Young author finds his feet in the literary world

R Abilash, winner of this year's Sahitya Akademi's Yuva Puraskar award.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

Winner of this year’s Sahitya Akademi’s Yuva Puraskar, R. Abilash, says initially, he had no plans to project Madhukshara, a physically-challenged girl, as the protagonist of his award-winning novel  Kalkal (legs).

He had narrated the story through the eyes of Karthik, her boyfriend, he says.

“Only after completing 50 pages did I feel impelled to tell the story through Madhu; I then completely rewrote the story,” says the 34-year-old, who is doing his PhD on body image in Tamil modern literature, at University of Madras.

Kalkal poignantly portrays how Madhu was infantilised because of her disability, and her constant struggle to overcome the physical and mental pain. And the novel inevitably has elements of autobiography, as Abilash himself suffered from polio.

“My parents, relatives and friends viewed me sympathetically and sought to protect me all the time. I found it a great challenge to break out of the mould,” he says.

Abilash did BA in English literature from Scott Christian College in Nagercoil, and MA from Madras Christian College in Tambaram.

Political views

Abilash’s passion for literature was fuelled by his association with two diametrically opposed political viewpoints.

He has closely worked with the literary movement associated with the Left parties and also had a personal rapport with writer Jayamohan, who lived then in Padmanabhapuram, Kanyakumari district.

Abilash says the corporeal world-view of a physically-challenged person totally differs from the abstract view of an ordinary person.

“You may just see it as a disability. But a physically-challenged person always feels like he is carrying a 50-kg load on his back. Only another person facing physical challenges can understand it,” says Abilash, whose second novel  Rasikan is about the transformation of a person with serious political and literary outlook in the consumer-driven, flippant, literary world.

Sahitya Akademi’s Bala Sahitya Akademi Award for children’s literature has been given to R. Natarajan, editor of Puthagam Pesuthu

He is the headmaster of Krishnasami Memorial Matriculation School in Cuddallore and he has won the award for his story,  Vingnana Vikramathithyan Kathaigal.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:34:50 AM |

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