Edasseri Govindan Nair

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Edasseri Govindan Nair
Born(1906-12-23)23 December 1906
Kuttipuram, Malappuram district, Kerala, India
Died16 October 1974(1974-10-16) (aged 67)
Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Pen nameEdasseri
OccupationPoet, playwright
GenrePoetry, Plays
Notable awards
SpouseJanaki Amma
RelativesP. Krishna Kurup (father)
Kunjukutti Amma (mother)

Edasseri Govindan Nair (Malayalam: ഇടശ്ശേരി ഗോവിന്ദൻ നായർ; 23 December 1906 – 16 October 1974) was an Indian poet and playwright of Malayalam literature. Known as one of the major poets of Malayalam, Edasseri was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry. He was also a recipient of Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram, which was awarded posthumously.

Life and career[edit]

I too had a mother

When a King bought me, a slave,
She was given a price, a few coins
She tied them to my apron-strings
And left bare-handed
I bought a blanket, later
To protect her from cold
Alas! When I came with the gift at last
She had gone for eternal rest
Under the cover of a thick earthen blanket.

Excerpts from King Bimbisaran's Shepherd, translated by M. Leelavathi

Edasseri Govindan Nair was born on December 23, 1906 at Kuttippuram, in Malapuram district in the south Indian state of Kerala to P. Krishna Kurup and Edasseri Kunjukutti Amma in a family with poor financial means.[1][note 1] He did not have much formal education due to the death of his father in 1921 when he was only 15 years old and started his career early as an assistant to a relative, who worked in Alappuzha. However, he compensated for the lack of formal education with hard work with voracious reading, learning Sanskrit and English on his own taking help from his friends, constantly engaging in debates on literature, criticism, science, astronomy and even astrology. He spent 7 years in Alleppey before moving to Kozhikode. In early 1930, he moved to Ponani. It was during this time that he married Janaki Amma, the wedding taking pace in 1938. He continued with his learning, debates and discussions in Ponani also. [2]

Edasseri was associated with various literary and cultural forums.[2] He sat in the general council of Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi and Samastha Kerala Sahitya Parishad and was a member of the board of directors of the Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangham. He presided Kerala Sahithya Samithi and Kendra Kala Samithi during various periods and was instrumental in founding a local library, Krishna Panikkar Vayana Sala.[2]

Edasseri's works include 19 books and over 300 poems in 10 anthologies, 6 books of plays and a collection of essays.[3] He was among the poets who changed the romantic traits of Malayalam poetry to realism.[4] His narrative style, as shown in his poems such as Poothapattu, Panimudakkam, Kalyana Pudava, Karutha Chettichikal and Kavile Pattu, was reported to reflect strong humanism.[5]

Govindan Nair - Janaki Amma couple had eleven children, though only eight survived infancy. He died on October 16, 1974, at the age of 67.[2]


Edasseri received two awards from the Government of Tamil Nadu (the known as Government of Madras), the first one for his play, Koottukrishi and the other, for his poem anthology, Puthan Kalavum Arivalum.[2] He received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1969 for the poem anthology Oru Pidi Nellikka[6] and a year later, Sahitya Akademi awarded him their annual award for 1069 for Kavile Pattu, another of his anthology.[5][7][8] He was awarded Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram posthumously in 1979, five years after his death, for the anthology, Anthithiri.[2]

Literary works[edit]

Poem anthologies[edit]

  • Alakavali (Ornations) -1940[9]
  • Puthankalavum Arivalum Poothappattum (New Pot and Sickle) - 1951[10]
  • Laghu Ganangal (Simple Songs) - 1954[11]
  • Karutha Chettichikal (Dark Nomad Women) - 1955[12]
  • Thathwa Shastrangal Urangumbol (As Philosophies Sleep) -1961
  • Kavile Pattu (Song of the Grove) - 1966[13]
  • Oru Pidi Nellikka (A handful of Gooseberries) - 1968
  • Thrivikramannu Munnil (In front of Thrivikrama) - 1971[14]
  • Kunkuma Prabhatham (The Vermilion Dawn) - 1975[15]
  • Anthithiri (Ritual Wick of Dusk) – 1977[16]
  • Edasseriyude Sampoorna Kavithakal (Complete Poetic Works of Edasseri) - 1988[17]
  • Malayalathinte Priya Kavithakal (Endearing poems of Malayalam) - 2013.


  • Noolamala (The Entanglement) -1947
  • Koottu Krishi (Co-operative Faming) - 1950[18]
  • Kaliyum Chiriyum (Fun and Laughter) - One-act plays- 1954
  • Ennichutta Appam ( Limited Means) - One-act plays- 1957
  • Chaliyathi (The Weaver Woman) - One-act plays- 1960
  • Njediyil Padaratha Mulla (Jasmine Vine that does not climb the prop) - 1964
  • Jarasandhante Puthri (Daughter of Jarasandhan) - Radio Play- 1970s
  • Khatolkachan 1970s
  • Edasseriyude Naadakangal - 2001[19]

Other books[edit]

  • Edasseriyude Prabandhangal;; (Essays of Edasseri) - 1988[20]
  • Edasseriyude Cherukathakal (Short stories of Edasseri) – 2015

Books on Edasseri Govindan Nair[edit]

  • Edasseri - Navabhavukathwathinte Kavi (Literary criticism by Prof. P. Meerakutty)
  • Edasseri Govindan Nair (book in English on the poet by M. Leelavathi)
  • Edasseriyude Kavyalokam (book on Edasseri poems by K. P. Saraschandran)[21]
  • Itha Oru Kavi (essays on Edasseri by eminent writers)[22]
  • Edasserikkavitha - Shilpavicharam by K. P. Mohanan[23][note 2]
  • Edasserikkavitha - a collection of essays by various writers compiled by Kavadayar Ramachandran[24]
  • Edasseri Ninavil Varumpol - (Essays on Edasseri)[25]
  • Edasserikkavitha (Literary criticism by Melath Chandrasekharan)[26]
  • Edasserikavithayile Premeyaghatana (Literary criticism by Chathanath Achuthanunni)[27]


  1. ^ Edasseri was the family name of his mother, obtained through matrilineal succession
  2. ^ The book received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Literary Criticism in 2007


  1. ^ "Biography on Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "A biographical sketch of Edasseri Govindan Nair". www.edasseri.org.
  3. ^ "Edasseri Govindan Nair Biography". PoetrySoup. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  4. ^ K. M. George (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology: Surveys and poems. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 251–. ISBN 978-81-7201-324-0.
  5. ^ a b M. Leelavathy (1998). Edassery Govindan Nair. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-81-260-0496-6.
  6. ^ "Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Edasseri Govindan Nair Veethi". veethi.com. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ "KENDRA SAHITYA ACADEMY AWARDS (MALAYALAM)". web.archive.org. INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATION DEPARTMENT, Government of Kerala. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri. "Alakavali: Kavithakal". S.P.C.S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Puthan Kalavum Arivalum". catalog.uoc.ac.in. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  11. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (1963). "Lagu Ganamgal". S.P.C.S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ Edassery Govindan Nair (1955). Karutha Chettichikal. Poorna Publications. ISBN 978-8171804061.
  13. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (2003). "Kavile Pattu". Poorna. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  14. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (1971). "Threevikramanu Munpil". S.P.C.S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  15. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (1975). "Kunguma Prabhatham". S. P. C. S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  16. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri. "Anthitthiri: kavithakal". S.P.C.S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  17. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (2007). "Edasseri kavithakal: sampoorna samaharam". Mathrubhoomi Books. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  18. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (1967). "Koottu krishi". Current Books. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  19. ^ Govindan Nair, Edasseri (2001). "Edasseriyude naadakangal". Current Books. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  20. ^ Gopalakrishnan K (1988). "Edasseriyude Prabandangal". Kozhikode mathrubhumi Printing & Pub. Comp. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  21. ^ Sharachandran, K. P. (1988). "Edasseriyude kavya lokam". S.P.C.S. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Itha oru kavi". Edasseri Publications, Kochi. 1996. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  23. ^ Mohanan, K. P. (2014). "Edasseri kavitha: silpa vicharam". Sahitya Pravarthaka Co-operative Society. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  24. ^ Ramachandran Kavadiyar (2004). "Edasseri kavitha". State Institute of Languages. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  25. ^ Edassery smaraka samithy, ed. (2006). "Edasseri ninavil varumpol". Mathrubhumi Books. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Edasserikkavitha". catalog.uoc.ac.in. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  27. ^ Achuthanunni, Chathanath (2015). "Edasserikavithayile premeyaghatana". Vallathol Vidhyapeedam. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

External links[edit]