Vallathol Narayana Menon
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
|Vallathol Narayana Menon|
|Born||16 October 1878
Chenara, Malappuram, Kerala
|Died||13 March 1958|
Vallathol Narayana Menon (1878–1958), popularly known as Mahakavi, was a poet in the Malayalam language, which is spoken in the south Indian state of Kerala. K. M. George has noted that, together with Kumaran Asan, Menon was "responsible for bringing about a revolutionary change in Malayalam poetry in the [nineteen]-twenties. Asan concentrated on social themes and Vallathol championed the national movement; yet both made very significant contributions to the khandkavya, ie: the short poem of the lyrical type."
Menon is the author of Sahithya Manjari. He received the title Mahakavi for his Mahakaavyam "Chitrayogam". He played a prominent role in setting up the Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy, near the banks of Bharathapuzha River. Later this place was renamed Vallathol Nagar. He raised Kathakali as an art form to the level it is at today. He wrote dozens of kavya.
He wrote in a variety of forms, using both Sanskrit and Dravidian meters. He did not know English. Vallathol's many works include the mahakavya (a form of epic poem), "Chitrayogam" (1914), and the narrative poems "Magdalena Mariyam" (Mary Magdalene, 1921) and "Kochu" Sita (1928), as well as 11 volumes containing his collected romantic poems entitled Sahityamanjari. In addition to subjects from nature and the lives of ordinary people, Vallathol's opposition to the indignities of the caste system and the injustices suffered by the poor form the themes of many of his poems. His own struggle with deafness from his early twenties also features in some works. Vallathol's poetry has been translated into English and Russian as well as Hindi.
In addition to his poetry, Vallathol also translated the Sanskrit Rig Veda and Valmiki's Ramayana into Malayalam verse, as well as producing a prose translation of the Puranas. He was awarded the prestigious honour of Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1955.
Involvement in Nationalist movement
Menon actively participated in the Nationalist movement. He attended the all India Conferences of the Indian Congress in 1922 and 1927 and rejected a royal honour bestowed upon him by the Prince of Wales during his India visit in 1922. Menon remained a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and wrote the poem "ente Gurunathan" ("My Great Teacher") in his praise. He wrote several patriotic poems hailing India's nationalist movement.
- Zarrilli, Phillip (2004). Kathakali Dance-Drama: Where Gods and Demons Come to Play. Routledge. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9780203197660.
- George, K. M. (1972). Western Influence On Malayalam Language And Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 75. ISBN 9788126004133.