunjupolinja Lok-am. His other works include Veeravadam, Balidarsanam, Nimisha Kshethram, Amrita Khatika, Akkitham Kavithakal, Epic of Twentieth Cent-ury and Antimahakalam.

A Padamshree recipient, Akkitham was awarded the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literary honour instituted by the government of Kerala.

He is the recipient of many other awards including Sahitya Akademi Award, Moortidevi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (twice), Mathrubhumi Award, Vayalar Award and, Kabir Samman. His works have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages.

The members of the selection board were Madhav Kaushik, Shamim Hanfi, Harish Trivedi, Suranjan Das, Purushothama Bilimale, Chandrakant Patil, Dr. S. Mani Valan, Prabha Varma, Asghar Wajahat and  Madhusudan Anand.