P. Kunhiraman Nair

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P. Kunhiraman Nair
Drawing of P Kunhiraman Nair
Drawing of P Kunhiraman Nair
Born(1905-10-04)October 4, 1905
Bellikoth, Kanhangad, Kerala, India
DiedMay 27, 1978(1978-05-27) (aged 72)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
OccupationTeacher, Poet

P. Kunhiraman Nair (4 October 1905 – 27 May 1978), 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,[1] 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.[2]

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 Footprints 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, was 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.[3]

Mahakavi P.Kunhiraman Nair began to write poems at the age of twelve and continued to do so for the rest of his life.

He worshipped nature and travelled extensively. He is a poet who forgot to live amidst his unending journey in quest of nature and poems. He is known as a devotional poet. The subjects of his poetry include devotion, the natural beauty of Kerala, temples, deities, stories of epics, rituals and customs.

He studied at Sree Neelakanta Government Sanskrit College Pattambi[citation needed] and with his proficiency in Sanskrit, he initially worked at a printing press in Thrissur for a few years. Later, he published a newspaper from Kannur, before taking a teaching job and gaining the name of 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among children. He retired from service in 1961. He died on May 27, 1978, after a sudden bout of illness while staying in a rest house in Thiruvananthapuram. He was 72 at the time of his death.[4]

Selected works[edit]

Handwrite of P Kunhiraman Nair


  • Kaliyacchan (Oriental Dance teacher, 1954)
  • Onassadya (Onam Feast, 1960)
  • Pookkaalam (Spring, 1964)
  • Thaamarathoniyil (In The 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)
  • Mekalaeyude magal


  • Indira
  • Chaaithraraksha
  • Nirmala
  • Ramabai
  • Veerapratinha


  • Rangamandapam (Stage Canopy, 1956)
  • Upaasana (Worship, 1958)
  • Swapnasanchari (Dream Traveller )
  • Poonilaavu
  • Chandramandalam


  • Vichaaravibhaatam
  • Satyaraksha


  • Kaviyude kalpadukal (Footprints of poet)
  • Ennethirayunna njan (Me searching myself)
  • Nithyakanyakaye thedi (Searching for the ever virgin)


In 2011, plans for the foundation of a memorial museum in Kanhangad were announced. The museum would house articles and the complete works of Kunhiraman Nair.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

Ivan Megharoopan, is a 2012 Malayalam biographical film, written and directed by P. Balachandran and Prakash Bare on the lead role, is based on the life of poet and is particularly based on his autobiography, Kaviyude Kalpadukal.[6] Also Kaliyachan, 2013 Malayalam film is based on his celebrated 1959 poem Kaliyachan with Manoj K. Jayan as lead.<[7][8]


  1. ^ MEN OF LETTERS from Kasaragod
  2. ^ "Remembering Mahakavi P." The Hindu. 10 June 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  3. ^ Awards & Fellowships-Akademi Awards Archived 2009-08-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Life sketch given at the start of the poet's autobiography
  5. ^ "Memorial museum for Mahakavi P". The Hindu. November 7, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  6. ^ P. K. Ajith Kumar (2010-11-19). "Poetic venture". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  7. ^ Parvathy Nambidi (24 September 2013). "Kaliyachan: Portrait of an artist". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  8. ^ "Poetic frames". The Hindu. March 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-23.

External links[edit]