Kozhikode: Minister for Culture M.A. Baby presented the Muttathu Varkey Literary Award instituted by the Muttathu Varkey Foundation to short story writer T. Padmanabhan at a function here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, he said Padmanabhan was one of the foremost contemporary Malayalam writers who inspired several generations of readers. His works established the relationship between the creator and the created, Mr. Baby said.
Declaring that he was proud to present the award to a great storyteller of the modern age, the Minister said the name of Padmanabhan could also be included in the list of great Malayalam poets. His writings are poetic and music to the ears. Some of the titles of his stories have a strange association with the ragas and composition of great masters like Thayaraja. `Nalinakanthi' and `Chitraranjini' are some of the titles of his stories.
However, a few critics asked why the title Chitranjini was given for a short story? Because like the musical composition of the celebrated composer, the story can never be recreated, Mr. Baby said.
Mr. Baby said he liked Padmanabhan's story `Nithichalasukhama,' which narrates the account of Ramanathan who was born in Thanjavur but was unable to study music. Knowingly or unknowingly, the writer had symbolised the story with that of the Theory of Alienation by Karl Marx, he said.
He said many people criticised Padmanabhan without going through his works. Some said his story `Puzhakadannu Marangalkkedayelleku' was a translation of Ernest Hemingway's story `Across the River and Into the Trees.' But those who made that remark did not know that the story dealt with Hemingway himself, Mr. Baby said.
The Minister also said that Muttathu Varkey was one of the writers he used to read outside the syllabus during his days. Many had then and even now described Varkey as a pulp fiction writer. But it was Muttathu Varkey who popularised Malayalam novel. His contribution to inspire neo-literates to read literature should be appreciated, Mr. Baby said.
Mr. Baby also presented the short story award for college students to Surya Gopi, a student of Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode.
Writer and filmmaker Sreekumaran Thampi presided over the function. K.V. Thomas delivered the Muttathu Varkey Memorial Lecture. Padmanabhan and Surya Gopi spoke. Critic M.M. Basheer and Muttathu Varkey Foundation managing trustee T.M. Sebastain spoke.