An honour for his love for the language

Writer Shankaranarayanan, who recently received Kunjunni Puraskkaram for his contributions towards children’s fiction, speaks about his literary journey

Published: 29th May 2013 01:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2013 01:20 PM   |  A+A-


Every day, young Sankaranarayan used to chant slokas from Bhagavat Gita and Neethisaram, a habit inculcated in him by his father. This every day practice went on for 16 years, which spurred him to write his first poem one fine morning. From then on, in a writing career spanning 40 years, poet and writer P I Sankaranarayanan has written about 91 books, under various categories for children. But recognition has always eluded him. Eventually, ebbing his worries, he has been selected for the Kunjunni Puraskkaram for his comprehensive contributions for children’s literature. “This is the most important award I have ever received, apart from the Mali award which I received a couple of years back,” he says.

In a barely furnished room at Kaloor where the only luxury being a wooden table and a chair with stacks of books to keep him company, he shares with a twinge that his experiences as a writer has always been a struggle with no one to really support. “The award came as a big surprise to me. I did not have a political affiliation. When this award came, I felt as if one cannot prevent what is destined to happen,” he says.

Sankaranarayanan says that he has ample reason to believe that it is destiny which made him receive the award which is in the name of ‘Kunjunni mashu’. “Writing for children has always been my forte. But lately, I started writing more about Kunjunni mash. It was not a deliberate attempt to write about the poet. But I did it unknowingly and got my first award in his name. I feel as I have been always writing about him that his soul could not resist acknowledging my work,” he says with a glint in his eyes.

One of his poem on Kunjunni mashu reads

“Kunjunal thottu, marikkuvolam oru

kunjanayi vazhuvan mohichu

Kunjunniyennoru peruvechittoral

kunjungalodothu modhichu



kunjunni mashayi shobhichu”.

Though he has dedicated his entire life for writing and for social cause, he could hardly take any credit to many ideas he put forth. When the government decided to establish Malayalam university, Sankaranarayanan has mixed emotions. Delighted for he put forth this concept way back in 1987. But at the same time sad because he was nowhere in the map when his dream was materialised. But he was complacent as his effort to celebrate November 1 as ‘Malayala Bhasha Dinam’ got implemented. “I was a member in the Sahithya Parishad. C P Sreedharan, who was the then president of Sahithya Parishad and N V Krishna Warrier realised the need and thus it was implemented. “I am not against any other languages. What I really want to highlight is that be the best by learning your mother tongue. Then you can excel in other languages too,” he says.

Sankaranarayanan says that he was clueless why he selected Children’s literature as his arena. But as years passed by, he realised the only option left to rectify society was through children. “And this is the only logic which keeps me going,” he says.

And true to his words, “Kalam poyathu pokatte

prayam kuduthalakatte

aano penno aakatte

aksharamonnu padichatte....” Kerala has become a complete literate state.


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