Chemmanam Chacko dead

Poet Chemmanam Chacko, 92, died at his residence at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, here around 11.30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Family members said he was ailing for long and his condition worsened on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

The body will be shifted to the mortuary at the Ernakulam Medical Centre. A decision on the funeral will be taken later, they said.

Born into an agrarian family, Mr. Chacko, son of priest Yohannan Kathanar and Sara at Mulakulam village, near Vaikom, in Kottayam district, was a self-made poet.

In an interview given to The Hindu sometime ago, he had called himself as one belonging to a family of farmers. There was no one who wrote in his family, he had recalled. Being the sixth among the seven siblings, he was expected to help out with work on the farms. He, however, used books as a ruse to bunk work in the farm. A voracious reader, he had to travel across long stretch of paddy fields to go to his middle school at Piravom. The freedom struggle was raging and Chacko was drawn to it.

His first published poem titled Pravachanam was naturally inspired by the freedom struggle. In 1947, he brought out a book titled Vilambaram, following which there was a break from penning poetry.

He taught Malayalam at schools and colleges for some time before joining the Lexicon Department at Kerala University and then the Publication Department. He retired as the director of the department in 1986.

In 1967, he wrote Nellu which cemented his place as a satirist among Malayalam poets. “There was a great famine in this State. In contrast, people were warming up towards cash crops like rubber, with active support from the government. That was how we started to rely on government rations of wheat and macaroni, made out of tapioca. That was the background for this poem,” he had told the newspaper in an interview in 2003. A translation of this poems, made by K. Ayyappa Panicker, appeared in the Oxford Collection of Indian Poetry.

He had won several honours, including those by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Sanjayan Award, and P. Smaraka Puraskaram.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 10:28:50 PM |

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