Tamil writer A. Madhavan, who won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2015, died in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. He was 87 and is survived by two daughters.
Though he spent his entire life in Thiruvananthapuram and studied Malayalam in school, Mr. Madhavan came under the influence of the Dravidian movement and his stories were published in the Pongal special issues of magazines run by leaders of the movement.
“In those days, senior leaders including Anna, Kalaignar, Kannadasan and Nedunchezhian wrote in Murasoli . My name also figured without fail,” he had said in an interview.
Mr. Madhavan was attracted to social reformist ideas of the Dravidian movement. He told The Hindu on the occasion of winning the award that he would have joined politics if he were in Tamil Nadu. He was a voracious reader even though he had to quit school because of his family’s financial condition and was forced to work in a shop.
“It was the last phase of Second World War. After collecting hot ‘katti choru’ (rice packets) from a temple in Valiya Salai, I would rush to school. By the time the first period would have been over. My class teacher Viswanatha Iyer would ask jocularly and with concern about the number of ‘kattis’ I had received,” Mr. Madhavan had recalled his school days in his interview to writer Jeyamohan. His literary career began as a translator. He translated works of great writers across the world and in India. “My translations were enough to publish a volume,” he had said.
Mr. Madhavan ran a small shop, Selvi Stores, in Salai in Thiruvananthapuram and the life incidents played out on the street found expression in his writings.
“Few writers have captured the darker side of human beings as Madhavan did. He would shock his readers with the portrayal of lust, lying in the subconscious mind of humans,” said Vasanthakumar of Tamizhini , who had published the works of Madhavan.
Krishnaparundu , his masterpiece, would tell the reader that “lust” was the motive behind rendering help to a woman.
He translated Malayalam writer P.K. Balakrishnan’s Ini Njan Urangatte , the story of Karna through the eyes of Draupadi, in Tamil as Ini Naan Urankattum and was published by the Sahitya Akademi. The Sahitya Akademi conferred the award for his collected prose writings Ilakkiya Chuvadukal.
His novel Punalum Manalum was translated into English as On A River’s Bank.