Mahakavi P. Kunhiraman Nair, an anarchist in life by the conventional standards, turned that external anarchy into creative affluence.

A nomad by habit, he travelled and stayed almost everywhere in Kerala.

His life was a journey into infinity with the full realisation that for such men, journey itself is a destiny.

He reached Kollengode, rich for its culture and the birthplace of many a scholar, including Pandit Gopalan Nair, Vadakkepat Narayanan Nair and astronomist P.R. Pisharady. He stayed at Kollengode and worked as a teacher in Rajas High School.

This was in the early Sixties. During Mahakavi P.'s stay there for less than a decade, he wrote a few outstanding works, including Thamarathoni, which won the Kendra Sahitya Academy award. Then, as usual he left the place.

This year is the centenary of his birth and the 25th year of the Mahakavi P. Smaraka Art and Culture Centre in Kollengode.

P.'s closest friend and poet and writer Eyamkode Sreedharan realised the dream of a memorial building for the poet.

His highness Venugopala Varma, the then Raja of Kollengode, who was also a poet and scholar gave the land for the building on the margin of the Kollengode-Nemmara Road.

Within two years of the death of the poet in Thiruvanathapuram in 1980, his memorial was dedicated to the natives of Kollengode, many of whom were his disciples and admirers.

In 1981, the then Cultural Minister T.K. Ramakrishnan laid the foundation stone for the memorial.

The then Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar inaugurated the memorial building on October 22, 1981.

As a coincidence, this is the birth centenary of the poet and the 25th anniversary of the P. Arts and Culture Centre, which has become a centre for community interaction where people drawn from various walks of life interact in memory of the great poets of Malayalam.

Research students regularly visit the centre for reference notes. Later, it was upgraded into the taluk reference library of Chittur.

Cultural centre in crisis

In spite of its prominent place, the centre is facing financial crisis due to delays in administrative procedures to secure financial aid from the Government.

The library does not have the facility to keep the large number of books received from well-wishers. Though a request has been given to the district panchayat to improve the facilities, nothing has materialised so far.

Mr. Sreedharan said centenary celebrations are being held almost everywhere in Kerala. The P. Smaraka Samithy in Kanhangad, where he was born, of which Dr. Sukumar Azhikode is the chairman, has drawn up extensive programmes.

The Kollengode Centre has already conducted various programmes. The one-year celebration would conclude in October.