Unnikrishnan Puthur dead

Writer Unnikrishnan Puthur died at a private hospital in Chavakkad on Wednesday. He was 81.

If Kovilan was the chronicler of the tales of Kandanassery and Nanthanar of Thirumandhankunnu, Puthur portrayed the people in and around Guruvayur and their lives.

Nazhikamani records the rituals and life around Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple, near which he worked for 32 years. Balikkallu , which won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award, too emerged from this experience.

Aattukattil documents the growth and break-up of the Nair ‘tharavad’ in the feudal era. Panchara Mavu Veenu, Bhagam, Ozhivudinam, Gopuravelicham, Eeeranmundum Nananja Kannukalum, Nakshatrakunju, Pavakkalyanam , and Kadinjool Prasanam too are set in the matrilineal Nair milieu.

Puthur writes about the complexities of life in a simple style. There are echoes of Kesavadev and Ponkunnam Varkey in his writings.

Puthur has written about 700 short stories. He has published 29 collections of short stories, 15 novels, a collection of poems and autobiographical writings, among others. “For me, death means a life without writings. The day I cannot write, I am no more. Writing is my identity,” he once said.

His works include Jalasamadhi, Dharmachakram, Gajarajan Guruvayur Kesavan, Puthoorinte Kathakal, Thallaviral, Akashavani, Kuttasammatam, Atmaviboothi, Aanappaka, Amruthamadhanam, Karayunna Kalpadukal, Nashtapetta Ponnonam, Kamsan, Dylan Thomasinte Ganam, Sundari Cheriamma , and Kalpakapoomazha (collection of poems).

He is a recipient of the G. Memorial Award ( Nazhikamani ), and the Guruvayoorappan Trust Odakuzhal Award ( Anubhavangal Ner Reghakal ).

Born on July 15, 1933, as the son of Chulliparambil Sankunni Nair and Puthur Janaki Amma, Unnikrishnan Puthur studied at the Chavakkad Board School and Government Victoria College, Palakkad.

He was a trade union leader and a socialist. He worked as a journalist for a few years. He retired as head of the establishment wing of the Guruvayur Devaswom Library.

He was president of the Sahitya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society, member of the executive committee of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and the general council of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, and founder-member of the editorial committee of Bhakthapriya magazine.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

The body will be cremated on Thursday at 12 noon on the premises of his residence at Guruvayur.