Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai

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Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai
Born (1904-11-08)November 8, 1904
Died March 4, 1973(1973-03-04) (aged 68)
Occupation Historian
Nationality indian

Elamkulam Pillai (8 November 1904 – 4 March 1973) was a historian and scholar from Kerala, India, who through his works enriched the field of historical research of Kerala[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Elamkulam village near Kalluvathukkal in Kollam district, Pillai was born in a Vellalla Chetty family which was given the status of Nair under the reign of King Ayilyam Thirunal of Travancore. He had his school education at Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. After taking his Honours degree in Sanskrit language from Annamalai University, he started his career as a school teacher and later became lecturer in Malayalam at Govt. Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram. Pillai retired as the Head of the Department of Malayalam, University College, Trivandrum.

From language and literature his interests turned first to the history of languages and culture and then to social history. To help his research he mastered Tamil, Kannada, Tulu, and Paali languages and associated himself for some time with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the excavation works at Harappa, Chandravally, and Brahmagiri. He published his research findings only in his later years but they were received eagerly by the general public as well as by the academic community probably because the historical writing on Kerala until then was rather a jumble of hearsays and subjective accounts lacking any academic methodology. Pillai added a new dimension to historiography in Kerala. This is in contrast with the considered view of earlier scholars of Kerala as a well-defined entity in itself in matters of religion, society, language, creed, and race.[2]

He published more than 20 books including one in Tamil and two in English. Though some of his theories regarding early Kerala history have been challenged by later researchers in the light of new evidence, his place as a pioneer in the field who approached the study of history as a social science is indisputable.[3][4][5][6] He died on March 4, 1973.

Kanjiracode Sree Padamangalathu Valiaveettil Bhargavi Amma was his wife. The couple had five children.

Selected works[edit]

In Malayalam[edit]

  • Unnuneeli sandesam
  • Koka sandesam
  • Leelathlakam
  • Chandrolsavam
  • Unnuneeli sandesam Charithradrishtiyilkoodi
  • Nalachritham Attakkatha
  • Gandhidevan
  • Keralabhashayude Vikasaparinamangal
  • Bhashayum Sahityavum Noottandukalil
  • Sahityamalika
  • Sahityacharithrasamgraham
  • Keralacharithrathile Iruldanja Edukal
  • Annathe Keralam
  • Chila Kerala Charithra Prasnangal (Part I, II, & III)
  • Janmi samprdayam Keralathil
  • Keralam Anchum Arum Noottandukalil
  • Cherasamrajyam Ompathum Pathum Noottandukalil
  • Samskarathinte Nazhikakkallukal

In English[edit]

  • Studies in Kerala History
  • Some Problems in Kerala History

In Tamil[edit]

  • Pandai Keralam


  1. ^ Official Website of Kerala Government - Kollam
  2. ^ Kerala State Gazetteer
  3. ^ Menon, A. Sreedhara (2001). Elamkulam Pillai. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 81-260-1080-0. ISBN 9788126010806. 
  4. ^ Elamkulavum Kerala Charithravum, T.H.P. Chentharassery, Prabhath Book House, Trivandrum
  5. ^ Elamkulam Smaranika (2003), Elamkulam Pillai Smaraka Trust, Kalluvathukkal
  6. ^ Grandhalokam Monthly (February 2005), Kerala State Library Council, Trivandrum