C.M. Neelakandan Namboothiripad, a self-made man who excelled in many fields including handicrafts, drama and music, died at a hospital at Perinthalmanna near here on Thursday. His birth centenary was to be celebrated on January 21 at his home village Pulamanthol.
Namboothiripad was active as an artisan till a couple of years ago. His artisanship won him many laurels, including a national award from former President Shankar Dayal Sharma. Namboothiripad is survived by wife, Priyadatha Andharjanam, and a daughter. His two sons had died long ago.
Pulamanthol, a village on the Perinthalmanna-Pattambi route, was preparing to celebrate Namboothiripad's centenary in a big way. Local people said his 83-year-old married life with Priyadatha was a record of sorts.
Namboothiripad specialised in handicrafts using coconut shells. His carvings on shells gave shape to a vast variety of curios including flower vases and chess boards.
He was known for his experimentations in drama. He made various musical instruments, including the ones for Kathakali. He never went to school, but he learned many skills, including photography, automobile mechanism and carving, on his own. There was hardly any skill that he did not master. The violins he made of mahogany and jackfruit trees had captured news headlines decades ago.
A blaze which gutted his house at Pulamanthol in 1980s had destroyed almost everything he made, including musical instruments and photographs.
He was cremated at his home, Chevoor Mana, Pulamanthol. People from different walks of life, including MLAs V. Sasikumar and C.P. Mohammed, paid him tributes.