Malayalam writer and orator Sukumar Azhikode passed away at a private hospital here Tuesday morning, family sources said. He was 85.
The end came at 6.33 a.m. After being detected with bone cancer, Azhikode was admitted to hospital Dec 7, last year and his condition had deteriorated in the past few days.
Family sources said his body would be taken to his home in Eravimangalam and would be kept for an hour and then moved to the Sahitya Akademi hall.
His body will then be taken to his home town in Azhikode in Kannur district and the funeral will take place Wednesday afternoon at the Payamabalam beach.
A quintessential critic in speech and writing, Azhikode's had been a powerful voice in the intellectual discourse in Kerala.
An outstanding academic and teacher, Azhikode had served as chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT) and as member of
the executive councils of Kerala and Kendra Sahitya academy.
A recipient of high literary honours including the Kendra Sahitya Academy award, Azhikode hit national headlines a few
years back by declining to accept Padma Shri holding such honours went against the spirit of Indian Constitution which
saw all citizens as equal.
Though a towering literary figure he never confined himself to scholastic themes alone but kept on boldly expressing his views and concerns on a wide range of topics of contemporary concerns including the day-to-day politics and politicians.
An ardent Gandhian till the end of his life, Azhikode was close to the Congress in his early life and in the 1960s even
unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls as its candidate.
But later, he distanced himself from the Congress and moved close to the Left camp without compromising on his Gandhian
convictions and the Nehruvian vision of a liberal and just social order.
A deep scholar and an acclaimed authority on Indian thought and literature, his magnum opus 'Tatvamasi', an intellectual exploration of the eternal wisdom of the Vedas and Upanishads, is a widely appreciated work.
Azhikode's major critical works like 'Asante SeethaKavyam', a detailed textual study of poet Kumaran Asan's 'Chinthavishtayaya Seetha' (Seetha immersed in thought) are considered as classics of modern Malayalam literature.
Azhikode headed the Malayalam Department of Calicut University and later retired as its Pro-vice chancellor.
A prolific writer of columns and a powerful orator, his penchant to give vent to ire on social, political and
cultural evils often sparked controversies.
He was involved a legal tiff with cine actor Mohanlal following heated exchanges in the backdrop of the ban on actor
Thilakan as a fallout of a feud in the Malayalam filmdom.
Azhikode then came to defend Thilakan incurring the wrath of superstars. Last month, after Azheekode fell ill, a truce
was worked out between the writer and the actor to withdraw the defamation case. He had also locked horns with CPI(M)
veteran V S Achuthanandan, when he was chief minister.
Born in Azhikode village in Kannur district in 1926, he graduated in commerce and later did Masters in Malayalam
literature. He taught literature in different colleges before joining as head in the Malayalam Department of Calicut
Well versed in Sanskrit and classical literature, Azhikode was also known for his deep understanding of Western philosophy and literature.
Taking time off academic responsibilities, Azhikode also edited a couple of dailies during his long career. Though he
gave up editorship, he maintained his deep interest and commitment to journalism by writing columns and articles in
newspapers and magazines.
His MajorContributions in Literature:
Aasante Seetakavyam, Ramananum Malayalakavitayum (Ramanan and Malayalam Poetry)
Mahatmavinte Margam (Way of the Mahatma), Purogamanasahityavum Mattum (Modern Literature and Others), Malayala Sahityavimarsanam (Criticism of Malayalam Literature), Vayanayute Swargattil (In the Paradise of Reading), Tatvamasi, Malayala Sahitya Patanangal (Studies on Malayalam Literature), Tatvavum Manushyanum (Philosophy and Humans), Khandanavum Mandanavum (Destructive Criticism and Constructive Criticism), Entinu Bharatadare, Azhikodinte Prabhashanangal (Speeches of Azhikode), Azhikodinte Falitangal (Jokes of Azhikode), Guruvinte Dukham (Sorrow of the Teacher), Aakasam Nashtapetunna India (India Losing Horizon), Pathakal Kazhchakal (Routes and Sights), Mahakavi Ulloor (The Great Poet Ulloor) .
Article credits Mathrubhumi