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‘Aathmayananagalude Khasak' completes 25 years

‘K hasakinte Ithihasam' virtually set off a literary revolution. It cleaved Malayalam literature into pre-Khasak and post-Khasak phases. O. V. Vijayan's masterpiece, first published in 1969, became a rage, a trend-setter and more importantly a huge inspiration for aspiring young writers.

M. K. Harikumar, writer-critic-columnist, was in school when this classic came out. He read it and like most of his generation fell to its magic, its blend of romanticism, fantasy and spiritualism. It grew on him. And by the time he reached college Harikumar had begun planning a work on this novel.

“After working on it for many years I finally finished it when I was doing my MA. That was in 1984.The work, my first, ‘Aathmayanangalude Khasak,' was aimed to be a study of the novel. And the first one in Malayalam on this work,” says Harikumar.

Harikumar's work completes 25 years this month. “Those were times when I was free from any sort of influence, either principles or thoughts. My language, my writing was best guided by my natural instincts.” The best comment Harikumar got for his work was from Vijayan himself. “Vijayan saw an advertisement of the book and ordered a copy from National Book Stall. He read it and in a letter he wrote to me he said that the work made him humble. He frankly told me that he did not approve of my language, which was ‘ecstatic'. But those comments were enough for a writer who had just begun.”

The complete online edition of Harikumar's work was released recently. This work, which goes into its fourth edition this year, gets the honour of being the first Malayalam work with its full text online. In fact, this work has many other ‘firsts' to its credit. It is the first critical study of a Malayalam novel, the first one on O. V. Vijayan, the first work after which an award has been named, this is Harikumar's first published work and incidentally ‘Khasak…' is Vijayan's first novel.

“I think being able to give an award in the name of the book for the last 15 years has been some achievement. The ‘Aathmayanangalude Khasak Award' for the Latest Trends in Malayalam Literature is basically for those unrecognised talents.”

K. PRADEEP

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