Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu-born writer wins Sahitya Akademi Award for Malayalam work

When Malayalam magazine Kalakamudhi decided to bring out a special cover on DMK leader and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi after his death, it roped in S. Ramesan Nair, a writer well-versed in both Malayalam and Tamil.

“Besides writing a couple of poems, I also produced two chapters of Kalaignar’s (Karunanidhi’s) Nenjukku Needhi, translated by me, and the issue was received well,” said the Tamil Nadu-born writer, who has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2018 for his poetry collection Guru Pournami, capturing the essence of Narayana Guru’s philosophy.

He is the third writer of Tamil Nadu origin but settled in Kerala to win the Sahitya Akademi Award. The other two are Neela Padmanabhan and A. Madhavan, who won the award for Tamil literature. Both Mr. Padmanabhan and Mr. Nair are from Kanniyakumari district.

Mr. Nair, a famous lyricist who has penned songs for 170 films and 3,000 devotional songs, rendered by famous singers like K.J. Yesudas, was born in Kumarapuram near Padmanabhapuram in Kanniyakumari district. He studied PUC and B.A. at S.T. Hindu College, Nagercoil. His first poem was published when he was 12.

“I always wanted to study Malayalam and become a poet, but my father did not have the wherewithal to send me to Thiruvananthapuram for higher studies. After completing my undergraduate degree in Economics, I joined the Catholicate College in Pathanamthitta in 1970 and came first in the university examinations,” recalled Mr. Nair, who has translated Silappatikaram and Tirukkural into English.

“When the DMK was in power, Kalaignar felicitated me at a function in 2000,” he said.

Current projects

He is currently translating Kamba Ramayanam into Malayalam and has already completed 20% of translation work on Balakanda. “When it comes to poetic beauty, Ramayanam in other languages cannot match Kamban’s work,” he said.

Mr. Nair worked for the All India Radio for 20 years. But his drama Sathaabhishekam, parodying Congress leader Karunakaran and his son, led to his transfer.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 10:11:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-born-writer-wins-sahitya-akademi-award-for-malayalam-work/article25693691.ece

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