It is a year since Kakkanadan, Malayalam’s celebrated modernist writer passed away, yet the rebel in him is remembered as the one with many striking facets.
To novelist Punathil Kunjabdullah, the rebel in Kakkanadan created a Kerala genre in modernist literature. To another writer, Akbar Kakkattil, Kakkanandan had rebellion in him enough to be a rage on campuses. Whereas to former Minister Benoy Viswom, Kakkanadan’s rebellion helped the Communists look within for lost idealism.
Inaugurating a literary seminar at the Kadapakada Sports Club here on the occasion of the late writer’s first death anniversary, Dr. Kunhabdulla said Kakkanadan had the ability to merge all the emotions of the human mind and to turn even dry deserts into lush green valleys. So profound was his creativity and imagery but the new form and touch that he gave to modernist literature and his contributions to literature remained largely unrecognised when he was alive.
Stating that the notion that only award-winning writers were the only gifted ones was entrenched in today’s society, Dr. Kunhabdulla said the situation had degenerated to a level where anyone could get hold of awards. However, just because a writer was not awarded, it did not mean that he was a lesser writer.
Pointing out that he contributed to even some substandard publications only because the work would reach those who read that publication, Dr. Kunhabdulla said a writer’s primary duty was to ensure that his imagery was understood to both a Class five student and an elderly person.
Delivering the presidential address, novelist Akbar Kakkattil reminisced how Kakkanadan was a rage on campuses when the modernist literature genre in Kerala was creating waves. He spoke often of existential angst. The seminar on ‘Kakkanadan and the Modernist genre of Malayalam Literature’ was also attended by family members of the late writer. Kakkanadan Foundation secretary T.N. Gopalakrishnan spoke.
Later in the day, inaugurating a public memorial meeting at the club, former minister Benoy Viswom said Kakkanadan was a ‘relative’ who fought with but still loved the Left, seeing the Communist movement as the symbol of hope till his last breath.
His criticisms of the Left were not of an enemy, but of one concerned over the failure of several initiatives of the Left for the society. He had even tried to create the Left of his dreams in his works, at times warning and censuring unwelcome trends in the movement.
Kakkanadan Foundation chairman M.A. Baby presided over the public meeting, while Kerala Sahithya Akademi president Perumbadavam Sreedharan, Kerala Language Institute Director M. R. Thampan and others spoke. ‘Kakkanadan Parushyathinte Paadavum Padanavum’, a book authored by Kallil Unnikrishnan and published by the KLI was released on the occasion by Mr. Baby.
A play based on Kakkanadan’s ‘Kaliyamardhanam’ was staged by the Theatre Initiative Kerala as well.