P. Kunhiraman Nair

(4 October 1905 – 27 May 1978 / Bellikoth, Kanhangad, Kerala, India)

Biography of P. Kunhiraman Nair

P. Kunhiraman Nair poet

P. Kunhiraman Nair, also known as Mahakavi P, was a renowned Malayalam poet whose works romanticised the natural beauty of his home state of Kerala in southern India and juxtaposed it with the hard realities of his life and times.

Born in Bellikoth near Kanhangad of North Malabar, P., as he is known (simply by his initial), led a Bohemian lifestyle, wandering across Kerala, living in several places, meeting their people and making them part of his life and literature. He worked as a school teacher, having taught at Koodali near Kannur and Kollengode in Palakkad district.

Poetry formed his main genre of work (it isn't exactly known how many poems he penned during his half-a-century career as many are irretrievably lost), though he has also penned stories, articles and a few plays. His autobiography, 'Kaviyude Kaalpaadukal' (The Footmarks of a Poet), is one of the celebrated works in prose in Malayalam.

The central Kerala belt of Valluvanad, known for its scenic charm and cultural vibrancy, worked as a major source of inspiration for the poet, who lived there for long—partly as a family man. His works are also dotted with metaphors from Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of his region.

Kunhiraman Nair was an award winner of both the Kerala Sahithya Akademi and the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award.

Mahakavi P.Kunhiraman Nair began to write poems from his very early age of twelve years and continued till his last breath. His autobiography, Kaviyude Kalpadulal (foot prints of a poet) is quite different from other autobiographies and sweet as his poetries. He worshipped nature and traveled extensively. He is a poet who forgot to live amidst his unending journey in quest of nature and poems. He is loved by many and known as a devotional poet. Devotion, natural beauty of Kerala, temples, deities, stories of epics, rituals and customs are resembled in his poetry.

Also proficient in Sanskrit, Kunhiraman Nair initially worked at a printing press in Thrissur for a few years. Later, he published a newspaper from Kannur, before taking to teaching job and gaining name as 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among children. He retired from service in 1961. A sudden bout of illness claimed his life on May 27, 1978, when the poet was staying in a rest house in Thiruvananthapuram. He was aged 72 at the time of his death.

P. Kunhiraman Nair's Works:

Poetry
Kaliyachhan (Oriental Dance teacher, 1954)
Onassadya (Onam Feast, 1960)
Pookkalam (spring, 1964)
Thaamarathoni (Lotus Boat, 1966)
Vasantholsavam (Spring Festival, 1972)
Chilamboli (Tinkling of the Anklet Bells, 1974)
Ratholsavam (Chariot Festival - 2 volumes, 1978)
Thamarathen ( Honey of the Lotus, 1983)

Stories
Indira
Chaaithraraksha
Nirmala
Ramabai
Veerapratinha

Plays
Rangamandapam (Stage Canopy, 1956)
Upaasana (Worship, 1958)
Swapnasanchari
Poonilaavu
Chandramandalam

Essays
Vichaaravibhaatam
Satyaraksha

Autobiography
Kaviyude kalpadukal(Footprints of poet)
Ennethirayunna njan(I searching myself)
Nithyakanyakaye thedi (Searching for nityakanyaka)

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