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(Memorial Stones)
AuthorPunathil Kunjabdulla
Original titleസ്മാരകശിലകൾ
TranslatorElzy Tharamangalam
IllustratorArtist Namboothiri
Cover artistZainul Abid
PublisherDC Books
Publication date
March 1977 (1977-03)
Published in English
Media typePrint
Awards1978: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award
1980: Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award

Smarakasilaka is a Malayalam novel written by Punathil Kunjabdulla in 1977. The story of the novel is woven around a mosque and its surroundings. The key figure is Khan Bahadur Pookkoya Thangal of the rich Arakkal family whose character is a rare mixture of dignity, benevolence and insatiable lust.

Smarakasilakal is widely regarded as the author's masterpiece. Punathil said in an interview that it is his only novel and everything else that he has written subsequently is a repetition of it with some changes.[1] The novel won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978 and Sahitya Akademi Award in 1980. As of February 2013, more than 65,000 copies of the novel have been sold.[2]


In his autobiography Nashtajathakam, Kunjabdulla recalls that the seeds of Smarakasilakal were sown at a screening of Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali in Aligarh. The novel was conceived on a large canvas and developed from the images he had formed of his hometown and its people as a child in pre-independent Malabar. Most of the characters in this novel were real-life people he knew from his hometown.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

Smarakasilakal is set in a predominantly Muslim North Malabar village. It is the story of a feudal lord Khan Bahadur Pookkoya Thangal of the rich Arakkal family who could build a world of his own in his village. The mosque and its cemetery weave a background of traditions and legends for the tale. Every character reflects some aspect of the social set up, at the same time lives as a person of individuality. Thangal stands head and shoulders above every other character with his unbounded generosity and insatiable lust. The empire built by this man crumbles as he is killed by one of the young men whose wives he has ravished. The steward of the house grows into a tyrant. Thangal's daughter Pookunjeebi is sacrificed at the altar of wealth; his adopted son Kunjali burning for justice seems to place his trust on revolution as the only remedy for the ills that afflict society.

Main characters[edit]

  • Khan Bahadur Pookkoya Thangal - a feudal lord
  • Kunjali - Thangal's adopted son
  • Pookunjeebi - Thangal's daughter
  • Attabeevi - Thangal's wife
  • Kureishi Pathu - the chief maidservant
  • Eramullan - muezzin in the mosque
  • Bukhari - the security guard
  • Buddhan Adraman - the hostler
  • Pattalam Ibrayi - the caretaker of Arakkal family after Thangal's demise


  • Memorial Stones (English, Elzy Tharamangalam, Sahitya Akademi, 2003)[4]
  • Meesan Karkal (மீஸான் கற்கள்) (Tamil, Kulachal M.Yusaf, Kalachuvadu Pathipagam, 2004)[5]
  • Smaraka Silalu (స్మారక శిలలు) (Telugu, Nalimela Bhaskar, Sahitya Akademi, 2010)[6]


In 2009, a film adaptation of the novel was released, starring Jagathy Sreekumar as Pookkoya Thangal, and directed by M. P. Sukumaran Nair.[7][8] The film is an entire re-depiction of the novel. Sukumaran Nair told in an interview: "I firmly believe that it is not the work of a director to literally translate a fiction into a film. Fiction should be modified to suit the entirely different medium of cinema."[9] The film was critically acclaimed and won two Kerala State Film Awards: Second Best Film and Special Jury Award (Jagathy Sreekumar).

Also, All India Radio broadcast a play based on the novel through the programme Arangu in 2007.[10]



  1. ^ B. R. P. Bhaskar (23 September 2003). "Life after death". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  2. ^ "കാലത്തെ അതിജീവിച്ച് 'സ്മാരക ശിലകള്‍'" [Smarakasilakal: A memorial stone in Malayalam literature] (in Malayalam). DC Books. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  3. ^ Anand Kochukudy (29 October 2017). "Both life and literature were unconventional for Malayalam writer Punathil Kunjabdulla (1940-2017)". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  4. ^ Memorial Stones. Sahitya Akademi. 2009. ISBN 9788126010745.
  5. ^ M. Allirajan (21 December 2004). "The journalist in Bharati". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Sahitya Puraskar for Nalimela Bhaskar". The New Indian Express. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  7. ^ C. S. Venkiteswaran (9 October 2009). "Reinterpreting history on the screen". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Beyond religions". The Hindu. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  9. ^ "`Raamanam:' a re-depiction of Kunhabdulla's famous novel". Mathrubhumi. Press Trust of India. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  10. ^ "AIR to broadcast plays based on novels". The Hindu. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award" (in Malayalam). Kerala Sahitya Akademi. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Literary Awards" Archived 2012-06-18 at the Wayback Machine. Government of Kerala. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Kendra Sahitya Academy Awards (Malayalam)". Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 24 May 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2013.

External links[edit]