George Varghese Kakkanadan, novelist, who passed away on Wednesday morning, was laid to rest with full State honours at 4.15 p.m. on Thursday in the presence of friends, relatives, and a huge crowd of his admirers.
The burial was held in the Polayathodu public crematorium complex after the plan to conduct the ceremony in the adjacent cemetery of the Mar Thoma parish church was changed on a suggestion made by Cultural Affairs Minister K.C. Joseph with the intention of building a memorial.
Mr. Joseph told presspersons that the memorial would be constructed in consultation with the Kerala Sahitya Akademi.
Earlier, the religious rituals were held at the cemetery chapel of the church, led by Johnson Varghese, parish priest. Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, was present.
Earlier in the day, Mr. K.C. Joseph, accompanied by Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, arrived at Kakkanadan's house to pay their last respects and console the family members. Babu Kuzhimattam and George Onakoor, writers, and Rosemary, poet, were among those who paid homage. By 1 p.m., the body was taken to C. Kesavan Memorial Town Hall, where it was kept till 3 p.m. Later, the body was brought in solemn procession to the chapel.
N. Peethamabara Kurup, MP; C. Divakaran and A.A. Azeez, MLAs; the Communist Marxist Party leader C.P. John; the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vayakkal Madhu; and Ravi Deecee from DC Books were among those who paid their last respects at the cemetery. The 76-year-old Kakkanadan was born on April 23, 1935 to George Kakkanadan and Rosamma in Thiruvalla.
The elder Kakkanadan, a revolutionary, had left the Catholic Church and joined the Mar Thoma Church to work as a missionary. It was he who introduced his son to the world of books. Even books on Communism, which were a taboo to missionaries, were provided.
Kakkanadan graduated in chemistry from S.N. College here in 1955 and took up teaching at two private schools. In 1957, he joined Southern Railway in Chennai and in 1961, got a posting in the Union Ministry of Railways in Delhi. In 1967, he went to Germany on a fellowship and returned in 1968 to settle down in Kollam.