CHENNAI: Professor KS Shahul Hameed, fondly and popularly known as poet Inquilab, passed away on Thursday at a private hospital here due to illness.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. Family sources said his body would be donated to Government Medical College hospital at Chengalpattu for research.
A multi-faceted personality, soft-spoken Inquilab was a poet, dramatist, short story writer, columnist etc., Born in a poor family in Keezhakkarai in Ramanathapuram district, he completed his studies and joined New College in Chennai as a faculty and retired from that college.
Initially, he was attracted by Dravidian movement and actively participated in the 1965 anti-Hindi agitation in which he was incarcerated. But, after the gory Keezhvenmani massacre of Dalits in 1968, he gravitated towards Marxism and had worked with Left movements including Marxist-Leninist outfits. He had also met LTTE founder V Prabhakaran.
Inquilab returned the Kalaimamani award given by Tamil Nadu government in 2006 protesting the government's failure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils.
Among his poems, 'manusangada, naanga manusangada' (we are human beings) has a special place as it turned out to be the war cry of ultra left movements as well as dalit and human rights outfits in the 70s and late 80s. He has also authored many plays and of them 'Avvai' is considered the first modern Tamil drama. His poems espousing rationality have been critically acclaimed. 'Kanmani Rajam', his most famous poem, criticizes the moral bankruptcy of politicians.
Referring to his classic work, 'Marx Mudhal Mao Tse-tung varai,' and his contributions to the uplift of the oppressed classes, DMK treasurer MK Stalin said Inquilab’s demise would be an irreparable loss to the working class and oppressed sections of the society.
Paying encomiums, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan recalled the party conferring upon him the 'Ambedkar Sudar Award' and said the 'people's poet' had given vent to his yearning for dalit liberation and women's empowerment.
CPM State secretary G Ramakrishnan and CPI State secretary R Mutharasan recalled Inkulab’s role in the Simpson workers’ agtiation in 1970s and many other struggles. P Maniarsan, president, Tamil Desiya Periyakkam, said Inquilab had worked for the uplift of Dalits and penned his famous poem 'manusangada naanga manusangada' when 43 Dalits were burnt alive in Keezhvenmani. He guided many youngsters who wished to write, he added.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi general secretary Thameemun Ansari were among those who condoled his death.