Sugathakumari, renowned Malayalam poet and social activist, passes away

Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari. Photo: Special arrangement  

Poet and social activist Sugathakumari passed away in Thiruvananthapuram on December 23 morning following COVID-19-related health complications. She was 86. She was admitted to the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram earlier this week after her health deteriorated.

In a literary career spanning close to seven decades, she used poetry as a tool to express her concerns on environment and oppression of women. She was at the forefront of some of the major environmental protests witnessed in the State in the past half-century, right from the Save Silent Valley Movement of the 1970s to the protests against the Aranmula airport in the 2000s.


In 1992, she set up Abhaya, a home for destitute women, which became a shelter for many a victim of abuse and oppression. In 1996, the government chose her to be the first chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission.

In 2018, when she had cut down on public functions owing to her deteriorating health, she took part in a protest in solidarity with the nuns who were protesting against a rape-accused Bishop.

Amid all her activism, she continued to pen lines which fetched her accolades from all around. She won her first Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Pathirapookkal’. ‘Rathrimazha’, one of her most popular works, won her the Kendra Sahitya Akademy Award.


Muthuchippi (Pearl Oyster), Paavam Maanavahridayam (Poor Human Heart), Irul Chirakukal (Wings of Darkness), Thulaavarshappacha (Green Monsoon), and Radha Evide (Where is Radha) are some of her other noted works. She has been conferred with almost all the major literary awards including the Odkakuzhal award, Vayalar award, Asan prize, Ezuthachan award and the ONV literary award. In 2006, she was honoured with Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 12:54:06 PM |

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